The Myth of the Data Scientist Shortage

Data scientists—people who can manage and analyze big, unstructured data—were once as scarce as vegetarian dogs. If your business wasn’t based in Silicon Valley or Boston, if you couldn’t offer massive stock options, and if you didn’t have a sexy business model, you were unlikely to be able to hire any.

When I interviewed 35 of them in 2013 for an article in Harvard Business Review, my co-author (D.J. Patil, now a data scientist in the White House) and I wrote, “The shortage of data scientists is becoming a serious constraint in some sectors.” The most common educational background among the 35 data scientists I interviewed was a Ph.D. in experimental physics, and there aren’t a lot of those sitting around.

Author: Tom Davenport


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