Marcelo Sales

Data scientist: Where to Find Such a Rare Jewel?

Blog Post created by Marcelo Sales Employee on Aug 25, 2015

Generation Y, also called the millennials, those who were born between 1981 and 1992, are increasingly  known for breaking – or at least trying to break – paradigms  in the work environment and in the culture of organizations.


There are numerous examples of young workers who decide to leave, move to another company or start their own business because they do not like what they see or find themselves in organizations with no prospects for change. I do not intend to start a discussion about ethics, about what is right or wrong. I am simply highlighting that just like technology, or may be as a consequence of technology, the millennials are introducing significant changes in the corporate culture of various companies I know. And those companies that want to remain competitive are trying to meet their requirements since eventually, at some point, they will have to hire these “youngsters”. (Will this continue to be the language they will use in the future?)


In June, INFO Online published a ranking by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an agency of the US Ministry of Labor, of the best occupations for this generation. The article also offered advice for those who are still deciding what to do (or what occupation to switch to). "Innovation" is the key word in the list, and it could hardly be otherwise.


Of course, data scientist, the "hot” occupation, holds one of the first positions on this list. These professionals, who are also called "Big Data engineers", are increasingly sought by all industries worldwide. Some days ago a colleague of mine, who is an HR expert, pointed out that he thought it was weird that many educational institutions were not offering courses in this field yet. There are some, but not many. The fact is I am not surprised by this.


The role of a data scientist varies considerably from company to company, and from one area to the other in the same organization. That is why I believe we should focus less on the role itself and more on the professional´s general knowledge,  curiosity,  ability to find correlations, use associative thinking skills and show data in a structured fashion so that colleagues from other areas may contribute to elaborate on the early insights. And those abilities are not a unique to mathematicians, physicists, engineers or computer scientists, though for logical reasons they top the list. Anyway, I know of Doctors of biology or history who have been hired for such positions and are quite successful.


Thus, in this case, rather than discussing the role, the following questions should be addressed together with HR:


  • What exactly do we expect from the professional to be hired? 
  • What tools and technologies are they going to use? (And thus, what is the basic technical knowledge they should have)?
  • What methods do they use to share an insight´s logical structure?
  • But, mainly, to what extent do they relate to the world of business? Because they are also expected to understand the risks, challenges and broad issues related to the organization´s management, as well as to its competitors.


The latter is highly important, and this is not just "my personal opinion". In the above mentioned list, the top 10 occupations include 5 in the technology area and 3 in finance, which shows that although these professionals may think in bits and bytes, wherever they may be, they must be able to think of the business and how the business could benefit from their expertise. After all, they are expected to provide real time answers to administrative, logistics and other issues.


Nowadays, many solutions are reaching the market to help these professionals and organizations at large to develop increasingly predictive real time intelligence that will make it possible for us to know, at all times, the key indicators that will lead us to new and more important findings and insights. These are some of the key objectives of some of the latest solutions announced by Hitachi. Nevertheless, even though machines are getting increasingly connected we still require skilled professionals for those predictions to come true and be effective in all industries.


In an article published in the US, Hitachi Data System was named one of 2015 best workplaces for millennials. This is acknowledgement of the fact that our corporate culture evolves hand in hand with our solutions, that we value team spirit and innovations and, above all, that we expect all associates, myself included, to make a positive impact on the business and on society as a whole.


I hope this post has achieved such aim.


See you the next time!


To find the complete ranking of the Great Place to Work 2015, please click here