Data scientists with ‘interpreter’ skills in demand says AWS

Candidates need unique mix of skills for data scientist roles, according to AWS’s director of data science

Demand for data scientists is growing as businesses struggle to find candidates with the mix of skills required for the role, according to Amazon Web Services’ head of data science.

Dr Matt Wood, director of data science at Amazon Web Services, told Computer Weekly he regarded a data scientist is an interpreter’s role: “You need to be able to interpret the businesses requirements and take that back to the technology team. You then need to be able to take that back to the rest of the organisation and say if it worked.

“Data scientists are like the hub in an organisation that are well ingrained in all areas of the business.

"They usually evolve from internal teams and know the business side. Those soft skills are important and being able to translate these soft skills to the technical side is an important mix of skills to have.”

Research recently undertaken by OnePoll, for database and analytic software supplier Teradata, revealed CEOs in the UK, France and Germany are crying out for data scientists.

The survey questioned 300 C-level executives, 100 from each country. Of those surveyed 62% of C-level executives feel the lack of data scientists is causing a real problem.

Over half (54%) of UK respondents said this is down to potential recruits lacking the right combination of business, IT, analytics and communication skills.

Wood said communication is key for data scientists who need to know how to clearly communicate with colleagues: “It is important to be able to communicate with different types of stakeholders - understanding all of their requirements and how to deal with them.

“There is a demand for this type of role in both enterprises and startups.”

Due to the mix of technical and non-technical skills required for the role, Wood said a career as a data scientist appears to be interesting women in the technology industry: “There seems to be an even distribution of women in data scientist roles, when thinking about the top data scientists out there. The role is a mix of skills, of both soft and technical.”

The Teradata research also revealed that 19% of respondents are already running big data projects (26% in Germany, 13% in the UK) and that 42% are currently recruiting or thinking of recruiting data scientists and other big data roles.



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