Three Surprising Skillsets for Data Professionals

Sam Maughan our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 8/27/2020 9:01 AM
Data Scientists today must be more than the sum of their parts. Businesses who wish to move forward are looking for more industry-specific focus when searching for the right candidate.  

Finding the right professional who not only writes code but can also speak to the Data once it’s analysed to business executives is becoming more important than ever. The title and skills required have expanded and the once ‘unicorn’ aspect of having both the technical and soft skills is no longer rare. It’s essential. 

Data Professionals In Demand 


As everyone moved online, many businesses sat up and took greater notice. Without a Data team today, it’s nearly impossible to conduct business as usual. Add in Machine Learning development and application, Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning for AI, and Neural Network Programming to name a few, businesses need to have professionals in place who can conceive, develop, and implement these applications.  

So, now that businesses can see the importance of having everything in one place, what are they looking for in a candidate?  

Data Engineers and Data Architects are the most sought after. After all, these enterprises need to have professionals on board who can lay the foundation on which to build the Data first. While knowledge of technologies such as Python or Kubernetes is essential, talent with a twist of hybrid experience in Software Engineering is a boon for career advancement. 

Niche skill sets within the applications of Machine Learning such as Reinforcement and Deep Learning are highly desired. Data professionals with an industry-specific focus are quickly becoming the go-to resource for many businesses. They need people who understand not only their business but also how properly processed Data can affect it. 

Three Skillsets for a Post Pandemic World 


While Data Literacy and Tech Savvy are probably the first skillsets which might come to mind, here are a few more which may not seem quite as obvious. 

Critical Thinking and Leadership – With nearly everyone online, it will be imperative for professionals who can lead in a linear fashion. As the gig economy expands and teams become more fluid, different people will have the opportunity to lead at different times. The hierarchal structure is devolving to shared leadership opportunities in which everyone is allowed to shine. Collaboration will be key among remote teams around the world. 

To that end, critical thinking and the ability to separate fact from fiction will be highly regarded. Objectivity will help businesses ensure the right business decisions are being made from an informed team. 

Emotional Intelligence – EQ has risen into the list of soft skill requirements highly desired. Those self-aware individuals who cannot only express and control their emotions but be aware of others’ emotions may also find themselves in leadership positions. Their compassion and camaraderie within their teams can produce projects more effectively and efficiently. And with the majority of talent leaving jobs due to poor management, emotional intelligence may focus Hiring Managers on what to look for in leadership candidates outside their technical skills and seniority levels.

Creativity & Innovation – It may seem as though there isn’t much place for Creativity and Innovation among AI, robotics, automation, Big Data, Data Science, and Data Technology. Yet, now, it’s more important than ever and it’s those same verticals which allow greater creativity.

Consider the shift of car manufacturers to ventilator manufacturers or the apps which allow Telemedicine to exist in our world of social distancing. These are just a couple of examples of human ingenuity. People will always need dreamers, inventors, and creators to develop products and services to make life easier.

In our recently released 2020 Salary Guide we discuss each specialism, what’s working and what isn’t. And how businesses can hire and retain top talent to keep their projects on track and their businesses running smoothly.

If you’re interested in Data and Technology, Risk or Digital Analytics, Life Sciences Analytics, Marketing & Insight, Data Science, or Computer Vision, take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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Three Years Of GDPR: The Evolution Of Data Protection

Since its inception in 1991, the World Wide Web – or the internet – has grown immeasurably, with its capabilities exceeding the expectations of anyone who witnessed its implementation only 30 years ago. Now, it’s hard to think of a world without it; where would we be without unlimited knowledge at the touch of a button, the ability to maintain friendships with people halfway across the world or cat videos? Of course, the internet isn’t always a positive place. As the popularity of the online world grew, there also became an increased risk, particularly to our identities and our money.  In 1998, to combat the mismanagement of data both online and offline, Parliament passed the Data Protection Act. Compiled of eight different principles, from fair and lawful processing to disallowing data transfers from outside of the EU, this law aimed to help reduce the risk of data mismanagement and data breaches, while holding the power to fine and prosecute those who didn’t comply.  In January 2012, the European Commission wanted to take these laws one step further. As we began to enter a digital-first age, where the online world began to blend seamlessly with our daily lives, questions around whether the Data Protection Act of 1998 was robust enough to protect EU citizens.  On May 25th, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced. Not only did this new law enforce tougher rules around data protection, including the protection of genetic data and biometrics, but it made business data collection far more transparent. For the first time, internet users were able to see exactly how and why their data was being used, and they were given the autonomy to opt-out of giving away sensitive data. Additionally, consumers now have the right to request ‘to be forgotten’, with all stored data being wiped from a business’ database with the click of a button.  As we edge closer to the three-year anniversary of the implementation of GDPR, we look at how the new laws have impacted both consumers and businesses, for better and for worse.  Consumer trust Both sides of the coin tell a very different story when it comes to consumer trust and GDPR. The general consensus amongst businesses across the EU is that GDPR has greatly improved consumer trust, with 73 per cent reporting that the regulations have notably improved data security. Unfortunately, this sentiment isn’t shared by consumers.  84 per cent feel that GDPR hasn’t been taken seriously by businesses, and the level of security they feel when giving data to certain sectors varies hugely. While financial services, such as banks, have gained nearly half of consumers’ trust, hospitality, for example, are lagging behind with not even a quarter of consumers happy with the level of security.  But, looking at data breaches that have occurred since the implementation of GDPR, this level of dissatisfaction and worry from consumers comes as no surprise. From 280 million Microsoft users’ data being left unprotected to over a million of Mashable’s staff and consumer data being leaked by hackers, GDPR hasn’t necessarily solved the problems it was set out to manage, and consumers are concerned.  Consumer control Despite the worry of continued breaches and hacks, consumers do feel however that GDPR has improved the control they have over their own data. From being able to opt-in instead of having to opt-out, to having greater choice over the information given away through cookies, consumers feel much happier to be able to walk away from the brands they don’t trust and/or have no interest in.  Education around Data privacy  GDPR, since its inception, has been something that has eluded many. Filled with jargon and lacking much in the way of accessible educational assets, consumers – while aware of their data concerns – are still unsure of how to protect themselves against hacks or breaches. For example, only 14 per cent of internet users encrypt private conversations and only a third change their passwords regularly.  While GDPR has undoubtedly been a positive step forward for businesses and consumers alike, it is clear there is room for great improvement. It is expected that as the world continues to evolve into a digital-first society, especially post-COVID as many of us move online for good in our working lives, and the need for much-improved data security becomes paramount, GDPR laws and business compliance will need to continue to evolve and improve and fast.  If you're looking for your next opportunity, or to build out your Data & Analytics team, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

