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Brands hit by data skills shortage

13 Dec 2011 1:20 GMT Back
Brands hit by data skills shortage
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Demand for data professionals is fast outstripping supply, according to a new global survey by IT consultancy EMC. 

Over half (65%) of respondents believe demand for data science talent will outpace supply over the next five years. 

The vast amount of digital data and advances in software tools has created an explosion in opportunities to gain insights from data. 

However, the EMC report reveals a shortage of skills needed to capitalise on these data opportunities, following a survey of 497 data science professionals in the UK, the US, France, Germany, India and China. 

Only one-third of survey respondents are very confident in their organisation’s ability to make business decisions based on new data. 

The report highlights “big data” (the ability to analyse massive data sets generated by web logs, sensor systems, and transaction data) as the greatest emerging opportunity in data science.

It advises companies to create organisational cultures that are conducive to data-driven decision-making in order to remain competitive in the world of data science.

This, says the report, requires a wider view when hiring data scientists. Organisations need to look outside business degrees, and even computer science, to find practitioners with the intellectual curiosity and technical depth to solve big data problems, with academic concentrations in the hard sciences, statistics, and mathematics.

Andreas Weigend, Ph.D Stanford, head of the social data lab at Stanford (and former chief scientist at Amazon.com) warns: “Making sense of big data is a combination of organizations having the tools, skills and more importantly, the mindset to see data as the new ‘oil’ fueling a company. Unfortunately, the technology has evolved faster than the workforce skills to make sense of it and organizations across sectors must adapt to this new reality or perish.”

Posted by 

Nicola Carpenter

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