A 2015 survey by global recruiting consultant Harvey Nash found that topping the wish list for chief information officers were employees with the skills to mine all the big data the digital revolution has created. “Big Data is becoming an effective basis of competition in pretty much every industry,” said Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute. “Whether you are looking for health care and the ability to provide personalized medicine, or you look at logistics or operations that are trying to improve the efficiency of the supply chain.”
Still, with the exception of a few notable firms like Amazon and Google, Chui said many companies have not benefited as much as expected from big data’s insights in large because there are not enough people with the strong analytical skills that are needed to mine the data.
Because of this, Chui reports from McKinsey that there could be a shortage of between 140,000 and 190,000 of these workers by 2018, as industries well beyond tech look for workers who can help them improve their companies by utilizing information gleaned from Big Data.
LinkedIn‘s head of data recruiting, Sherry Shah said that the online networking site is looking to hire more than 100 data scientists this year, a 50 percent increase from 2014!
To find the right candidates in this competitive market, Shah said LinkedIn searches its own website, recruits at tech talks and conferences, and looks beyond the traditional pool of applicants for these jobs.
Shah said that they need 80 to 90 percent from computer science background, while they also need to recruit employees in industries like bio-medical or political science. Because these industries use a lot of data so the workers would produce some of the work parallel to the work they did in their prior jobs.
All the jobs require finding the right techniques and ways to look at the data and give decision-makers the information they need to decide what to do. The most important skills that a future data scientist should hold are an inquisitive mind and to be customer oriented.
McKinsey’s Chui said future data scientists also need to be skilled in statistics and explain the story with data so that a large number of people can understand.