What’s the sexiest job these days? If your thoughts are veering towards jobs like modeling or acting or car racing, then you are way off. Way, way off…
Never would have guessed “Data Science” or the job of a data scientist to be considered sexy. Maybe it won’t last forever, but in today’s world… it is sexy!
So, when someone asks you to describe a data scientist, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
To many people, a data scientist is someone who holds a PhD from some mighty Ivy league university— think Harvard, MIT or Stanford—and is a super whiz at math, statistics, and programming, says John Thuma, Teradata’s Director of Analytics for the US and Canada East Region.
“You’ll hear about a genius who sits above the fray, focused on code, and can be difficult to deal with,” Thuma adds. “Does that describe the data scientist you want to hire? Are you sure that is the person you want?”
Probably not, especially if your goal is to empower your business users with analytics, he says.
So what do you do? You hire a data scientist who has the potential to become a chief data officer (CDO) and “make data the thread that runs through the entire fabric of the organization,” Thuma notes.
Here are some tips from Thuma to help you hire the perfect data scientist.
Sees the Big Picture
The best data scientists know that the key to ensuring their company’s success depends on their ability to align their work with the entire business and promote data practices that are infused throughout the organizations.
Data scientists love data, but those who have the potential to become chief data officers don’t just love data for data’s sake. They see the big picture. They want to figure out how to employ data to solve critical business challenges. Top-notch data scientists will want to use data to retain your best customers or develop new products and services.
“Great data scientists are master communicators,” Thuma says. They can help convince you that if you want to be competitive and sell more cars, televisions, groceries, clothes or whatever else, then the most important asset you have is data.
The best CDOs-in-the-making know how to effectively communicate and inculcate the value of data and its role within the organization—if that means they have to shout out the benefits of data analytics from the rooftops and infuse a “data-first” mindset throughout the business—then so be it.
“Data is your most important asset and that vision won’t sell itself,” Thuma notes. “It needs someone to help guide the way.”
However, data scientists must realize that the sun doesn’t rise and set on them—in other words, they cannot always be the focal point. Interaction and collaboration with others is paramount to devising and implementing an effective data analytics strategy. If they think they’re smarter than everyone else and just assume people will understand the importance of data and data analytics to the business, they will never be a reliable force for change, according to Thuma.
“People who are closed-minded and think they are better than others are not the right fit for a business environment,” Thuma says. “The best data scientists have the potential to sit on your board. They are motivated. They listen to people and care about what they’re saying.”
If you remember these tips when you’re interviewing your next data scientist, you have a great chance of hiring the individual who could become your new chief data officer.