Data scientist called America’s hottest job

Data scientist is currently considered as the hottest job in the USA and healthcare organizations, among many other sectors, are clamoring to hire them at cushy salaries.

Murray Webb had been a dull student who was more interested in sports rather than schoolwork while attending a small collge in Virginia. He then transferred to Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta in order to pursue master’s degree in applied statistics & landed 4 job offers upon graduation. Webb, 33, currently earns $160,000 per year targeting healthcare customers for hospitals. He says he is approached weekly by recruiters seeking data scientists.

Webb is part of a national employment trend that has data scientists at tech companies like Airbnb Inc.& Uber Technologies Inc. adding the words “I’m hiring” next to their LinkedIn.com profiles.

“The word on the street is there’s definitely a shortage of people who can do data science,” said Daniel Gutierrez, managing editor of the journal insideBIGDATA in Los Angeles. “A lot of people are transitioning from other fields like economics, psychology, mathematics, because they see the field is exploding and there’s money to be made.”

Indeed, it turns out that even in the wake of Facebook’s privacy scandal as well as other big-data blunders, finding professionals who can turn social-media clicks as well as user-posted photos into monetizable binary code is one of the biggest challenges facing U.S. industry. People with data science bona fides are one of the most wanted professionals in business, with many data scientists who have Ph.D.s getting around $300,000 or more from consulting firms.

‘Run on the Bank’

“I like to say we’re seeing the employment equivalent of a run on the bank, and it’s because everyone’s chasing the same talent at the same time,” said Jennifer Priestley, a professor of statistics & data science at Kennesaw State University.

Job postings for data scientists increased around 75% from January 2015 to January 2018 at worlds #1 job site- Indeed.com. Job searches for data scientist posts also increased around 65%.

Data scientists can also be involved in a growing specialty “sentiment analysis,” or finding a way to quantify how many tweets are praising your company or complaining about it.

According to staffing agency Robert Half Technology, a typical data scientist job pays around $119,000 at the midpoint of salaries as well as increases to $168,000 at the 95th percentile.

‘Compete Differently’

Andrew Gardner, who is a senior machine learning manager in Atlanta at IT security firm Symantec Corp., is frequently contacted by recruiters trying to hire him away even as he is trying to fill roles at Symantec. To compete for talent, he finds that he should offer more perks such as the ability to telecommute: “You have to compete a little differently.”

“It’s the sexiest job in the 21st century,” said a grinning Gao, 25, referencing the title of a 2012 Harvard Business Review article. “For everyone who has a background in computers, statistics and mathematics, it’s the hottest job.”

Today many firms are begging colleges to allow them help with class projects, expecting to get a foot in the door with future data scientists. Equifax Inc. was one of eleven firms doing data science & prescriptive analytics projects with Cornell University this year, with the firm offering up voluminous data sets scrubbed of personally identifiable information. The main goal was to determine how customers prioritized paying bills, such as whether someone is more prone to paying a car, mortgage, or mobile phone bill first, said Chris Yasko, head of a data science research unit at Equifax.

The unstated goal was connecting with future graduates.

“Honey, we have a backlog of companies that want to bring their data into our classroom,” said Priestley “I probably have a conversation with a company every week that wants to do that.”

‘Wild West’

Equifax is also shortening the hiring process in oder to keep anyone from slipping away. According to Peter Maynard, senior vice president of global analytics, a candidate interviewed on a Friday had an offer in hand by the next Monday. According to the company, it didn’t see a drop-off in candidate interest inspite of suffering a data breach that exposed around 146 million people’s personal data.

Data science experts describe a wild west atmosphere currently, with little agreement over how to define the field & scores of people rushing to add “scientist” to their resumes whether or not it is accurate. A common definition calls data science a meshing of math, statistics as well as computer science, with practitioners using the Python & R programming languages for creating algorithms for things like “recommendation engines” – those programs that anticipate what you may buy next based on recent searches.

“It used to be that if you were a mathematician you became a teacher, and then you became a geologist because your knowledge helped find oil, and then you went over to Wall Street,” said Jim Sterne, chairman of the Digital Analytics Association. “And now, the quote is, the best minds of our generation are being put to work in advertising.”

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