OK, quick pop quiz - what career has been crowned “the sexiest job of the 21st Century?” Actor? Model? Professional athlete? Fashion designer? All are likely answers and all are wrong. Would you believe the answer is data scientist?
You may have never heard of a data scientist, but that’s part of the reason the Harvard Business Review awarded it the title. As the world becomes more and more digital, the supply of trained professionals who understand data science remains woefully far behind. The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000-190,000 people with analytical expertise, and 1.5 million managers and analysts with the skills to understand and make decisions based on the analysis of big data.
The demand for data scientists is so great, Intel’s Chief Data Scientist for Big Data Solutions, Bob Rogers, recently hosted a panel at NYU to discuss the opportunities awaiting new and current professionals in data science. “Data scientists are having an impact on industries all across the globe,” he says. “Wherever you want to work, you can get there with data science.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the day-to-day work of this “sexiest job of the 21st Century,” here are three diverse examples of some of the data science work being done today.
* Oregon Health & Science University. Medical research is moving in exciting new directions with the help of data scientists. Oregon Health & Science University and Intel recently announced the Collaborative Cancer Cloud (CCC), a precision medicine analytics platform designed to harness the combined potential of patient genome, imaging and clinical data from hospitals and research institutions. This data could advance scientific research and help physicians make potentially lifesaving discoveries one day. The project aims to make key technology components of the CCC open source and available to developers.
* Booz Allen Hamilton. Professional sports have always been rich in player and team statistics. These statistics are now augmented by analytical models of player performance, comprehensive digital video recordings of every league event, and digital fan experiences such as fantasy leagues. Booz Allen Hamilton’s data science team is delivering value in all of these dimensions of sports: on-field player performance, off-the-field team strategy, and fan engagement, by exploring and exploiting those rich data collections through open source technologies and advanced analytics algorithms.
* Caesars Entertainment. One of the most famous casinos in the world is relying on data analytics professionals and analysis to improve customer experience across its establishments. Today, Caesars can run faster and more accurate analysis to gain maximum value from all of its data sources, which improves security and the customer experience they can deliver to everyone that enters its doors.
These are just a few examples of how one of the nation’s hottest professions is having an impact in industries across the country. These professionals combine technical know-how with superior communication skills, strong business sense and intellectual curiosity. If you possess all these skills, a career as a data scientist may be a great fit. Even if data science isn’t the job for you, it will be exciting to see what exciting innovations big data analytics will enable us to uncover in the future.