Statisticians and Computer Scientists are Passé; New Data Job Roles are On a Rise

In the last quarter of 2015, Forbes had published an article on where big data jobs will be in 2016. According to this article:

“The Hiring Scale is 73 for jobs that require big data skills with 13 candidates per job opening as of November 16, 2015. The higher the Hiring Scale score, the more difficult it is for employers to find the right applicants for open positions. Nationally an average job posting for an IT professional with Big Data-related expertise is open just 47 days.”

Insights like this indicate that despite big data being so hyped, the search for a candidate that fits in a data science job role is distant. For quite sometime now, companies are actively looking for data scientists to join. Thanks to potential that data holds for businesses, companies have slowly started unrealistic approaches while creating a job description for such roles.

Jack of All Trades, Master of None!

The whole idea of expecting one single person to know everything about data is vague. A person who is comfortable with data handling may not be great with the execution. Secondly, there is no specific classroom course that students can take up after their high schools. Post graduate programs and online courses are in plenty though!

Business intelligence, for long, has been helping businesses gain deeper insights into their historical data. The sudden boom and high potential of predictive analysis opened up newer avenues for businesses. Now events and actions can be predicted and suggested before it actually happens. Hence, the need for a data scientist increased a manifold times. With so much to do and so critical job, it isn’t possible for a single talent to fit in.

Thus, separate job roles like Data Scientist, Data Analyst, Data Engineer, Data Visualisation Analyst, and so many more came into existence.

Each of these roles have separate requirements. By requirements, we don’t mean a separate species. Rather, people from technical backgrounds and marketers are now opting for big data roles.

Creative People are now in Data Science Too!

Josh Sullivan, VP of the Strategic Innovation Group at management consulting and technology advisory firm Booz Allen Hamilton says companies tend to hire computer scientists only for data roles. He says it’s a wrong notion to perceive data science as a technical problem. Josh raised a very vital question during his interview to the Information Week blog: What question are you going to ask of your data. It is not about coding you see, rather it requires a curious mind to answer this.

Josh says, “After six to nine months, you really want a fresh view of the business problems, otherwise things get myopic and you go too narrow and deep in one part of the business. Every line of business has its own BI dashboards and analytics and it’s kind of like trying to read a map through a tube.”

It can be said that companies often fail to notice the context of the business because they are too busy mining data. Looking beyond the realms of statisticians and computer scientists, Booz Allen firm reported of huge success by bringing in physicists and music majors in big data.

Importance of New Job Roles

It so happens that companies are now combining the analytical skills with creativity to leverage businesses. A marketer who has a curious mind can very well understand data and help generate better results. Gone are the days when data scientists would work in isolation.

Newer data job roles requires engineers, marketers and salespeople to step up the game. Developers familiar with languages like Python can become a data scientist. A marketer can become a data visualiser.

The bottom line here is, companies are now more keen in training people with these skill sets that are otherwise common. An IT engineer, with hands-on training, can become a pro with data. The new job roles are an indication to the plethora of opportunities that talents from every sector can opt for.

Yes, it is true. Training needs to be happen. But those requirements of having all the skills in one person is taking a back seat. McKinsey had reported of a shortfall of 140,000 to 190,000 data professionals by 2018. However, with the new approach towards recruitment, may be the near future won’t be so bad.

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