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Al Nugent
Al Nugent
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Should I Hire a Data Scientist?

Before spending big bucks on data scientists, understand the depths of the big data problem. Identifying the issues can help extract maximum value from the coveted skill sets.

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Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
7/31/2014 | 8:25:02 AM
Re: Wait for the facts
Wonderful article, Alan, great analogy and some really excellent points. Employing a data scientist for data scientist sake is no way to tackle the big data and analytics challenge. And besides the hefty price tag of data scientist, there's also an emerging market for data scientist tools, those probably aren't cheap! Budget, plan, strategize...
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
7/31/2014 | 8:24:32 AM
Re: Stay calm
Interesting point, Kathy. change has to start somewhere! This reminds me, I've heard that before hiring a data scientist, it may be helpful to look at the current staff, and seeing if anyone on the team(s) can be trained up. that could be the middle ground that leads the charge.

KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
7/30/2014 | 12:26:47 PM
Re: Stay calm
Yes, I'm sure there is a chicken/egg aspect to this. Part of a successful big data/analytics effort is becoming a "big data culture" -- it's not a project it's a journey, blah blah. Everyone's job changes somewhat as data factors into strategy and decision-making. So someone needs to lead the charge. Maybe not a data scientist, but someone who is a business or technology leader.
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
7/30/2014 | 7:02:09 AM
Stay calm
Well said. It seems as if every organization is scrambling to find a data scientist to head its data 'strategy.' But many companies don't seem to know what they want to do with all of the data that they have. Take a breath, figure out what you are trying to do, and then start to think about a data scientist....not the other way around.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
7/29/2014 | 4:10:08 PM
Re: Wait for the facts
I like your medical analogy, Alan; it does a great job of illustrating this business dilemma. Obviously some organizations need in-house data expertise more than others, and execs should consider their business' specific structure and needs before taking on a data scientist. Short-term help could be the answer for many, especially when data scientists are so expensive!
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
7/29/2014 | 2:02:26 PM
Re: Wait for the facts
I've been hearing so much lately about efforts to make data more available to non-data specialists throughout the organization through better data visualization. I think part of that is being pushed by the points Alan brings up here.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
7/11/2014 | 12:28:22 PM
Wait for the facts
Good reality check, Alan. Hopefully in a few years there will be enough critical mass of companies that have named data scientists (or comparable titles) that there will be hard evidence of the impact this function has on the business -- it will be possible to see if companies that have this function are actually better at making decisions, etc. That's what big data is all about, after all.
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