Last year, the Harvard Business Review named data science the “sexiest job of the 21st century.” There’s substantial evidence to back up this bold claim as the excitement surrounding big data across sectors and industries continues to grow, calling on the right professionals to mine, analyze and interpret society’s vast data supply. Below are three reasons why data science is particularly sexy:
- Hype – There’s been an enormous amount of hype surrounding big data and new technologies to harness its power. Simply search “big data” in Google and you’ll get 1.69 billion results.
- Desirability – There’s a high demand for highly skilled individuals able to look into huge datasets to make discoveries and meaningful findings.
- Attractiveness – Meaningful utilization of data science can be transformed into attractive results in the form of visual narratives, dynamic figures and key statistics.
Although data science is a quickly growing profession, there still is some ambiguity around the role and skills needed to fit the bill. Data scientists are software engineers, business intelligence professionals, computer scientists, mathematicians and statisticians. More likely, they’re a combination of all of these with the curiosity and intuition to navigate through unstructured and disparate datasets to find hidden meaning and structure. Data scientists are called upon to examine purchasing habits of shoppers, health information of a hospital’s patients, trends in social networking websites as well as any other inquiry imaginable.
In government, data science specialists are increasingly demanded to examine important public sector issues, such as funding utilization and resource allocation.
However, there is a growing a gap between big data capacities and data science staff and workforce. A recent GovLoop survey on big data found that the majority of government organizations have yet to hire a data scientist, as 61% of respondents do not have data scientist on staff. This is in-line with findings on the broader data science workforce. The McKinsey Global Institute estimated a shortfall of 140,000 to 190,000 data scientists in the U.S. by 2018.
The fortunate news is that the academic community has responded to the increased demand for more data scientists. Over 25 institutions across the country are now offering courses and certificate, master and PhD programs in analytics, big data and data science.
The big data phenomenon has created new and countless opportunities for organizations to learn from untapped data resources. In a related pattern, the spawn of the data science field is producing learning opportunities in the academic and labor market.
Does your agency have a data scientist? Check out the latest and greatest GovLoop guide, “Transforming Your Agency with Big Data,” to learn:
- Other key insights from the GovLoop big data survey
- Best practices in crafting big data strategies
- Examples of government leveraging big data.
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Thank you to our industry partners for sponsoring the GovLoop Report, Transforming Your Agency with Big Data. With any questions about this report, please reach out to Pat Fiorenza, Senior Research Analyst, at [email protected]