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It was 2012 when Harvard Business Review (HBR), one of the most influential business magazines in the world, announced: data scientist is the sexiest job of the 21st century.

The article, signed by professor Thomas Davenport, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT, and data scientist DJ Patil, was inspired by a phrase coined by Hal Varian, chief economist at Google:

“The sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians. People think I’m joking, but who would’ve guessed that computer engineers would’ve been the sexy job of the 1990s?””

What does a data scientist do?

Data scientists are the professionals responsible for finding, in the midst of the chaos generated by big data, information and insights that can be useful to organizations, to the point of influencing the company’s growth, collaborating with processes agility, creating new products or attracting customers.

In other words, data scientists mix programming knowledge, mathematics and systems analysis to analyze, interpret and refine what all companies, without exception, generate every second – data.

But why choose the word “sexy” to define these professionals? The key to understanding the term is in the desire that these professionals provoke in the market, due to their skills and rarity.

“If ‘sexy’ means having rare qualities that are much in demand, data scientists are already there. They are difficult and expensive to hire and, given the very competitive market for their services, difficult to retain. There simply aren’t a lot of people with their combination of scientific background and computational and analytical skills,” write the HBR article authors to justify the use of the term.

Now that you understand why data scientists are so “sexy”, it’s time to understand why your company cannot live without these professionals in the process of digital transformation.

Digital transformation goes through the data scientist

Is your company prepared to undergo a digital transformation process? Technology has virtually  taken over all sectors, services and products of society, and adapting to this reality is no longer a competitive advantage – it is a matter of survival.

Given the huge volume of data generated every second, your company has two options: either choose to ignore this information or embrace it to gain insights relevant to its future.

In this mission, the presence of a data scientist is essential, since he can combine technology, artificial intelligence, analysis and statistics knowledge with the knowledge of the market in which the company operates.

If you are still not sure when to start searching the market to find these professionals, the answer is simple: today.

Growing demand for data scientists

In a response published on Quora, data scientist Akash Dugam warns users of the urgency of this adaptation to companies who want to survive in the market. He writes: “When you consider that in 2020 the world will generate 50x more data than it did in 2011, it’s no surprise that an entire discipline has grown up to help people make sense of it […]According to a report by Accenture, 87% of enterprises believe big data analytics will redefine the competitive landscape of their industries within the next three years. And 89% believe that companies without a big data analytics’ strategy in the next year risk losing market share and will not be as competitive.”

Furthermore, there are no signs that the avalanche of data has a set date/time to decrease in intensity.

Therefore, whoever doesn’t have data scientists on the team will inevitably suffer, as explained by the authors of the article published in HBR. That’s because digital transformation is not a change that can be accomplished by one single person.

“If companies sit out this trend’s early days for lack of talent, they risk falling behind as competitors and channel partners gain nearly unassailable advantages. Think of big data as an epic wave gathering now, starting to crest. If you want to catch it, you need people who can surf,” Davenport and Patil conclude.

However, hiring a data scientist will not solve your problems, you will need to internalize the digital transformation in your company. In order to do that there is no secret: it is necessary to define the trajectory, embrace change and work closely with relevant partners, who share the same purpose.

So, did this post make sense to you? Bravi is a partner in the digital transformation of companies of all sizes. Let’s chat?