Forget all the hype you’ve heard about data scientists. Underneath it all, there’s good reason the glow is getting so bright around these experts.
With billions of devices pumping out never-ending streams of data, organizations need real people who have not just analytic skill, but also the smarts to translate that jumble of information into meaningful insight and real business value.
McKinsey believes these experts could capture more than $300 billion in new value annually for the U.S. healthcare industry; and they could increase retailers’ operating margins by up to 60% with better analysis of large data sets. Numbers like these from an article in Teradata Magazine are making executives think really hard about bringing on a data scientist or two.
But the slot may be difficult to fill with demand increasing at such a rapid pace—so fast, that by 2018, McKinsey estimates a shortfall of 140,000 to 190,000 people with analytical expertise. Finding someone who also has critical business savvy only adds to the challenge of making the “right” hire.
It’s really interesting to see how companies that are among the very smartest at harnessing the power of data are approaching the hunt. For example, one of the world’s most prominent retailers has a billboard along Highway 101 at the heart of Silicon Valley advertising they are hiring for data scientists. And nearly every presentation I attended at the Hadoop Summit in San Jose ended with a slide that was an overt recruitment ad.
Obviously, they think it’s a great time to be searching, and so do I. Whether you go outside or groom your own best employees—now is your chance to make the most of big data analytics while your competitors are still figuring out what a data scientist really does.