An article by Thomas Davenport from the October 2012 Harvard Business Review (Special issue about Big Data)
a new role is fast gaining prominence in organizations: that of the data scientist. data scientists are the people who understand how to fish out answers to important business questions from today’s tsunami of unstructured information. as companies rush to capitalize on the potential of big data, the largest constraint many face is the scarcity of this special talent.
no university programs have yet been designed to churn out data scientists, so recruiting them requires creativity. look for achievers in any field with a strong data and computational focus, which might take you as far afield from business as experimental physics or systems biology. recognize, too, that the aspects of a job that will attract and retain a data scientist may differ from what makes other professionals happy.
data scientists need autonomy but want to be “on the bridge,” responding to management issues with their
managerial colleagues in real time. Money counts as a signal of value, but in a fast-evolving discipline, the ability to make one’s mark by working on the most intriguing problems and tapping into the richest data flows may count more.