We live in a world that was different 20 years ago. And the people who have roles in IT security, SEO or digital marketing wouldn’t probably have imagined they would be working in an industry that came about only recently.
The advent of Big Data came with the need for people who will be able to analyze and use it for the greater good. From this need emerged a new career called data science and experts say there will be a shortage for 3 million data scientists by 2018. And in the Philippines, ‘data scientist’ is projected to be the new hottest career.
What does a Data Scientist do?
According to IBM, “A data scientist represents an evolution from the business or data analyst role. The formal training is similar, with a solid foundation typically in computer science and applications, modeling, statistics, analytics, and math. What sets the data scientist apart is strong business acumen, coupled with the ability to communicate findings to both business and IT leaders in a way that can influence how an organization approaches a business challenge.”
What sets data scientists apart from data analysts is that data scientists look at data from multiple sources. Analysts look at data from a single viewpoint, interpret results and make reports; data scientists look at all angles from multiple sources, even those with conflicting results and try to find insights so they can find out the reasons behind results. This is how data scientists are able to predict trends and forecasts and make recommendations on how to apply the insight collected from data.
We are at the computer age where huge amounts of data are being collected. Most organizations and businesses are becoming data-centric and a data scientist position is going to be needed from every sector in most industries but most primarily in the financial, healthcare, BPO, e-commerce, and government institutions worldwide.
How do I become a Data Scientist?
Glassdoor.com, a site that enables workers to self-report salaries, shows average data scientist salaries ranging from $75,000 to $115,000. Did this pique your interest? Here are some pioneer data scientist profiles you can look over.
So you want to become a data scientist. There are a lot of tips from the experts on developing the right skills but there is an even better option for Filipinos right now. IBM Philippines recently announced that they are partnering with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for a special curriculum for data scientists.
Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, IBM president and country general manager, said they originally proposed four special courses for the Data Scientist profession. These courses include Fundamentals of Business Analytics, Enterprise Data Modeling, Analytics Modeling, and Analytics Technique and Tools. They are working closely with various universities for the curriculum. University of Cebu (UC), University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJR), Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT), University of San Carlos and Silliman University in Dumaguete City are some of the universities they have been in close contact with for curriculum development.
According to the CHED Memorandum Order No. 11, s. 2013 signed last December, students who finish the specialization track in Business Analytics are entitled to the following job roles: Junior Business Analyst, Executive Operations Assistant, Marketing Representative, Operations Analyst, Human Resource Associate, Training Associate, Quality Assurance Associate, Insurance Analyst, Accounts Payable Analyst, and General Accounting Analyst. (There are 15 entry-level jobs for all sectors and 6 entry-level jobs specifically for the Business Process Outsourcing sector.)
Data Scientists are going to be Game Changers in almost every industry
Data scientist is the new sexy profession.
Winhoffer couldn’t have said it any better. She said that analytics will play a big role in the computing era because it allows industries to harness knowledge and power from Big Data. Analytics will allow organizations to make decisions that are “intelligent, insightful, and impactful.”
Riz Oades, Vice President for Finance and IT of Rustan’s Coffee Corp, the Philippine-based licensee of Starbucks Coffee, said data science has helped address the organization’s IT and business challenges by supplying and managing point-of-sale systems. “Analytics has helped provide a seamless flow of information, particularly for our company,” he said.
Even the government acknowledges the demand for this promising profession: “The growing demand of leaders to make better and faster business decisions makes Business Analytics and Optimization a huge market opportunity. By 2015, the global market opportunity for Analytics is estimated at $212 billion.”
It seems that IBM Philippines, and other best BPO companies in the country, have our country’s future in mind. Isagani Cruz wrote in his article that the key to successful education today is educating for the future, rather than for the present. “Teachers should then not focus on skills useful only today, but on what will be useful forever”.
And with the market for global analytics estimated to reach $160 billion by 2015, adding analytics to the core services of BPO companies will add more value and attract more investors. The BPO industry has been a key factor in the economic growth of the country and Winhoffer adds that BPO professionals would have a good path to become data scientists in the future who would provide more relevant information to their customers.
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