Have you noticed how many people are suddenly calling themselves data scientists? Your neighbour, that gal you met at a cocktail party — even your accountant has had his business cards changed!
There are so many people out there that suddenly call themselves ‘data scientists’ because it is the latest fad. The Harvard Business Review even called it the sexiest job of the 21st century! But in fact, many calling themselves data scientists are lacking the full skill set I would expect were I in charge of hiring a data scientist.
What I see is many business analysts that haven’t even got any understanding of big data technology or programming languages call themselves data scientists. Then there are programmers from the IT function who understand programming but lack the business skills, analytics skills or creativity needed to be a true data scientist.
Part of the problem here is simple supply and demand economics: There simply aren’t enough true data scientists out there to fill the need, and so less qualified (or not qualified at all!) candidates make it into the ranks.
Second is that the role of a data scientist is often ill-defined within the field and even within a single company. People throw the term around to mean everything from a data engineer (the person responsible for creating the software “plumbing” that collects and stores the data) to statisticians who merely crunch the numbers.
A true data scientist is so much more. In my experience, a data scientist is:
If you can find a candidate with all of these traits — or most of them with the ability and desire to grow — then you’ve found someone who can deliver incredible value to your company, your systems, and your field.
But skimp on any of these traits, and you run the risk of hiring an imposter, someone just hoping to ride the data sciences bubble until it bursts.
What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
About : Bernard Marr is a globally recognized expert in analytics and big data. He helps companies manage, measure, analyze and improve performance using data.
His new book is: Big Data: Using Smart Big Data, Analytics and Metrics To Make Better Decisions and Improve Performance You can read a free sample chapter here.