Data is being collected in droves, but most of the time, people don’t know what to do with it. That’s why data scientists are hot commodities in the startup world right now. In fact, between 2003 and 2013, employment in data industries grew about 21 percent — nearly 16 percent more than overall employment growth. It’s a fairly new concept, but these people are so valuable because they understand the significance of data for your business and how you can use it.
Using analytics, firms can discover patterns and stories in data, build the infrastructure needed to properly collect and store it, inform business decisions and guide strategy. Access to sufficient and robust data is vital to sustained startup growth.
Companies need to incorporate data science into their business models as early as possible while they’re taking risks and making crucial decisions about the future. But how do you know whether your company is ready to go the extra mile and hire a data scientist?
First, you need to make sure you can afford to hire one. On average, a single data scientist costs a company $100,000 annually. A team of data engineers, machine learning experts and modelers can cost millions.
Smaller companies may need to create software solutions and invest time in building revenue to ensure they can actually utilize a data scientist’s skills. Tools such as Tableau, Qlik and Google Charts can help you plot and visualize the results of your data collection, connect this information to dashboards and quickly glean actionable insights.
Once your business is ready to make a larger investment to gain a competitive edge, there are several key traits to seek out in potential candidates. The best data scientists are:
1. Skilled. All the data in the world won’t illuminate much if the scientist analyzing it doesn’t possess practical IT skills, experience with the tools mentioned above and a thorough understanding of basic security practices.