Bringing sexy back
Move out of the way librarians, data scientist has recently been named the most popular job of 2016 and the “sexiest job of the 21st century.” But — what is a data scientist, what do they do, and is this something you should be getting in on?
Experian’s DataLabs EVP, Eric Haller, has the low down. Leading the industry of this rapidly growing career, Eric can offer invaluable insight into what sets this profession apart, what exactly a data scientists does, and what skills are necessary in order to excel in this profession.
In his own words below, Eric gives us the juicy details:
Going boldly where no man has gone before
For decades, Star Trek illuminated the television screens of homes across America. Spoken at the beginning of each episode and film were these words: “Space: The final frontier; These are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise; Its 5 year mission; To explore strange new worlds; To seek out new life and new civilizations; To boldly go where no man has gone before.” Today, there is a new group going “boldly where no man has gone before” – data scientists.
In its short life, the data scientist profession has already been named “the sexiest job of the 21st century” by the Harvard Business Review and Glassdoor’s most popular job of 2016. And rightly so. The profession has come out of the woodwork with immense popularity. However, the term still might be foreign to most.
So, what exactly is a data scientist? And what do they do?
Explorers, problem solvers, and wizards
The role of the data scientist emerged as a result of the vast amount of data companies are acquiring. The problem: most of this data is jumbled, indistinct information. How, then, can a company use this for their own benefit? It was obvious there needed to be someone companies could rely on to take this data, build connections and correlations, and assemble insights useful for the growth of the company. The result: the rise of data scientists.
Individuals in this profession are innate explorers. They are always reinventing the wheel; coming up with new approaches to old challenges; finding solutions to vexing problems. And they do so by listening to hard data. Couple this with their analytical background and one can see what makes data scientists so attractive to the business world.
Data scientists are the wizards making seemingly unattainable ideas and goals a possibility for companies – companies who need risk assessments; companies who strive to better optimize their marketing towards key consumers; companies who could use improvements to their digital consumer user experience.
The realm of possibilities is seemingly endless for data science. Take for example these ongoing ventures. Data scientists are helping policy makers and disaster relief specialists on global security issues, like terrorism, and responding to humanitarian crises more effectively. They’re also helping companies optimize online experiences for consumers. And as these examples show, data scientists aren’t just working to grow corporations. They respond to situations in which they can use data for good.
Could you be a sexy wizard?
So, what are the skills necessary to excel in the profession?
Some include the ability to write code, develop algorithms and glean actionable insights.
Perhaps the most important skill necessary to succeed as a data scientist is effective communication and advocacy for a position. Data science is a brainy, technical field. While scientists working in the field understand the complexity of the information they study, it is highly unlikely that their client does.
Data scientists must therefore be able to think and communicate like business people – to bring the conversation down to a level anyone can understand. It is the only way they are able to successfully deliver and implement their findings.
Every day, from every corner of the world, Experian is working to attract this talent and utilize them to help a host of companies, from financial institutions to healthcare organizations, make strategic decisions towards sustainable growth. No matter the project or task, data scientists are constantly examining problems and discovering solutions that are good for businesses, consumers and society.
The need for data scientists will only continue to grow in the future. A report came out a couple years ago that estimated by 2020 the amount of data globally will grow ten-fold from today. That’s a tremendous amount of data. Raw data. Untapped potential. This alone puts the importance of data science as a profession into perspective. Data scientists are the pioneers going “where no man has gone before” for the good of our future.