“Data Science – Found Your Unicorn?” By Daniel Gutierrez

Daniel Gutierrez is a data scientist with a strong understanding and background in the big data field. In addition to consulting with a variety of corporations, he is a regular contributor to the website Inside Big Data (http://inside-bigdata.com/author/dangutierrez/).

Fun Fact: By 2015, 4.4 million technology jobs globally will be created to support big data, including 1.9 million in the U.S.

Data Science – Found Your Unicorn? – By Daniel Gutierrez

There’s an immense amount of banter in the data science ecosystem these days about all the skill-sets required to effectively function as a data scientist. Some have gone so far as to label the perfect mélange of experience and knowledge a “Unicorn.”  This a reference to the recent discussions in the press and blogosphere indicating that Data Scientists are as nearly impossible to find. As a matter of fact, many companies in search of their own unicorn place unrealistic job requirements that only a data science superhero could fulfill. Fortunately, this mindset is changing where the search for a single Superman is wisely replaced with building a team of people with complementary skills – a data science team. To be sure, some candidates might indeed possess expertise in computer science, statistics, machine learning, probability theory, engineering and domain knowledge. They are just very hard to find. Many, if not most, data scientist job descriptions don’t reflect this reality and so these positions go unfilled for a very long time.

As the demand for the Data Scientist job position continues to increase, we’re seeing significant variation in the ads appearing on places like LinkedIn. From the discontinuity I’ve noticed in the ads, it is reasonable to question whether the internal/external recruiters and HR departments actually know what a data scientist does. In some cases I’ve seen, 2 or 3 positions described for just one data scientist position. I wonder if the successful candidate will command a salary equal to 2-3 people? It is as-if the HR manager just did a Google search on “data scientist” and copied/pasted every keyword they could find.

So I thought it would interesting to evaluate a typical job ad that I found floating around on LinkedIn. This particular ad was posted by Facebook – follow this link to read my comments! Continue reading ….

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