According to Thomas Davenport, being a data scientist is the Sexiest Job of the 21st Century. The Economist says that data scientists are the New Rock Stars, that they will be in short supply – McKinsey is already forecasting the US will face a shortage of up to 190,000 data scientists by 2018 – and they won’t come cheap. There seems to be an emerging consensus that data scientists need a range of skills and personal characteristics. They need programming, maths, and statistical skills coupled with curiosity, creativity, and business sense. This combination of skills is nicely captured by Conway’s Venn diagram of data science.
This seems like a good time to dig deeper into the role of the data scientist and the skills and capabilities that educational institutions should be building in graduates. I’m conducting research into the role of data scientists and big data, funded by the EPSRC (the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) as part of the Nemode programme. I’m looking at:
- How do firms use big data and data science to create business value?
- Who works with big data, where do they work, and what do they do?
- How are data scientists recruited and managed?
- What are the organisational, human resource and technical barriers to the exploitation of big data and data science?
Once the research is complete and written up I’ll post a link on this blog.