Demand for Data Scientists Set to Soar by 28% in 2020 (IBM)
Global Shortage of Data Scientists
There is a global shortage of data scientists, and demand is set to rise exponentially in the next year. What can be done to close the gap?
Data scientists, data analysts and artificial intelligence specialists are fast becoming the most sought-after skills in organisations.
Processed data is information. Processed information is knowledge. Processed knowledge is wisdom.
The growth of available data is exponential, and competitive advantage today is won by organisations that can use big data sets to make meaningful business decisions and engage with their clients most effectively.
As Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM says: “Big data will spell the death of customer segmentation and force the marketer to understand each customer as an individual within 18 months or risk being left in the dust.”
While good colleges and universities are offering an increasing number of data science programs, they cannot churn out sufficient trained graduates quickly enough to meet the global demand for data scientists (Deloitte’s Analytics Trends 2016).
Big Data Scientist Recruitment and Skills Requirements
The explosion of data generated over the last few years alone, means that we are nearing the 45 trillion gigabytes mark by 2020 predicted by Cybercoders. Nevertheless, it is not the amount of data but the ability to actually do something with it, that is important (Harvard); hence the need for talented data scientists.
In this post, we look at what recruitment, executive search firms and industry can do in the face of what is fast becoming a critical shortage of data scientists.
Mindcor Intersearch Global has found that while some candidates purport to be data scientists, they are neither data specialists nor scientists. We have also found that some legitimate data scientists do not have the title on their business cards. To overcome this potential confusion, we have become proficient at identifying the specific skills and traits required for the data science role.
Hard and Soft Skills Requirements Mindcor InterSearch Global
The hard skills we look for are programming and statistical/mathematical ability for analysing large data sets. We have found that not everyone with these aptitudes necessarily have industry-specific business experience; they may come from education or healthcare for example. Given that data science is an emerging discipline, it tends to attract people from diverse educational backgrounds and work experiences. Also, some candidates do not necessarily possess a traditional computer or data science degree; but present with a qualification in math, statistics, actuarial science, analytics or even marketing.
Industry commentators on Quora believe that the most difficult, yet important skills for data science are not necessarily linked to a computer science degree or to specific work experience. Rather it is the traits of curiosity, determination, willingness to learn and desire for optimisation which makes for top rate data scientists. These soft skills together with some programming ability, and an understanding of mathematics, they believe can, given the right coaching, transform a candidate into an exceptional data scientist in a relatively short period of time.
Mindcor InterSearch Global would welcome a conversation as to how we can assist your business with sourcing and retaining these scarce skills.
Mindcor is the South African partner of InterSearch Global.