Follow @ASUG365 for all the latest news from ASUG.
Data Scientist is a role often associated with high-level skills and wages to match. According to Glassdoor.com, the average data scientist’s yearly salary is nearly $119,000. That’s greater than $40,000 more than the profession most closely associated with data science: Statisticians.
What warrants that $40,000 bump in pay? Gartner research director Alexander Linden says data scientists have to be intimately close to the business, with a knowledge of business processes that sometimes even surpasses those running the company.
Linden says finding that combination of data and business savvy is “quite difficult.” There just aren’t enough data scientists in the workforce, and expert data scientists will “remain rare,” says Linden, who spoke at Gartner’s recent BI Summit in Las Vegas.
So, what might a company that wants to start a data science program do? Linden suggests cultivating “citizen data scientists”—people on the business side that may have some data skills, possibly from a math or even social science degree—and putting them to work exploring and analyzing data.
“In larger organizations, give a presentation and ask the crowd who believes they can pick up linear regression and logistic regression,” suggests Linden. “There are more than you think.”
The notion of citizen data scientists coincides with the rise of easier-to-use analytics tools. Linden points out SAP’s Lumira as one of these, among many others. All told, Gartner predicts that there will be five times as many citizen data scientists than expert data scientists going forward.
And Linden stresses that it is important to realize one data scientist will not have all the necessary skills—save for a few “unicorns.” That’s why it is important to develop a team of data scientists that are “scattered across the business,” he says.