Why we need more “data scientists”

Businesses already have a vast amount of information about their customers – some use it well, some less so. The vast growth in computer processing power has lead to the ability

to crunch data on customers like never before. Big retailers and many loyalty schemes are already at the forefront – employing “pattern-based” data searches to use all the data dimensions to target customers with personal offers. Most businesses will have to get good at this – really good in fact. But they will be competing for talent in what is currently a very small pool. If you have school age children now, this will be a lucrative future career, so start working on their IT and Maths skills but also their ability to make sense of it all – this is as much an art as a science.

“Data is the new oil,” according to Andreas Weigend, Head of the Social Data Lab at Stanford and the former Chief Scientist at Amazon. “Unfortunately, the technology has evolved faster than the workforce skills to make sense of it, and organizations across sectors must adapt to this new reality or perish.”

See this great infographic at Mashable showing the skills shortage in this new job of “Data Scientist”.

As individuals, we are also suffering from ‘information overload’ in our everyday lives. See this short (8 minutes) and entertaining TED talk from J P Rangaswamiwho likens information to food and argues “information, if viewed from the point of view of food, is never a production issue. … It’s a consumption issue, and we have to start thinking about how we create diets [and] exercise.”

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