365 Days of The Dialogue

It’s a year to the day, that we launched The Dialogue, Harnham’s LinkedIn LIVE series focussing on the challenges the data & analytics industry faces, hiring, career growth and a myriad of other technical discussions. Episode One is where it all began. Featuring the Data Society’s Nisha Iyer and Nupur Neti. Harnham’s Tim Jonas was in the host chair as they discussed their collaboration with OurStreets, on a real-time grocery-sourcing app, and how you can continue to develop and improve your data knowledge while in lockdown. Since then we’ve gone on to run a further 31 events, in multiple languages, with over 150,000+ viewers joining across the globe; and more than 2,000 of you asked a question to our panellists! There have been some amazing guests joining us in the virtual studio – you can catch them all here – but I wanted to pick out a couple of personal favourites from the past 12 months: Data, Rest & Relaxation  Like many people across the globe, my lockdown led to more visceral dreams. We’d been talking about it in Harnham Team conversations, with friends and reading various articles into why. So, we wanted to get to the bottom of it. In this LIVE, with McElla Pappas and Rockwell Shah, CEO of the million-downloaded Sleep App PZIZZ, we took your questions about the science and Data behind our sleeping patterns during the lockdown.  Hiring and Being Hired in Data Science If you don’t follow Eric Webber on Linkedin I suggest you do so now, for brilliant, daily insight into the minds of hiring managers. This LIVE was responsible for around 100 questions from the audience and held together by our very own LinkedIn LIVE Pro, Jenni Kavanagh. The title says it all. The ‘Thank You’ messages we received off the back of the advice we gave out, were truly heart-warming. Positive impact at its best! A Career in Data This career Q&A with Karla Guerra and Amy Gershkoff Bolles, PhD, GM & CDO was utterly fascinating. Amy has played a key role at a number of the world's biggest companies including eBay, Ancestry, WPP and at the time of filming the LIVE at Bit.ly. On top of that, she was also Head of Media Planning & Analytics at Obama for America and taught at UC Berkeley for three years! This made her uniquely positioned to discuss what a modern career in Data looks like, from the grassroots to senior leadership! Inspiring stuff! FinTech Firsts & A New Generation When I heard we’d managed to get Mary Kemi Agbesanwa to feature on The Dialogue, I was very excited. And, I was not disappointed. There is no wonder that she was selected for Innovate Finance's Women in Fintech Powerlist 2020-21, McKinsey Next Generation Women Leader 2020 and No.1 on EMpower and Yahoo Finance’s Future Leader List 2020! Alongside host Conor Larkin (and his daffodils), she gave incredible insight into the industry that is set to change rapidly over the next few years, and what this means for a new generation of Millennial and Gen Z professionals entering the workplace. Staying Data Secure While Working Flexibly Strawberries and Cream. Collymore and Roy (niche reference for the late 90's Nottingham Forest fans out there!). Batman and Robin. Great duos. But, not a patch on Ryan Collins, Head of DevSecOps at Upvest and Peter Schroeter, when it came to talking about Data Security. So admired were their backgrounds, they came back together the following month by popular demand. Rumours of a Podcast are still just rumours at this point sadly… Special Mention… The US Data & Analytics Salary Guide Launch We’ve been really lucky with almost zero technical hitches but how do you launch the biggest Data & Analytics Salary Guide in the world? Live of course! What happens when you do things live? Things go wrong...Shout out to Sam Jones and McElla Pappas for being total pro’s when the power went out in Stephanie Brooks, Bay Area neighbourhood, literally as we pushed the button to go LIVE! Lastly, I just want to take a moment to say a few thank yous: First up, to all our viewers and those that have engaged with these LIVE sessions. We’ve been so grateful for your questions, comments and feedback. You make these sessions what they are and as long as you keep watching, we'll keep doing them!Next, to all our guests from the past 12 months, who gave up their time for free, to share their knowledge of the Data & Analytics industry with our audience. This was often early mornings or late nights to accommodate different time zones, we are indebted to you for the success of The Dialogue.And, who can forget the multiple members of the Harnham Team? They worked tirelessly to get panellists, hosted the sessions and kept their cool as we pushed them LIVE to a Global Audience. Hat Tip to Hannah and Tony at LinkedIn for hooking us up, as one of the first recruiters in EMEA to get access to the LIVE platform.A final special mention must go to the man behind the scenes, that makes these events possible, Ben Jones. Never seen on camera (yet!) but his hard work in the production booth is the glue that keeps it all together and makes them run so well! If you’d like to take part in a LIVE or have a story/angle that you think we should cover – feel free to get in touch and connect directly here. Here’s to another 12 months and I promise you there is something special in the pipeline for later in 2021!

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