Top skillset Requirements to be a Data Scientist

“Data is the new oil,” “Unfortunately, the technology has evolved faster than the workforce skills to make sense of it, and organizations across sectors must adapt to this new reality or perish.” – Andreas Weigend, Head of the Social Data Lab at Stanford

On IBM’s blog, they describe the path of the data scientist, as an ‘evolution from the business or data analyst role. The formal training is similar, with a solid foundation typically in computer science and applications, modeling, statistics, analytics and math’. Anjul Bhambhri, vice president of big data products at IBM, says, “A data scientist is somebody who is inquisitive, who can stare at data and spot trends. It’s almost like a Renaissance individual who really wants to learn and bring change to an organization.” IBM has been working with numerous top universities in the country to create a new curriculum for business and technology students to follow if they might be tempted in a data science career after graduation. 

Savvy Firms are beginning to reap the rewards of identifying and recruiting the right individuals, and I think the role is viewed as rising in popularity and  just plain sexy. Just look at Kaggle, a data science competition platform who has 100,000 data scientists competing on its online platform. Thats an impressive takeup. Beginners need a few key skills to evolve their data scientist prowess. Perhaps it is not purely mathematical expertise which identify good data scientists, but instead creativity and communication. Having said that, I somtimes see these skills in good mathematicians as some just prefer pursuing theoretical problemsa. Creativity addmitedly is a hard thing to learn.

Mark van Rijmenam in a smartdatacollective article wrote:

“They need to have statistical, mathematical, predictive modelling as well as business strategy skills to build the algorithms necessary to ask the right questions and find the right answers. They also need to be able to communicate their findings, orally and visually. They need to understand how the products are developed and even more important, as big data touches the privacy of consumers, they need to have a set of ethical responsibilities”.

Mark Hunter on the teradata blog compiled the neccessary skills and behaviours being sought  by looking at relevant Job Descriptions on LinkedIn. I think it is pretty acurate:

Top Requirements to be a Data Scientist:

  1. Analytical skill-set
  2. Mathematics / statistics (including experimental design)
  3. Domain knowledge (i.e. Industry specific processes where analytic are applied)
  4. Technology / data
  5. Communication skills (story-telling)
  6. Curiosity (willingness to challenge the status quo)
  7. Collaboration
  8. Commercial acumen/ Strategic
  9. Customer-centric
  10. Problem-solving skills
  11. Proactive