Thinking of hiring a data analyst? What skills should they have?

Many of our clients regularly hire new analysts and we’re often involved in discussions about what the core skills are that they should be looking for. Similarly, I often talk to people looking to build a career in analytics who want to know what skills they need to develop. The most skilled analysts are in high demand because they blend together a range of skills that are rarely found in a single person. Here are the things that I think are really key. Domain knowledge about your industry It’s not enough just to have the technical skills. As we have […]

Data science projects – what skills do you need and where can you get them from?

Data science is on the rise. A couple of years back Harvard Business Review suggested that ‘data scientist’ is the sexiest job title of the twenty first century and the hype around data science shows no sign of abating. The term ‘data scientist’ itself was only coined in 2008 but since then the number of data science roles in organisations has grown exponentially, as the volume of data available for analysis also grows. But this presents a challenge for organisations – in such a new and fast-changing field how can they identify the skills they need, find appropriate people who have those skills, […]

The widening analytics skills gap – how much of a problem is it?

It’s well known that there’s a growing skills gap in the area of analytics. As organisations are waking up to value contained within their data, so demand for statisticians, data scientists and analyst grows. It’s great that so many organisations are realising the power of analytics and the competitive edge that it can give them. But as anyone who works in the field knows, there just aren’t enough skilled analysts to go around. And it’s not enough just to have the analysts themselves. In order to succeed in running effective analytics projects, organisations also need leaders and managers who, whilst they […]

Is there a business case for the Chief Analytics Officer?

The past decade has seen huge growth in the practical use of data mining and analytics. Increasingly, analytics is being used not just to inform decision makers; it is being embedded into operational systems and processes. As analytics becomes increasingly business critical, I share a few thoughts on the question: is it time for the Chief Analytics Officer (CAO)? Contributions of a CAO Executive officer (CxO) roles are responsible for setting strategic objectives, making strategic decisions, leading employees to achieve objectives, directing day-to-day operations, executing change, and monitoring performance against the business strategy. A good starting point for defining the […]

Do you have to be a data scientist to do predictive analytics?

What is a data scientist? The predictive analytics field seems to love nothing more than giving a new name to an established concept. In my last post I argued that the concept of ‘big data’ itself is nothing new. Over the last few years I’ve seen more and more job ads recruiting ‘data scientists’  and I find myself rather unjustifiably irritated by the rise of this new job title. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that irritates me about it but I think it’s tied up with the creation of a new job title for something which isn’t really all that new, and a […]

Predictive analytics – art or science?

Predictive analytics uses statistical techniques and mathematical algorithms to analyse existing data and extrapolate it forward to predict what’s likely to happen in the future. Which customers are most likely to cancel their contracts? Which ad campaign will people most likely respond to? Which insurance claims are most likely to be fraudulent? On which assets should maintenance resources be most urgently focused? Most organisations understand how to use their existing data to understand what happened in the past – which campaigns were most successful, which customers left the organisation and so on – but predictive analytics takes this to the next […]