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Posted June 09, 2017 by

Strategies for recruiting data analytics and related skills

 

Do employers truly understand their own dire need for data analytics, or more broadly, data science and analytics skills? A new report says that by 2020, new job postings that require these skills will hit 2.72 million. There is a concerning gap between the expectations of educators and the expectations of business executives when it comes to getting students ready for the job market. That is according to a study released by the Business-Higher Education Forum and PwC.

If you are like most employers, in the next several years you will prefer job candidates with data science and analytics skills. And yet, only 23 percent of educators believe their graduates will possess those skills.

The report makes concrete suggestions for both employers and higher education. Here, we will highlight the recommendations for employers who need to harness skills in data science and analytics.

What exactly are data science and analytics skills?

According to the report, “The term analytics refers to the synthesis of knowledge from information. It’s one of the steps in the data life cycle: collection of raw data, preparation of information, analytics, visualization, and access. Data science is the extraction of actionable knowledge directly from data through either a process of discovery, or hypothesis formulation and hypothesis testing.”

People who need to make data-driven decisions include directors in Human Resources, Marketing, IT, and the C-suite. Data science jobs include systems analysts, data administrators, business intelligence analysts, data engineers and much more.

This skills gap affects much more than just data scientists. Jobs from the C-suite to the frontlines are increasingly affected by the need for analytics. According to the report, this is a revolution. “As with the revolution in work brought on by the personal computer (PC) 30 years ago, data science and analytics, hand in hand with machine intelligence and automation, are creating a new revolution in work.”

Businesses who do not attract and retain talent in data science and analytics will eventually be outcompeted.

What does a business do to attract and retain skills in data science and analytics?

The report details four recommendations to employers:

  1. Look beyond the diploma and hire for skills, too.

It’s time to admit that a degree is only a proxy for skill sets. While recruiters can argue the effectiveness of using proxies, it just doesn’t work with DSA skills. The market for these skills is full of disconnected dots. STEM grads are not necessarily prepared to use DSA in business, and business grads are not necessarily taught DSA skills. There is a growing number of DSA degrees, but they haven’t been around long enough for many recruiters to trust their viability, let alone assume they will make the list of annual campus visits.

Where does this leave us? According to the report, “It is left to hiring managers and recruiters to determine how candidates meet skill requirements in this changing environment. To do that they need two things: 1) a common nomenclature to trade in DSA competencies and skills; and 2) a closer, more collaborative relationship with higher education aimed at creating programs that will provide job candidates with the skills they need.”

Researchers have identified skills common to data science jobs across broad skill groups. Those are:

  • Applied domain skills (research or business)
  • Data analytics and machine learning
  • Data management and curation
  • Data science engineering
  • Scientific or research methods
  • Personal and interpersonal communication skills

Employers shouldn’t expect to find all of the above skills in one individual. Rather, they should use these skill groups as a guide to forming teams whose members collectively have a full skill set.

These skills fall into three categories that employers should assess: data analysis, decision-making and problem-framing: (more…)

Posted March 18, 2013 by

8 Emerging Careers from 2012

Sharon Jones

Sharon Jones of Career Thought Leaders

Data science, geospatial technology, homeland security, and entertainment technology are some of the new and emerging occupations I blogged about last year:

1. Data science

Big Data staff analyze user behavior in unstructured data (e.g. web clicks, audio, video, blogs, forums, search terms) to make content appealing and profitable. From fanalytics (think Moneyball) to Presidential election and Hurricane Sandy predictions, data analytics skills are hot.

Job titles: data management analyst, data engineer, data scientist, statistical analyst, analytics architect, clinical data analyst, business intelligence analyst (more…)