Why the market’s so hot for top data scientists

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​These days, it seems that every organisation wants to jump straight into data science, machine learning, AI, and the promising field of predictive analytics. But before you can run, you must first be able to walk.

A top data scientist relies on great data first and foremost, along with a clear understanding of the organisation’s business priorities and goals. Here’s a quick guide to understanding the skills and traits of a top data science candidate and what you can expect when hiring one in the current market.

In this guide:

·         What does a top data science candidate look like?

·         Hiring data science candidates in a tight market

·         Data scientist salaries

·         What about the rising demand for data engineers?

What does a top data science candidate look like?

What makes a top data science candidate is more involved than expecting mastery of a particular program. Data science is an interdisciplinary field that combines statistics, math, and programming. However, a rockstar data scientist will also possess intellectual curiosity, an obsession with solving problems, strong communication and stakeholder engagement skills, business acumen and data visualisation.

Technical capability isn’t the be all and end all

You’ll want a candidate who is a strong communicator with a view of the big picture in your organisation. I’ve seen employers hire top data scientists only to stick them at a desk to run reports all day. But to get maximum value from these super beings, you’ll want to give them a seat at the big table so they can fully understand your organisation’s needs, wants and priorities.

The best data scientist understands how their work fits into the company so they can deliver value to the business. And then they clearly, proactively, and consistently communicate with stakeholders to set and manage expectations and keep everyone on the same page.

Hiring data science candidates in a tight market

A simple solution for many organisations would be to hire junior data professionals that demonstrate a blend of technical capability, business acumen, and communication and stakeholder engagement skills but need development in one or more of the areas. As junior Data Scientists are also hard to come by developing someone into this space can solve the talent gap. You could spend time coaching, mentoring, and developing areas of improvement rather than struggling to lure perfect unicorns or expecting their development to happen instantly on the job.

Data scientist salaries

Salaries for the most highly sought-after data scientists are going through the roof. Top of the market people that have the blend of the skills above can demand salaries over $200,000 with just around 5 years experience in the space.

There is currently 120 ‘data scientist’ jobs listed on Seek which outstrips supply by about 3:1. Seek jobs listed are only the tip of the real demand.

What about the rising demand for data engineers?

Remembering that data is the name of the game, here, when there’s rubbish going in, you’ll have rubbish coming out.

As more companies realise that the insights derived from their data science teams are only as good as the data they’re working with, we’re seeing an increasing demand for data engineers. These specialists are required to clean and convert all the raw data into usable information for the data science teams to make an even greater impact on the business.

And right now, I’d guess there are a lot of data scientists out there already spending half their time working as data engineers because of this!

Need to hire data specialists so you can make better decisions in your organisation?

Talk to Jacob Kenney