Power of decoding data
DATA is the new oil. Hundreds of companies are now investing in setting up Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data labs to mine this data. And with data science being a field which has the potential to offer a landmine of job opportunities at different levels, it would be a good idea to start looking at it as a career avenue.
Data scientists are the bridge that connects the dots between programming and implementation of the science of data, its theory and the implications, impact and of data on business problems, says Pankaj Muthe, program manager, Academic Programme - APAC, Qlik, a data analytics and business intelligence platform which develops visual analytic tools to enhance the data literacy skills in people working in various industries.
Data Science is the talk of the town and with good reason. It is one skill that has seen a rising demand in the last few years, and no scope of slowing down anytime soon. The reason is obvious data driven decision making is here to stay and hence so are data scientists. A good data scientist will be someone who is not afraid of numbers, and is curious about trends, patterns, stories and hidden insights that can lie behind sheets of data, says Sarita digumarti, COO, Jigsaw Academy, a Bengaluru-based institute that offers various courses in analytics.
Today, it is estimated that a whopping 50,000 machine learning and data science jobs are unfilled with another 40,000 new jobs being added by 2020 just in India alone. Globally, data scientist roles have grown over 650% since 2012, but currently, 35,000 people in the US have data science skills, while hundreds of companies are hiring for those roles. India has less than 10% of the data scientists that are available globally and thus, data scientists and front-end developers were the roles that received the maximum remuneration increases in Indian startups in 2017, according to reports.
According to experts, data science is the fastest growing job in the last decade and is the second most popular degree at master level after MBA. With data generation and availability growing like a hockey stick, data storage and processing costs falling thanks to advances in machine learning (ML) it's not a surprise that many believe that AI/data driven insights and products could drive the next wave of innovation and disruption in many industries., says Hitesh Oberoi, co-promoter, managing director and CEO Info Edge, and founder, Plaksha University, Mohali.
We seek a good degree in computer science/engineering or mathematics with an aptitude and interest in programming, informs Anurag Sahay vice president, Nagarro IT Consulting & Services. Most data scientists have a preference for complex tasks, an inquisitive mind, like being data champions in organisations and have strong communication skills. The subjects they need to be proficient are maths, programming and statistics. Additionally, data science requires a very good intuitive understanding of Statistical Modelling, Machine Learning Algorithims and Neutral Networks. A lot of colleges have courses that cover these ideas and we value such certificates. Showcase-able project/work is an added bonus, says Sahay. Nowadays there are several camps, apps and school programmes that introduce kids as young as 8-10 years old to programming languages or build familiarity with Python or R. And these are great starting points to build interest and an understanding of data and how to interpret it, says Digumarti of Jigsaw. Several universities and institutes are offering programmes. For instance, Plaksha Tech Leaders Fellowship in partnership with UC Berkeley and Purdue University provides Technology leadership programme in India. It combines the technical and theoretical aspects of data science and ML along with real world applications with the end goal of producing leaders who can make an impact, says Oberoi. Qlik offers programme to educational institutions for both professors and students to get trained in data analytics.
According to US department of statistics the demand for data scientists and data engineers is anticipated to grow by around 40 per cent by 2020. And, according to Digumarti, the lack of aptitude in this space is expected to pose a serious threat for companies. Data is the fourth factor of production after land, labour and capital. It is a good early career or a late life re-training for professionals with lots of experience looking for something new and has few commitments outside of work. The Chief Data Officer/Scientist often reports directly to the CEO, says Neil Fraser, Director, Data Science, James Cook An entry-level job could be that of a Business Analyst or Data Analyst.
The career trajectory would move to from senior data analyst, project manager to Chief Data Officer depending on the structure and size of the organisation, says Muthe of Qlik. According to Dr Fraser,who has two decades years of experience in data science, strategy development and implementation, the current tenure in one particular role is around 2.5 years before moving on to gain more experience.