Data Science Becomes the Preferred Career Path of the Next Decade

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Data Science Becomes the Preferred Career Path of the Next Decade

As the explosion of data transforms the economy, companies are struggling to find the talent they need to transform that data into actionable insights.  The demand for people with data science skills far surpasses the supply. 

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American companies won’t be able to fill 1 million jobs related to computer science by 2020 because there simply won’t be enough college graduates with the training they need.1
  • A McKinsey Global Institute study found that “by 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.”2
  • Glassdoor rated the job of data scientist as the #1 occupation for 2016.3
  • A Harvard Business Review article by Thomas Davenport and D.J. Patil proclaimed data scientist as the “sexiest job of the twenty-first century,” because people who can fill that role have skills that are in high demand, are expensive to hire, and are difficult to retain because the competition for their services is fierce.4

Patil is the former head of data products at LinkedIn and is now the Chief Data Scientist of the White House Office of Science and Technology.  He invented the term “data science” in 2008.  According to Patil, “The dominant trait among data scientists is an intense curiosity—a desire to go beneath the surface of a problem, find the questions at its heart, and distill them into a very clear set of hypotheses that can be tested.”

It’s not just the staggering amount of data that drives the demand for data scientists.  According to a post on Clickz, companies increasingly are “less concerned about the size of the datasets and are more concerned about the availability of actionable data. . . . more and more companies are asking for prescriptive output that goes beyond descriptive and predictive models to recommend actual courses of action, and showing the likely outcome of each decision.”5

That’s a tall order for firms that haven’t invested in hiring people with data science skills...

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