On July 22, the sports network ESPN announced with some fanfare that it had hired Nate Silver, the statistician, baseball sabermetrician and author who, while at The New York Times, refined his analytical models to correctly predict results in all 50 states for the 2012 presidential election.
It was a cultural moment—predictions expert to become TV pundit!—if you are interested in the rising profile of data-driven decisions in general and use cases for analytical models in particular. It came less than a year after Harvard Business Review named data scientist “the sexiest job of the 21st century,” and at a time when enterprises of all kinds are working to build capabilities to take advantage of innovative data stores, along with new, bigger and different data sources.
For many organizations, doing this work involves recruiting and training people with the right skills and organizing them in ways that give them a chance to make an impact.
Below, find highlights from Data Informed’s recent coverage of skills, including hiring, training and education programs, as well as other trends and important issues in the field.
LEADING AND MANAGING
Hiring data scientists and training technologists on Hadoop isn’t the only step business leaders need to take in order to build their capacity to use big data. They also need a structure that makes it easy to coordinate expertise across the enterprise and facilitate collaboration. Read more. Also see: Building Your Big Data Team.
Talent Analytics CEO Greta Roberts said curious minded people are often self-taught, and don’t get advanced degrees. Communication is an important skill, but not every data scientist needs to be a great communicator. Business sense, Roberts said, is much more important. Listen. Listen to this related podcast: Using Analytics to Build Your Data Science Team.
Companies that hire data scientists to seek new patterns in corporate data also need a workforce with a deeper knowledge of statistics who can act on the results. Read more.
Scott Nicholson’s vision for the data scientist role requires end-to-end engagement in a project, from framing the right questions to implementations of analytical models. Nicholson, the chief data scientist at Accretive Health and a former LinkedIn data leader, outlined the five elements of a successful data strategist. Read more. Also see: A Data Scientist Builds His Team Emphasizing Analytics Skills over Hadoop Engineering and Data Scientist Role: Interpreter, Teacher, Visualizer, Programmer and Data Cruncher.
While demand for data science skills is growing, a number of large enterprises are emphasizing the need for leaders with both analytics skills and business acumen, to work with both analytics experts and line-of-business executives. Read more.
Soft skills are as important as analytical expertise when it comes to solving problems in large enterprises. That’s the message distilled from a selection of presentations by corporate analytics experts at the recent INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research. Read more.
A summary of the signs to recognize that an HR department is not ready to rollout workforce analytics, and steps to take to get started. Read more.
To get at the “truth” in our enterprise data, we need to be equipped to ask the right sort of questions. That means the best data science teams will be those that best function as a welcome extension to existing teams, rather than an outside body holding court on enterprise data, argues Matt Asay of 10gen in this opinion piece. Read more.
As the demand for analytics skills rises, more universities are responding by creating new educational programs to train recent undergraduates and also those in the workforce. Data Informed has created a map to illustrate the trend, showing graduate school programs across the United States, with links to the universities and articles on Data Informed. Read more.
The University of Tennessee has been aggressively placing analytics students in large businesses for three years now. The list of companies that have hired students reads like it was culled from the Fortune 100 — Caterpillar, 3M, State Farm, Disney, Progressive Insurance, Deloitte and many others. Read more.
Every job in marketing today involves some level of analytics. That’s why enrollment in the Master of Science in Marketing Analytics program at Bentley University, near Boston, is taking off, according to program director Paul Berger. Watch.
For its expanding data analytics and business intelligence practice, Information Control Corp. in Columbus, Ohio, created an in-house program to develop analysts. Read more. Also see: Fractal Analytics on Recruiting and Training Top Analytics Talent.
A growing number of vendors are offering Hadoop sandboxes – testing environments that use a single-node implementation of Hadoop, typically packaged in a virtual machine, that allow developers to test out Hadoop’s features and functionality without impacting live servers, mission-critical systems or existing data. Read more.
Far from the big industry convention halls, grassroots Hadoop user group meetings are now a place where developers can openly swap trade secrets with competitors, land a job without a resume and listen to top companies confess their open source failures. Read more.
Rob Reed, Splunk’s Worldwide Education Evangelist, said prospective students should vet potential educational experiences carefully. Listen.
Rachel Schutt (pictured), a senior statistician at Google and a teacher of a Columbia course for undergraduate students exploring data science. The course promotes a high-level understanding of what it means to be a data scientist. “There are things like creativity, knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do, and how to ask good questions.” Read more.
There’s a skills crunch, but according to some hiring experts, many enterprises are making the job of recruiting talent harder on themselves. Data Informed asked Meta Brown, a business analytics expert, consultant, speaker and writer, and Scot Melland, CEO of tech jobs site Dice.com, to offer tips on making their search for analytics talent more effective. Here are five recommendations. Read more. Also see, 5 Ways for Tech Start-Ups to Attract Analytics Talent.
According to technology jobs and career site Dice.com, Hadoop skills are most in demand among enterprises seeking analytics talent in May 2013, with the average annual salary for an analyst with Hadoop skills averaging $115,062. Read more.
Riviera Partner’s custom-made workforce analytics tool consists of a huge database of internal and external data on candidates that the firm uses to target, score and identify the best match for its clients. “Our system has evolved from a linear data collection process to examining proprietary variables that allow us to bubble up the right people very quickly,” says Ali Benham, managing partner. Read more.
With LinkedIn boasting over 135 million active members, it’s not surprising that a growing number of HR professionals are turning to social media sites to locate hard-to-find talent. Yet aggregating the masses of unstructured, disparate data scattered across these social media channels isn’t easy. Read more. Also see, Dice Launches Analytics Service for IT Jobs Recruiters.
Five of the new certification holders from the INFORMS analytics organization discussed their backgrounds, plans and views of the INFORMS code of ethics for analytics professionals. Read more. Also see, Certification Exam for Analytics Pros Covers Range of Specialties.
Technology vendors offer online classes to teach new skills to workers entering the analytics field and instruction on implementing new technologies such as Hadoop. They also provide support to university programs. Examples include: