Famed statistician W. Edwards Deming is reputed to have said, ‘In God we trust; all others bring data.’ Now this used to be a pretty tricky exercise because in the old days before somebody thought up the term ‘Big Data’, where the heck where you going to look in amongst all your disparate sources for that vital nugget of information? Insights were based on opinion rather than cold hard fact and nobody asked the analysts because they weren’t supposed to talk to anybody, if they even could!
And then technology stepped in, and with a Steve Jobs-like wave of the makeover wand, suddenly people wanted to know who these analysts were, what they could actually do, and why hadn’t anyone asked them to do it before. ‘Big Data’ was always there, but it needed a tectonic shift in tech to bring it to life. And so another 21st Century career option was born.
Big Data, Data Science, Data Analytics, Data Visualisation – this is where the jobs are! If you can talk numbers to those who can’t, and in a way that makes it easy for them to improve commercial fortunes (or for whatever else you may need this for) when it’s laid before them, and if you have a knack for using complicated tools/platforms but have never wanted to work in the IT department, there’s a whole world of opportunity laid out before you. You’re a chic geek; you can do the analytical stuff no one else can and make it comprehensible to other teams, stakeholders, clients, governments and even reality TV celebrities. Who more accurately predicted the results of the UK’s General Election in 2015? It was the analysts working off cold hard voter data with a bit of clever software in tow beating the pollsters hands down!
‘What is a Data Scientist?’ is probably a whole blog topic in itself (and doubtless will be at some point), but of all the careers on this new evolutionary chart, this is the one that everybody wants to have access too. You name an industry or sector, they are either crying out for or have a Data Scientist who supposedly can apply data in ways you never thought were possible before. But it doesn’t stop there. On the same chart are the analytics professionals able forecast from areas such as online data the way fortune tellers supposedly use tealeaves, or the business and commercial analysts who can take a top down look at financial, sales & marketing, and related data and guide stakeholders towards implementing the right strategy to progress. It is the time for the aspiring data or CRM analyst to shine as their advanced Excel skills are called to the fore – because everybody needs to know the numbers!
In other words, if you can do all this stuff, seriously don’t worry about Brexit affecting your employment opportunities. Data is in demand, will continue to be in demand, and will need people who can both make sense of it using the vast array of software now available to play with it on and then shout their findings from the rooftops!
Or to paraphrase that line from the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your chic geeks, your statisticians, your huddled data professionals yearning to speak freely…”