Why hiring data scientists isn’t enough

Enterprise leaders believe data analytics can improve their businesses. And it can, but only if the enterprise has someone capable of 1) asking the right questions and 2) drawing the right conclusions.

That’s why there’s such great demand for — and a reported shortage of — trained data scientists and analysts. Enterprises are turning to recruiters, universities, vendor training courses, and even within to find their data science experts.

No doubt, any quality enterprise data analytics program requires leadership and experience. Yet an organization also can benefit tremendously from instilling throughout its workforce an understanding of data analytics. In fact, fostering a data culture may be a competitive necessity.

As University of Cincinnati business analytics professor Jeffrey Camm explains to IDG News Service’s Katherine Noyes, “Today’s workforce needs to be more data-savvy. Not everyone needs to be a data scientist, but nearly everyone will need to learn to utilize the data to make more data-driven decisions.”

On a practical basis, what this means is that while specialists must create the algorithms and perform the analysis required to extract value from big data, enterprises still will need “consumers of the analyses,” as Camm puts it. Which means salespeople, shop-floor supervisors, project managers, drivers, department heads, call-center workers and more will need to gain enough knowledge about data analysis to better do their jobs, without going to graduate school or training for years.

One alternative mentioned by Noyes is a site called DataCamp, which offers short, interactive courses on topics such as data visualization, data manipulation, dynamic reporting, and R programming (the top open-source programming language in data science and statistics). Since launching in late 2013, DataCamp has trained more than 100,000 people, the company says.

A $250 annual subscription (or a $25-per-month deal) will get a person access to all of DataCamp’s courses and tutorials. The start-up also offers “DataCamp for Enterprises,” which enables teams of employees to train together, though the price-per-user appears to be identical to individual rates.

Enterprises also can try to teach analytics to their workers. UPS was a pioneer in this regard, launching a program more than two years ago to teach front-line employees how to use predictive analytics generated by the company’s new analytics platform to improve efficiency and cut costs.

Whether they train employees in-house or rely on outside instruction provided by DataCamp and similar course providers, enterprises will only benefit by making their workforces data-savvy.


  1. DATAFYiNG DiGiTAL says:

    interesting post. i too wish business leaders are able to ask the right questions and drawing the right conclusions.


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