Data Scientist: Hot Job of the Future


Many of us think that we need to become an expert in our chosen field, whether it be nursing, engineering, writing, plumbing, programming, etc. And that is true. However, being the best at the “technical” aspects of your job will not be enough for the future. According to a report conducted by The University of Phoenix, there are 10 skills that we will all need to succeed in the future and none of them have to do with being an expert in your field.  They are all related to our ability to grasp and work with complex ideas, to innovate and work with people who are different from ourselves. This month LTAW will feature the skills named in the report and give you ideas for how you can attain these additional abilities.

Advances in technology have greatly increased the amount of data we have at our fingertips. As data continues to increase workers will need to have the skills necessary to make sense of the information. “Big data” has been the talk of the work world recently as the next big thing that will revolutionize the way we work, live and communicate. Now that more and more information is stored on computers, we have more and more data to analyze and manage.

In HR departments, for example, recruiters analyze data on potential employees to find the best candidate and use predictive analysis on current employees to find out who is most likely to leave an organization.  Walmart has a database of over 2.5 petabytes of data (that’s a lot!) from the its 1 million customer transactions per hour. YouTube users upload 48 hours of video to its website every minute. Who is managing and analyzing all of this data you ask? Data scientists.

In 2012, Harvard Business Review named the job of data scientist the “sexiest job of the 21st century”. One definition of a data scientist is the hybrid of a data management specialist and quantitative analyst. While this type of job is relatively new, thousands of data scientists are starting to pop up at both start-ups and well-established organizations. What these companies understand is that they are receiving information in varieties and volumes like never before that they need to make sense of it all for organizational success.

Three of the 10 future work skills highlighted in The University of Phoenix report are directly related to the role of the data scientist:

  1. Computational thinking: ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning.
  2. Sense-making: ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed.
  3. Cognitive load management: ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques.

Knowing the basics of Microsoft Office will not be enough in the future. Job postings will now include required skills such as statistical analysis and quantitative reasoning. The role of the data scientist is in high-demand, from government agencies to technology companies to consulting and research firms seeking out candidates in this field. Whether you’re looking to change careers or just getting into college and need to pick a major – check out data science, it is the sexiest job after all.

Futurize Your Skills!

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