The art and science of powering business predictions with data

Luke Frost our consultant managing the role
Author: Luke Frost
Posting date: 6/5/2014 11:17 AM

In the UK, London leads in forging new schemes to draw and train talent both domestically and abroad. From stepped up degrees, early childhood curriculum schemes, migration talent sourcing, and in-house training, businesses are finding creative ways to shrink the data science skills gap. One such suggestion from techUK's Big Data Hero, Alison Lowndes of Nvidia Ltd is to 'teach code as prolifically as reading to open the doors of the digital age for everyone."

IBM weighs in on the talent gap to define not only the term "data scientist", but the scope of all data science professionals. Though it may seem as though this career operates in a vacuum, it's imperative to understand that along with the analytical components - maths, statistics, logic, and programming, there is a cultural element as well. Data science is the process of applying scientific method to solve business problems.

It requires teamwork and communication skills to not only gather the data, but to be able to present it so that business executives can take that information and implement solutions.

Making Better Business Decisions with Predictive Analytics

Wish you could see into the future to grow your business? No crystal ball required. Predictive analytics can optimize your decision-making. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are core skillsets for a data scientist, but the human element helps divine the good data from the bad.

Much like Michaelangelo's David, systematic data gathering is the raw cube of stone, which must then be chiseled into form; analyzed and presented. An art and a science, data science helps businesses make better business decisions by estimating future outcomes via predictive analytics. These predictions are often based on past performance, customer or client influence, and sometimes gut assumptions based on gathered data. 

As growth trends in data teams expand to include non-technical staff, the siloed idea of simply pushing data from query to conclusion is no longer enough. The data team should have a grasp of how the business works overall to impact strategies and revenue. Businesses know how important data is to their future growth. Effective data teams must interact with managers who can help to frame the company's larger strategy to drive insight and analysis with the right questions.

Hard and Soft Skills

Soft skills are not confined to simply being able to communicate findings. Other elements include instinct or gut reactions that the numbers may say one thing, but based on knowledge of the business, may not be the right answer. Data professionals with a healthy skepticism will know when to take a step back, revisit the information, and what they need to do or how best to present suggestions based on their findings. Collected data is not unbiased. Best practices when studying analysis are to have a list of questions ready such as the data source, worst and best case scenarios, and what must be true for a correct recommendation.

Data scientists and data teams are expected to not only have an aptitude with number crunching, but also the ability to communicate their findings. To combat this and to grow their data teams, some businesses have begun in-house training programs. Computer and IT professionals who show an aptitude for data science may be offered positions on teams to learn from degreed professionals as well as outside learning opportunities.

According to a recent techUK whitepaper, migration sourcing for talent abroad and early education curriculum schemes, as well as domestic apprenticeship and training programs, are just a few of the ways businesses are combatting their struggle to fill key roles.

Hindsight doesn't have to be 20/20. As the year 2020 approaches, advancements in big data, data analytics, machine and AI learning are powering business predictions as employers seek to fill key roles. In a look to the future, demand for data science professionals with both hard and soft skills will be at the forefront of the data revolution.

We have opportunities for Data Scientists across the Bitcoin, Retail, Fintech and Start-up spaces. Explore new ideas and experiment with big data to produce real-time solutions. Get in on the ground floor and take your career to the next level. For additional opportunities check out our current vacancies. 

Contact our UK Team at +44 208 408 6070 or email to learn more.

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With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

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2020: The Year of the Data Engineer

Data Engineers are the architects of Data. They lay the foundation businesses use to collect, gather, store, and make Data usable. Each iteration of the Data as it moves along the pipeline is cleaned and analysed to be used by Data professionals for their reports and Machine Learning models. A ROLE IN HIGH DEMAND Even as businesses reopen, reassess, and for some, remain remote, the demand for Data Engineers is high. Computer applications, Data modelling, prediction modelling, Machine Learning, and more need Data professionals to lay the groundwork to help businesses benefit in today’s Data-driven culture. The word gets thrown around a bit, but when the majority of business has moved online, Data-driven is the name of the game. Having a Data plan, a Data team, and all aligned with your business strategy is imperative to the way business is done today. This type of innovation can offer insight for better business decisions, enhance customer engagement, and improve customer retention without missing a beat.  Without Data Engineers, Data Scientists can’t do their jobs. Understanding the amount of Data, the speed at which is delivered, and its variety need Engineers to create reliable and efficient systems. Like many Data professional jobs, even still in 2020, Data Engineers are in high demand. Yet a skills shortage remains. This has created an emerging field of professionals from other backgrounds who are looking to take on the role of Data Engineer and fill the gap. Whether by necessity or design, these individuals build and manage pipelines, automate projects, and see their projects through to the end result. CAREER OPPORTUNITIES OUTSIDE THE NORM As this growing trend emerges, it has created career opportunities for those with experience outside the normal channels of Data Engineering study. While it might involve individuals from backgrounds such as software Engineering, Databases, or something similarly IT-related, some businesses are upskilling their employees with talent. Rapid growth, reskilling, upskilling, and ever-constant changes still leave businesses with a shortage of Data Engineers to meet the demand. It’s critical to fill the gap for success. According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report, Data Engineering is listed in the top 10 of jobs experiencing growth. THREE STEPS TOWARDS BECOMING A DATA ENGINEER This is a vital role in today’s organisations. So, if you’re in the tech industry and want to take a deeper dive into Data as a Data Engineer, what steps can you take? This is a time like no other. There’s time to assess your goals, take online classes, and get hands on with projects. Though having a base of computer science, mathematics, or business-related degree is always a good start. Be well-versed in such popular programming languages such as SQL, Python, R, Hadoop, Spark, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).Prepare for an entry-level role once you have your bachelor’s degree.Consider additional education to stay ahead of the curve. This can include not only professional certifications, but higher education degrees as well. The more experience, hands-on as well as academic, you have the more in demand you’ll be as a Data Engineer. Data scientists might be the rockstars of Data, but Data Engineers set the stage. As business processes have shifted online, looking for your next job has become more daunting than ever before. If you’re looking for your next opportunity in Data, take a look at our current jobs or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

