$50 bootcamps are not enough
As in any marketplace where demand exceeds supply, innovators enter the market with creative solutions. In the case of data science, the market has been flooded with all manner of bootcamps, certification courses and e-learning options. But some ask can you really skill up in data science with a $50 Udemy course?
Many would argue that being a good Data Scientist requires a significant amount of education and training on the job. Experienced Data Scientists and employers alike say that completing a few bootcamp projects is not enough to be able to do the many tasks expected of a Data Scientist and take on the role of driving potentially very expensive business decisions.
One telling letter from a self-trained aspiring Data Scientist to a Senior Data Scientist mentor highlights this issue:
I think my lack of academic pedigree is really what is killing me. It is not really skills (though they really need a lot of work and I am doing that). I am not even getting the interviews to show my skills so that’s why I say that.
I had an in person with [BigCo] and it was my first time ever doing in person coding or a whiteboard so that didn’t go well.
I had a take home that was a survival analysis from [big startup] and I had never studied that so that didn’t go well
I had a take home from [BigCo] that got me an in person and they passed because of my education (which is stupid since they had my resume already).
Despite an influx of junior level candidates, high pay data science skills are still in shortage
The highest-paid Data Scientists have highly specialized skills that set them apart from others in their field. These roles are in high demand but cannot be filled by undergraduates with no experience. For instance, Data Scientists in Finance fields like Insurance, who possess the range of both technical, soft and industry-specific skills to interact with the analytics teams as well as the C-suite, are still in great shortage.
In our article on master’s degrees, we cited Burtch Works’ study which asserted that employers are seeking Data Scientists with more specialized experience such as NLP and Image processing. Last we checked there were few undergraduate degrees specialized in these fields.
Finally to drive this point home, according to KPMG’s 2018 CIO Survey, big data and analytics was the number one place for skills shortage for the fourth year running. 46% of CIOs said they suffered from a big data and analytics skills shortage vs. 36% in 2015. This was seconded by a shortage in AI skills for 38% of CIOs. So, for half the companies out there it would appear that the shortage of true data science skills is real.
Companies still seek unicorns and mismatch skill sets
According to an IADSS study of 2018 LinkedIn job postings from 200 Fortune 2000 companies there is a clear gap between the knowledge/skills employers are seeking in Data Scientists and what true data science and analytics professionals put on their resumes. The real gap, they say, stems from how organizations define data science roles versus how individuals position themselves in the data science job market, and the variance in how analytics skills and knowledge can be measured.
As long as companies continue to focus on very specific skill sets such as Hadoop or R, and omit important skills such as data visualization, there will continue to be a perceived shortage for individual companies who don’t get their data science role description right and who continue to expect individuals to be adept at many very specific and sometimes unrelated skills.