Data Scientists: Highly Skilled and In Demand
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Monday, 12 December 2011

A survey of data scientists reveals that the majority think demand for their skills will outstrip supply and over a third identify computer science as the required degree for this emerging discipline.

 

If you’re wondering just what constitutes a data scientist EMC Data Science Community Survey tells us that it’s in roughly the same area as business intelligence (BI). However, while BI focuses on managing and reporting on existing business data for ongoing business concerns, data science applies advanced analytical tools and algorithms to make predictions and suggest product innovations that are a direct result of the data.

The EMC Data Science Study included responses from more than 500 data scientists, information analysts, and data specialists from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, India and China.

What is interesting about the research is that while the most popular undergraduate degree for BI professionals was in business at 37%, the most popular degree for data science professionals was computer science (24%), followed closely by engineering (17%) and the hard sciences (11%).

The researchers also found that data science professionals were over 2.5 times more likely to have a master’s degree, and over 9 times more likely to have a doctoral degree than business intelligence professionals. The survey allowed participants to decide for themselves whether they were data science professionals.

The tools being used by the two groups are also interesting; most of the BI professionals said they use Excel for their analysis and data processing, but the data science professionals are using SQL, advanced statistical packages, and NoSQL databases, alongside big-data tools like Hadoop. Open Source tools, like the R statistics package, Python, and Perl, are also used by one in five of the data science professionals.

The majority of respondents (83%) said they believed that new technologies would increase the need for data scientists. But 64% also felt as though this new demand for data scientists would outstrip the supply, and 31% said demand would "significantly outpace" supply. While there’s an element of ‘well they would say that, wouldn’t they’ about this finding, the research does highlight an interesting area for developers, either when considering new areas for potential software, or deciding what job title to put on your CV!

 

datascience

 

When it comes to preparing for a career as a Data Scientist, the survey suggested that Computer Science was the most relevant university degree, which seems fairly fitting given that it was published during Computer Science Education Week.

 

 

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