How To Hire With Video Interviews

Virtual interviewing may have erupted over the last few months but the trends are showing that this is something that is likely to last well beyond the remote reality that many people are facing. Virtual interviewing is not as easy as it seems, in fact we’ve found our clients asking us over and over again for advice on how to run an effective video interview process. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of our top tips for clients and hiring managers for a successful video interview:  1. DON’T FORGET THE PRE-INTERVIEW PREP Confirm: Just like you would confirm a face to face interview with an email with the right address, instruction of how to get there and what to expect – the same applies for virtual interviews. Ensure to email candidates in advance with a link, information about who they are meeting and, most importantly, what you expect from a dress code. One of candidates biggest areas of concern is usually about what to wear for a virtual interview, so setting this out clearly in an email is a great way to start the process off on the right foot.Do not forget to provide instructions for using the video conferencing platform. Whether it is zoom, skype, google hangouts or another – keep in mind the candidate may not be familiar with your platform of choice.  Test:  Make sure to log onto to the interview early to ensure your camera, microphone and set up works. Be sure to ensure that your image is clear and that the volume is adequate. It is likely that the candidate will do the same and will ensure that the first few minutes of the interview aren’t focused on the technical side of things and ‘can you hear/see me?’.  2. PROVIDE A CLEAR STRUCTURE Opening: A usual face to face interview provides opportunity for warming a candidate up, however this time there is no shaking of hands and asking about commute.Just because you are video interviewing does not mean therefore that icebreakers shouldn’t exist, consider still incorporating an icebreaker to put the candidate at ease.  Ease concerns: One of the biggest concerns that candidates have when video interviewing is that there is a lot more out of their control in comparison to sitting in a meeting room opposite your interviewer. To ease any worries that the candidate might have, and to create a great candidate experience, let them know that background noise is okay and not to panic if the connection drops out. It’s likely that the candidate will have done everything they can to stop both of these from occurring, but ultimately, they could happen and it’s important the candidate knows that this will not negatively affect their outcome.  Set the agenda: Once you are through the icebreaker and have eased concerns, make sure to set an agenda for the interview. Let the candidate know what to expect. For example, introduction, CV run through, competency questions, Q&A and end. End the interview the right way, finish up by telling the candidates about the next steps and the timescales that you expect for that.  3. PREPARE THE QUESTIONS IN ADVANCE Due to the nature of video interviews, you will find the experience quite different to what you were used to. Usually you would have the CV and question sheet in front of you on the table, or on a laptop and the candidate separate to that. This time, you will potentially have all of that information on one screen. Preparing for how to optimise your screen and information therefore is important so that you can focus more on the candidate.  Read up on the candidate: Complete your CV read through and background prior to the interview to ensure that you do not need to rely wholly on the CV to make sense of the candidate’s answers. Don’t try and wing it: Prepare your questions in advance, have the questions in front of you and use them to help you to keep the interview on track and ensure all your questions get answered.  4. BE AWARE THAT EYE CONTACT IS DIFFERENT One of the biggest issues that clients and candidates alike feedback to us is that the concept of eye contact when video interviewing has as slightly different meaning. Having real eye contact in a virtual interview is challenging, because it means that you are going to be looking at the camera and not at the candidate, which takes some adjusting to.  Top Tips: Train yourself to look at the camera when you are talking, as this will give the candidate more of that personal feeling.Avoid the temptation to gape at your image on the screen, or the candidate when  you are speaking. If possible, turn off your picture so that the only image that shows on the screen is that of the candidate – this avoids the very familiar desire to look at oneself.  5. AVOID DIGITAL DISTRACTIONS There’s only so much you can do to stop your child running into the room, or your partner forgetting you’re on an interview and heading to the fridge but you can control the digital interruptions. It is important that you give the candidate your full attention. If your entire process is virtual, these are the sole ways that the candidate has to judge whether this is the right opportunity for them – so remember that this is a key part of their experience. Turn off notifications: Interviewing on a computer means that you are more likely to be distracted by your emails, IM messages, we’d advise turning off your notifications for both emails and IMs and closing all unnecessary tabs. Turn your phone onto airplane mode or DND. Harnham are currently supporting our clients within the Data & Analytics space on running completely remote interview processes for candidates. If you're looking to hire we can help you optimise your process in order to get the best talent then get in touch with one of our expert consultants. 



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Leader mondial du media publishing sur Internet (vous reconnaitrez certainement leur contenu), la société grandit son pôle Data.

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