How companies are creating data scientists in-house

AT&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, Ibotta and Qlik are just a few of the companies launching programs to develop internal data science talent to help fill their data analytics needs.

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Ten years ago, companies were buzzing about big data, but few organizations beyond giants such as Amazon, Netflix and Google actively recruited IT pros with deep data chops. That has changed in the past few years thanks to improved tools and training, as well as evidence that data can drive business value. Now data science skills are in high demand in nearly every industry.

A recent query of job search site Monster.com showed over a thousand full-time data science postings from employers spanning the gamut from government and healthcare, to consulting firms and software companies. Demand is so great that it is unlikely there are enough long-tenured data scientists or math Ph.D.s to go around.

Plus, identifying — and validating — data science talent is complicated by the emerging nature of the discipline, says Mark Jacobsohn, senior vice president and analytics lead at Booz Allen Hamilton.

“Unlike other professions, we have not seen a single widely recognized certification for data science. There is disagreement on what the term means. That makes recruiting and training more challenging,” Jacobsohn says.

Because of this, many organizations are turning inward to fill their data needs, establishing training programs to gear up current employees with the latest tools and techniques of data science.

Here is a look at how several companies are developing data science talent.

Identify where data science will add the most value to your organization

Before establishing a data science talent and development program, it is worth ascertaining where such an effort will pay the most dividends. Because data science blends analytics with business decisions, much can be gained by targeting employees with domain expertise, in addition to technical promise. For many organizations, the best use case for data science to add business value remains marketing and technology platforms with high activity levels.

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