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In the past, business leaders made decisions using productivity programs such as Excel, while only academics used complex software for analyzing complex data. Today, business leaders are increasingly recognizing the value in making decisions based on comprehensive information analysis. As a result, contemporary enterprises that span nearly every field and industry employ data scientists to evaluate information so that organizations can improve their performance outcomes. This is especially important for B2C firms that want, or need, to reduce expenses and improve customer satisfaction. In this capacity, data scientists create value using information, drive innovation and improve organizational operations.
Data scientists are highly trained specialists who possess exceptional talent in business, digital, problem solving and project management skills. They train in advanced mathematics, such as linear algebra, multivariable calculus and statistics to work in the field. Mathematics skills are especially valuable at firms where their service is defined by information. Specialists who work for large enterprises use their knowledge of machine learning to make meaningful use of massive amounts of data. When data scientists routinely work with large bodies of unstructured or imperfect information – such as strings with missing values or formatting inconsistencies– data wrangling is an invaluable skill.
A Realistic Look at the Field
Like any other career path, there are benefits and drawbacks to working as a data scientist. Data scientists must acquire a large amount of training to grow proficient in their field. Upon entering the workforce, some specialists are tasked with rebuilding a company’s information structure from scratch. At other firms, institutionalized executives may want the benefits of the latest information technology, but aren’t willing to provide the requisite funding to launch a full data initiative.
Fortunately, the good outweighs the bad for data scientists seeking employment in the current market. There’s a much higher demand for talent than there are skilled data scientists. Meanwhile, the yearning to harness the power of information is continuing to grow among business leaders, and today’s data scientists have access to analytic software that’s easy to use – at least for data scientists. Furthermore, data scientists earn a handsome salary that averages $120,931 a year in the United States. Additionally, the specialists receive yearly bonuses that range from approximately $4,000 to $27,000 each year.
The Desire for Business Growth Is Driving Demand in the Field
Business leaders employ data scientists find ways to improve their operations and drive enterprise innovation. The current crop of analytic programs allows data scientists to perform deeper evaluations than ever. This capability provides enterprises with invaluable insights gleaned from people, places and things that generate information daily.
Even though big data technology is in its infancy, researchers have uncovered empirical and quantifiable data that proves there are benefits in making decisions based on information analysis. In fact, as early as 2012 experts determined that businesses that make data-driven decisions consistently outperform their competitors. At that time, enterprises that made data-driven decisions outperformed their peers by 5-percent in productivity and 6-percent in profits. This difference, reported researchers, was statistically significant, economically relevant and resulted in improved stock performance.
Today, smart devices and the industrial and consumer Internet of Things (IoT) create a rapidly expanding body of information. As this continues, American enterprises need more experts who can collect, store and analyze vast volumes of information, and the demand will continue to rise as big data analysis becomes a standard practice for enterprises across all fields and industries.
Due to high demand and renumeration, the professional data science learning track is growing in popularity among career hopefuls. In the academic setting, data science students learn collaboration, consulting and communication skills that will be vital to their work. To prepare the next generation of data science professionals, forward-thinking academics are working to promote a learning environment where students train in near real-world environments and conduct interviews with field experts. Furthermore, data science advocates worry that if the talent shortage in their field continues, United States business performance will suffer along with the economy. Without the knowledge and skills of trained data science specialists, America’s enterprises could fail to achieve their full growth and potential.
Data scientists report that their work is rewarding and satisfying. Part of the job involves witnessing the result of a positive outcome that was made possible by detailed information analysis. The kind of work creates special moments in the business environment. When these moments occur, enterprise leaders learn something new and valuable about their organization and are empowered to make critical business decisions.