Over the past 2 to 3 years, I have attended many Big Data and Data Science conferences (where I have given numerous talks, participated on many panels, and talked with countless data professionals). During this same period, I have also been receiving numerous contacts each month from hiring managers and recruiters who are seeking to hire someone like me. Recently, I have been detecting increasing dismay and agitation among recruiters and managers who are trying to hire data scientists.
As the digital data revolution is now in full sail, there is an explosion in the number of job announcements and open positions for data scientists. Such high demand brings lucrative salaries and hiring bonuses. Consequently, while there are outstanding applicants for these jobs, there are also many wannabes. One recruiter (who has been trying for the past year to hire many data scientists for one large client) recently told me that he is disappointed — many of the job applicants that they interview tend to be lacking in fundamental data scientist skills and aptitudes: statistics, programming, computational literacy, data literacy, data management, data handling, databases, machine learning, data mining, visualization, communications, scientific curiosity, some science training, plus some domain expertise.
I believe that it is fair to say that we no longer believe that there exists a mythical “purple unicorn” out there somewhere who has all of those data science skills, talents, and aptitudes rolled into one person.