(More like) The Plight of the Mad Data Scientist
Data scientists are being hired by enterprises all over the world to help them make sense of their big data.
But many CIOs are finding that the data scientists that are hired to make sense of it all lack a certain business acumen or real world experience. So while the data scientists have the skills to push big data around and organize it, they lack the ability to harness this ability to solve key business issues, which tends to result in a sad CIO and a mad data scientist.
As Defined by Wikipedia:
Data science is the study of the extraction of knowledge from data, yet the key word is science. It incorporates varying elements and builds on techniques and theories from many fields with the goal of extracting meaning from data and creating data products.
Data scientists are an integral part of competitive intelligence, a newly emerging field that encompasses a number of activities, such as data mining and analysis, that can help businesses gain a competitive edge.
Analytics: Key to Success
According to a December 2013 poll of CIO Magazine, analytics have moved from a tier 2 IT play to a core requirement. This is further evidenced by the continued birth of Chief Analytics Officer (CAO) positions at the Fortune 5000 level. The C-Suite is learning that while they are collecting massive amounts of data for their products/services and customers, making sense of the data and using it to effectively meet major business objectives is another matter altogether.
Making Sense of the Data
Companies have all this big data and are trying to figure out how to leverage it, both to better serve their customers and to gain a competitive advantage in their industry. Hence the birth of the data scientist. And yes, there are academic paths to train these folks on how to massage your big data and glean nuggets from it. However, most are lacking the real world experience which is needed to turn the big data into usable information for the C-suite to meet their business needs.
Give Me an MBO, Not an MBA
CEOs need to meet major business objectives (MBO) each year and, in order to do so, they need meaningful data delivered faster. Even better if they can get trending or predictive data about their customers’ future needs. IT is finding there is no substitute for real world experience in heavy data crunching positions like a data scientist. Just like the MBA without enough seasoning, data scientists require some aging in the field to yield the best results.
Build a Team
The CIO is finding that there are a limited number of skilled data scientists and far fewer with real world experience in the particular industry they’re serving. As a result, CIOs are building teams of data scientists with complimentary skill sets such as communications, accounting, industry specific management, etc… These teams operate and collaborate like a tiger team producing reports that are meaningful to the C-suite allowing them to make better decisions faster.
So, if you are a data scientist with the real world skills to help move a company forward, straighten your tie and drag a comb through your wild hair because the job opportunities are only going to keep rising as you become more and more seasoned.