Dire warnings of an impending big data skills crisis have been dismissed as nonsense by some technology specialists, who claim with tools getting easier to use, some firms will not even need so-called “data scientists”.
That was one of the key conclusions of a recent round-table event hosted by US company Rocketspace, which offers office space to tech start-ups.
Bernd Kaponig, solutions principal at storage vendor EMC, said: “From my perspective it’s not a huge skills gap, it’s exaggerated. The skills are growing with the demand for the skills, and tools are also getting easier to use and appeal to a broader audience, including management. They also get insight into what’s happening; it’s not just a black box they don’t understand.”
Meanwhile Rackspace’s head of technical product strategy, Toby Owen, said talk of the need for 10,000 data scientists may be a little aspirational for some companies who have goals to do this great, big big-data strategy.
“I’d agree that the basic skillsets are there, the tooling is getting better to use, and the toolsets being made are clearer, such as business intelligence tools.”
Owen believes that big data platforms are becoming easier for end users to operate without the need for new skillsets. Not every company is going to be able to afford to hire data scientists anyway,”
And Chris Harris, technical director at Hadoop developer Hortonworks, said that he is not even sure that the so-called “data scientist” even exists in the hyped-up form promoted by many in the industry. “The mistake many companies make is that they look for this data scientist; this one guy who is going to change your entire organisation.
“Take a step back, and realise that this one scientist is actually a team of people. Look at the data scientist skillset, look at your team, and look at what’s required in terms of being able to move it forward, rather than stall yourself on not being able to find this mythical data scientist person.”
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