Tips for Employers On the Hunt for the Rare and Elusive Data Scientist

November 14, 2012 Paul M. Davis

We’ve previously talked about the high demand for data scientists, and the eclectic backgrounds of practitioners in the field. The discipline is so relatively new that enterprises and organizations that are aware of their Big Data needs may still be unclear about what they’re looking for in new hires. In a recent blog post, the analytics-centric jobs listing site Bright offers some insight for employers aiming to build or expand their data science team.

Acknowledging the varied backgrounds held many of the finest practitioners in the field, authors David Hardtke, Ph.D and Josh Barger, PHR, Director of People Operations, refer to these elusive hires as “camouflaged ‘purple squirrel’ scientists,” noting that the company’s internal team includes members who previously performed neuroscience, geophysics, astrophysics, and more. Hardtke and Barger offer a succinct yet accurate definition of what a data scientist actually is, and offer a number of useful, and perhaps surprising, tips for employers on the hunt, including the recommendation to skip LinkedIn and instead look for “a disgruntled postdoc toiling away on brilliant scientific research, but failing to land a professorship.” Read more at the Bright blog.

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