So you want to be a data scientist

Here are the skills you need to succeed

There's no question that the top requirement for companies looking to gain a competitive advantage using data and analytics is going to be the talent to run a data and analytics program. So says Jack Phillips, CEO of the International Institute for Analytics, in a recent CIO article.

Over the last year, there have been a lot of discussions and forecasts for the data scientist job market, covering everything from defining the role of the data scientist, to where the jobs would be and how much they would pay.

Not all job ads will blatantly call for a data scientists, so it may be important to read the qualifications companies are looking for. "There is no monolithic 'big data profession," Sandeep Sacheti, former head of business risk and analytics at UBS Wealth Management, said in CIO. He should know. He is now vice president of customer insights and operational excellence at Wolters Kluwer Corporate Legal Services. It's a big data job; the title just doesn't say so.

So what are companies looking for and what skills should potential data scientist hone? Experts are saying that the most important skills involve, obviously,  math, statistics, data analysis, business analytics, and also natural language processing. Application developers and software engineers are more in demand than IT operations professionals, according to Cloudera, which has been doing a lot of hiring in the area. Familiarity with the leading database for big data--Hadoop--is also helpful, the article said.

Data scientists require programming skills and applications development, but companies are also very interested in soft skills such as a curious mind, the ability to communicate with nontechnical people, a persistent--even stubborn--character, and a strong creative bent.

For examples of the types of people companies are hiring and what skills they're looking for, see the CIO article

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