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Looking for Data Scientists? Better have a Plan B

October 11, 2018

Looking for Data Scientists? Better have a Plan B

Synopsis
4 Minute Read

MNP’s Brian Foster explains how businesses can implement effective data analytics programs – despite a shortage of qualified Data Scientists.

Brian Foster
Brian Foster
Manager, Technology Consulting

​​If Data Scientists are what you seek, you would be wise to have a 'Plan B'. According to a recent LinkedIn report, there is a dramatic shortage of qualified individuals available.

As summarized in a recent IEE Spectrum blog:

LinkedIn calculates that, in August, employers were seeking 151,717 more data scientists than exist in the U.S. It came up with this number by comparing the skills listed on LinkedIn profiles with a weighted combination of skills that appear in job postings and the frequency at which LinkedIn members with a certain skill are hired relative to members without that skill.

We can probably agree that this is not surprising – outside of Silicon Valley, the "Data Scientist" job title was largely absent in the common lexicon until 2012, when Harvard Business Review named Data Science "the Sexiest Job of the 21st Century." Since then, universities have responded with expanded data science offerings and advanced degrees, attempting to meet the needs of employers. However, it appears that supply is yet to meet demand.

So, what should you do if you need top-level analyst talent? Consider 3 alternatives:

Advanced Analysts / Citizen Data Scientists

Gartner predicts automation will take over more than 40% of existing data science tasks by 2020, allowing for less experienced staff to be more directly involved in model development and deployment – using graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and drag-and-drop type tools. Coding skills are becoming less of a firm requirement, so it makes sense to look for analytically-savvy staff members already on your team.

Machine-Learning-as-a-Service (MLaaS)

The cloud computing model has already proven its value, so it should be no surprise that Machine Learning techniques – including data visualization, image recognition, natural language processing (NLP) and more – are now available via MLaaS offerings. This doesn't mean that anyone can jump right in – it still requires a level of analytical sophistication, and the cost of some services can be prohibitive for small-to-medium enterprises. But, for larger firms with some early analytical successes established, MLaaS can be a very powerful tool.

Third Party Services

It may be beneficial for many companies to work with 3rd party service providers– who enable the realization of analytical capabilities through focused support and engagement. At MNP, we have helped firms in many industries to navigate a variety of solution choices, develop analytical teams and deploy advanced statistical models – creating real economic value and new competitive capabilities for the long-run. A shortage of Data Scientists in the job market doesn't mean you have to miss out on the benefits of employing data science in your analytics practice.

Whichever approach may be right for your company, don't let talent shortages sway you from achieving your analytical aspirations. After all, with more than 80% of executives describing their big data analytics investments as "successes", your competitors are likely to be developing analytical competencies of their own – and looking to create new advantages in the process. Don't let them pass you by. Even while data science talent may be scarce, MNP can help.

Tomorrow's technology is shaping business today. To learn more about how MNP can help you can make Predictive Analytics work for you, contact Brian Foster at 204.336.6131 or [email protected] .

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