Data Scientist Is The New BlackAbout three to four years ago, companies were desperately searching for a new, strange breed of employee. Companies were trying to figure out exactly what this species should look like on paper, how they should act online, and the main skills they needed to be successful in this newly created position.

Companies were searching for Social Media Professionals

Since crafting the perfect job description and wrangling in a wave of innovators who have driven social media strategies across large companies and are figuring out the magic of social media ROI, companies have cracked the code and are finding what they need in a social media professional. Now, companies are moving on and are now searching for a new species – Data Scientists.

A Data Scientist or Data Analysis professional is the new black

These rare, hard-to-find employees require a very special skill set that most employees who have been in the workforce on the data or the marketing side have not developed. This combination of left-brain analytics and right-brain creativity will allow these data experts to not only figure out how to collect and analyze big data, but also what to do with it and how to translate it into terms and statistics that make sense to a corporate strategy and present to the company or the c-suite. In addition, these professionals must understand computer code, have excellent interpersonal skills, and use Powerpoint effectively. Who are these people? Where are these people?

After doing an informal content analysis of a few data scientist job descriptions, here are a few main (and interesting) skills that seem to be key to finding the “right” fit.

  • Database and data mining experience – knowing how to collect and process data
  • Ability to review secondary research and uncover algorithms
  • Understand this sentence – “Appropriate statistical methodology such as binary choice, other generalized linear and nonparametric models or data reduction techniques such as clustering and factor analysis” and be able to do what it means
  • Be a thought leader and innovator in the industry
  • Ability to [effectively] present data findings in Powerpoint
  • Understand the engineering team
  • Understand the marketing team
  • Be a strong communicator with excellent interpersonal skills

And, here is an excerpt of one Data Scientist job description, “As Data Scientist, you’ll wrestle large data sets to the ground and force them to tell interesting – and true! — stories about [company’s] games and their players.”

Hmmm….