Demand for big data specialists grows in face of skills shortage

The demand for data scientists at companies is increasing in the face of a continuing skills shortage, shows research.


The demand for data scientists at companies is increasing in the face of a continuing skills shortage, shows research.

A survey of 300 senior executives in the UK, France and Germany found that 42 percent of businesses are actively recruiting or planning to recruit data scientists, analysts and other specialists to help get the best out of their big data.

But 62 percent of firms agreed that there is a skills shortage in the area of data science and big data analytics, rising to 65 percent in France. Only 12 percent in total are confident that no skills shortage exists.

According to the research, commissioned by analytics systems supplier Teradata, companies are increasingly looking for a blend of skills to successfully implement big data analytics initiatives, and are not just relying on IT experience.

For instance, 37 percent anticipate that potential big data data job applications will come from existing employees with business skills, such as business intelligence or business analytics expertise, compared with 46 percent who expect recruits to have an IT background.

And a majority (51 percent) of new recruits working on big data analytics projects will report to departments other than IT, rising to 63 percent in the UK. In almost one quarter (23 percent) of companies, the new team will report directly to the board.

But the majority (58 percent) are struggling to find candidates with the right mix of skills. Although technical experience remains of greatest importance, other essential attributes include problem-solving skills (cited by 43 percent, rising to 55 percent in Germany), analytical skills (42 percent) and creativity (35 percent).

The research found that a total of 44 percent of organisations have a big data analytics strategy or roadmap in place, and almost half (47 percent) are already running big data analytics projects or have plans to do so within two years.

“Not so long ago many companies saw big data analytics mainly as an IT project meeting IT goals,” said Duncan Ross, director for data sciences at Teradata International.

“This survey confirms a growing understanding that harnessing big data analytics effectively can bring company-wide benefits. However, to deliver on these new analytics opportunities companies need to identify and recruit the right staff.”

The research also showed there was an emphasis on experience rather than intellect when recruiting data scientists, with only 24 percent looking for degree level qualifications.

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