Two decades ago, data scientists didn’t exist. Sure, some people cleaned, organized and analyzed information — but the data science professionals we admire today stand at the head of a relatively new (and vaunted) career path.
It is certainly one of the most popular careers because it is in great demand and highly paid. With data being the primary fuel of industry and organization, company executives must now determine how to drive their company in this rapidly changing environment. Not only is a growth blueprint essential, but so are individuals who can put the blueprint into action. When most senior executives or human resource professionals think of data-driven employment, a data scientist is the first position that comes to mind.
In this blog, we will discuss the top 12 skills a CEO should demand if hiring a data scientist in 2022.
- Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking
Finding a needle in a haystack is the goal of data science. You'll need a candidate who has a sharp problem-solving mind to figure out what goes where and why, and how it all works together. Thinking critically implies making well-informed, suitable judgments based on evidence and facts. That means leaving your own ideas at the door and putting your faith - within reason - in the evidence.
Being objective in the analysis is more difficult than it appears at first. One is not born with the ability to think critically. It's a talent that, like any other, can be learned and mastered with time. Always look for a candidate who is prepared to ask questions and change his/her opinion, even if it means starting over.
If you go through job listings on sites like Indeed or LinkedIn, you'll notice one phrase that appears repeatedly: must work well in a team. Contrary to popular belief, most scientific communities, including those in data science, do not rely on a single exceptional mind to drive forward development. A team's cohesiveness and collaboration power are typically more significant than any one member's brilliance or originality. Your potential candidate will not contribute to success if s/he does not play well with others or believes that s/he does not require assistance from your colleagues. If anything, candidates' poisonous attitudes may cause stress, decreased levels of accomplishment, and failure on the team.
Harvard researchers revealed in 2015 that even "moderate" amounts of toxic employee conduct might increase attrition, lower employee morale, and reduce team effectiveness. Eighty percent of employees polled said they wasted time worrying about coworker incivility. Seventy-eight per cent claimed toxicity had reduced their dedication to their work, and 66 per cent said their performance had suffered as a result. The fact is that being a team player is significantly more productive and fulfilling than being a solo act. Look for a candidate with good cooperation abilities, and both you and your team will profit!
Capable data scientists must be able to communicate the conclusions they get from data. If your candidate lacks the ability to convert technical jargon into plain English, no matter how significant the results are, your audience will not grasp them. Communication is one of the most important skills a data scientist can learn — and one that many pros struggle with.
One 2017 poll that tried to uncover the most common impediments that data scientists encountered at work discovered that the majority of them were non-technical. Among the top seven barriers were "explaining data science to others," "lack of management/financial support," and "results not utilised by decision-makers."
You fail if you can't communicate - therefore look for a candidate who knows how to interpret! And can break down complicated topics into digestible explanations; rather than giving a dry report.
- Business Intelligence
Sure, a candidate can’t start teaching abstruse mathematical theory whenever you want — but can they explain how that theory can be applied to advance business? True, data scientists must have a strong grasp of their field as well as a solid foundation of technical abilities. However, if a candidate is required to use those abilities to advance a corporate purpose, they must also have some level of business acumen. Taking a few business classes will not only help them bridge the gap between their data scientist peers and business-minded bosses, but it will also help them advance the company's growth and their career as well. It may also assist them in better applying their technical talents to create useful strategic insights for your firm.
- Statistics and mathematics
When it comes to the role of arithmetic in machine learning, perspectives are mixed. There is no disputing that college-level comprehension is necessary. Linear algebra and calculus should not sound like other languages. However, if you're looking for a candidate for an internship or a junior position, then they don't need to be a math guru. But if you are looking for a candidate to work as a researcher, then the candidate must have more than just a strong math background. After all, research propels the business ahead, and you won't be able to accomplish anything until you have a candidate with a thorough grasp of how things function.
The fact is that just because data science libraries enable data scientists to perform complex arithmetic without breaking a sweat doesn't mean they shouldn't be aware of what's going on behind the surface. Get a candidate with the fundamentals right.
