It’s been hard to escape the clamour around big data in the past few years, and it is undoubtedly one of the hot topics of the age. There is much to suggest that careers in the field are also amongst the hottest to get into right now, not least this infographic produced by leading crowdsourcing website CrowdFlower.
The graphic looks at where they think data science will be heading in 2015, and it has some good news for anyone in, or looking to get into, this field.
Breaking the silo
For instance, they suggest that chief data scientists will continue to eclipse the traditional chief information officer within their organisations, particularly when it comes to budget decisions.
They also suggest that the work of data scientists will be increasingly collaborative, with data scientists parachuted into departments rather than operating out of a standalone unit.
The skills required
Also of interest are the academic requirements they believe organisations will be looking for in their data scientists. Whereas traditionally this would have been the domain of the computer science graduate, CrowdFlower believe that there will be a gradual shift away from this and toward a much broader skillset.
"Data scientists should take a page out of anthropology and understand that qualitative information can also provide answers to questions you didn’t know you had," they say.
It suggests that future data analysis will be tool based and therefore not require the hard coding ability to analyse data themselves. Instead, suggesting that such capabilities will become open to anyone that has access to the right kind of tools.
The social good
I’ve written a number of times about the importance we are increasingly placing on purpose at work. It’s increasingly the main reason for us to get out of bed in the morning. It’s pleasing therefore to see the graphic refer to the powerful uses data science can be put to in making our world a better and more just place to live in.
"We think data will be driving the next wave of social consciousness from providing disaster relief support to helping philanthropies fulfil their charitable missions," they say.
A major driver for this will be the desire to open up data sets to allow analysis of it from anyone and everyone. I’ve attended a number of hackathons where tremendous things have been achieved over the course of a weekend by people given access to open data. It will be exciting to see how this evolves over the coming year.
So overall it seems to be painting a positive picture of life as a data scientist in 2015. Do you currently work in this field, or would you like to get into it? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.