Careers

05:37 PM
Al Nugent
Al Nugent
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

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.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Becca L
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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.
More Commentary
A Wild Ride Comes to an End
Covering the financial services technology space for the past 15 years has been a thrilling ride with many ups as downs.
The End of an Era: Farewell to an Icon
After more than two decades of writing for Wall Street & Technology, I am leaving the media brand. It's time to reflect on our mutual history and the road ahead.
Beyond Bitcoin: Why Counterparty Has Won Support From Overstock's Chairman
The combined excitement over the currency and the Blockchain has kept the market capitalization above $4 billion for more than a year. This has attracted both imitators and innovators.
Asset Managers Set Sights on Defragmenting Back-Office Data
Defragmenting back-office data and technology will be a top focus for asset managers in 2015.
4 Mobile Security Predictions for 2015
As we look ahead, mobility is the perfect breeding ground for attacks in 2015.
Register for Wall Street & Technology Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Wall Street & Technology - Elite 8, October 2014
The in-depth profiles of this year's Elite 8 honorees focus on leadership, talent recruitment, big data, analytics, mobile, and more.
Video
Exclusive: Inside the GETCO Execution Services Trading Floor
Exclusive: Inside the GETCO Execution Services Trading Floor
Advanced Trading takes you on an exclusive tour of the New York trading floor of GETCO Execution Services, the solutions arm of GETCO.