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HR’s Hot New Job – Data Scientist Voted Sexiest Job of 21st Century

Nolan Gray Blog

If all the talk about big data is any indication, this is something that’s here to stay. Data analytics are the talk of the human resources community. We’re promised we can make better workforce decisions with the help of data analytics and even venture into predictive analysis of our workforce. It’s an exciting time to be a human resources professional!

When it comes to data analytics, the truly revealing and predictive analysis are also the most sophisticated and not something we can do at our desk with a calculator. What we’ll need is a robust HR information system and maybe even a “data scientist.” And if your company is lucky enough to nab a data scientist, you’ll be happy to know you’re working side by side with a holder of the sexiest new job of the 21st century.

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This new breed of number cruncher and pattern recognizer has only been officially a job title since 2008 when LinkedIn and Facebook began using data to figure out relationships and make useful predictions for their database driven corporations. Today, thousands of data scientists number in the thousands and are mining and transforming data into meaningful metrics and decision making tools at start-ups, mega corporations and places in between.

The rise of this career coincides with the prevalence of big data. For too long, although businesses have been accumulating data, we’ve been warehousing it rather than utilizing it. But now as technology has made it possible for petabytes of data to be stored and easily accessed rather than stuck in the digital equivalent of file boxes, businesses have finally realized they’re sitting on information that could transform their businesses.

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The uses a free thinking data scientists can put your data to are boundless. From a human resources perspective, predictive analytics that would inform our recruiting, training, engagement, retention and termination efforts have the potential to make the workplace more productive, keep employees more satisfied, busy and tenured and make our jobs easier. Hiring now can seem so esoteric and emotional. Who will fit? What personality will mesh? Does the prospect give a good vibe? Do they seem a temperament match for the team they’ll work with? And the possibilities are equally as exciting in other departments. What if your data scientist could figure out what attributes make for a sales superstar so you can mold a better sales force?

It can be head spinning to try and balance all of this alongside salary constraints and other requirements the candidate must meet to be a hire. Imagine if a prospect could be evaluated based on their data – not just numbers, but information such as the type of degree they have, where they attended college, places they previously worked, job titles previously held and other resume-fed information. If this could be fed into a heuristic that would evaluate them against known success factors, you could make a quantitative hiring decision. That’s a long way off – unless you’re Google and are already implementing these progressive initiatives.

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So even if big data doesn’t feel sexy right now – the amazing things data scientists can do with it makes them a very sexy addition to your staff. Data scientists are part hacker, part analyst and part free thinker, with the ability to divine what’s meaningful and communicate it to decision makers. These are some of the most creative thinkers in any industry. Sound hard to pin down? Think of the data scientists as Neo in The Matrix – the one who can see the binary code all around and make sense of what looks like random streams of numbers to the rest of us.

If your company is lucky enough to employ a data scientists or even better – a team of these rare geniuses – be sure your HR department is tapping them to get meaningful data analytics to help you enhance your workforce and make better decisions! Now that’s sexy!