- AI and Machine Learning
Machine learning is an essential ability for any data scientist. It is used to create prediction models ranging from simple linear regression to cutting-edge picture synthesis using generative adversarial networks. When it comes to machine learning, there is a lot to look for in a potential candidate. Regression, decision trees, SVM, Naive Bayes, clustering, and other classic machine learning techniques (supervised and unsupervised) are available. Then there are neural networks, which include feed-forward, convolutional, recurrent, LSTM, GRU, and GAN. There's also reinforcement learning, but you get the idea - machine learning is a vast subject.
- Skills in cloud and MLOps
To remain relevant to the industry's current demands, more than three out of five (61.7%) companies say they need data scientists with updated knowledge in cloud technologies, followed by MLOps (56.1%) and transformers (55%). Three out of every four professionals with ten or more years of experience are learning MLOps to expand their skill sets. Cloud technologies (71.7%) are being learned as a fundamental new talent by mid-career professionals with 3-6 years of experience, followed by MLOps (62.3%), transformers (60.4%), and others.
Professionals in retail, CPG, and e-commerce are more likely (73.7%) to learn cloud technology as a new skill. As much as 70% of BFSI personnel upskill in MLOps. Another 70% and 60% of pharma and health workers are interested in acquiring transformers and computer vision as fundamental skills.
So make sure you don't miss out on such a talent who can bring cloud and MLOps skills into your company.
- Storytelling and Data Visualization
Data visualisation is enjoyable. Of course, it depends on who you ask, but many people consider it the most gratifying aspect of data science and machine learning. Look for a candidate who is a visualisation specialist and understands how to show data based on business requirements, and also how to integrate visualisations so that they tell a story. It might be as easy as integrating a few plots in a PDF report or as sophisticated as creating an interactive dashboard suited to the client's requirements.
Figure: Use of Data Visualization tools.
Without programming, there is no data science. How else would you give the computer instructions? All data scientists must be familiar with writing code, most likely in Python, R, or SQL these days. The breadth of what a candidate will perform with programming languages differs from that of traditional programming professions in that they’ll lean toward specific libraries for data analysis, visualisation, and machine learning.
Still, thinking like a coder entails more than just understanding how to solve issues. If there is one thing that data science sees a lot of, it is issues that need to be solved. But nothing is worse than understanding how to fix an issue but failing to transform it into long-lasting, production-ready code.
Out of the host of programming languages, 90% CEOs hire data science specialists who are specialists in Python as their preference for statistical modelling. Beyond that, the use of SQL (68.4%) is highest in retail, CPG, and ecommerce, followed by IT at 62.9%. R is the most widely used programming language if you operate in the pharma and healthcare business, with three in five (60%) data scientists reporting using it for statistical modelling.
- Mining Social Media
The process of extracting data from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is referred to as social media mining. Skilled data scientists may utilise this data to uncover relevant trends and extract insights that a company can then use to gain a better knowledge of its target audience's preferences and social media actions. You need data scientists well versed with this type of study as it is essential for building a high-level social media marketing plan for businesses. Given the importance of social media in day-to-day business and its long-term viability, hiring data scientists with social media data mining abilities is an excellent strategy for company growth.
- Data manipulation
After collecting data from various sources, a data scientist will almost surely come across some shoddy data that has to be cleaned up. You need to hire a candidate that knows what Data wrangling is. How to use it for the rectification of data faults such as missing information, string formatting, and date formatting.
- Deployment of a Model
What is the use of a ship if it cannot float? Non-technical users should not be expected to connect to specialised virtual machines or Jupyter notebooks only to check how your model operates. As a result, the ability to deploy a model is frequently required for data scientist employment.
The easiest solution is to establish an API around your model and deploy it as any other application — hosted on a virtual machine operating in the cloud. Things get harder if you wish to deploy models to mobile, as mobile devices are inferior when it comes to hardware.
If speed is critical, sending an API call and depending on an Internet connection isn't the best option. Consider distributing the model directly to the mobile app. Machine learning developers may not know how to design mobile apps, but they may examine lighter network topologies that will have reduced inference time on lower-end hardware.
Consider hiring a candidate who is well versed with all the things discussed above related to deploying a model.
And there you have it: the top twelve talents skills a CEO must look for while hiring a data scientist. Keep in mind that skill levels or talents themselves may differ from one firm to the next. Some data science jobs are more focused on databases and programming, while others are more focused on arithmetic. Nonetheless, we believe that these 12 data science skills are essential for your potential candidate in 2022.