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Making It As A Woman In Data Science: An Interview with Ashley Holmes

Meet Ashley Holmes. Senior Data Scientist for a firm working to improve healthcare. Or rather, the healthcare system.                   It’s been an unusual year by all accounts. Most jobs have moved online for the foreseeable future, yet jobless rates climb. Everyone is learning to pivot and accelerating their focus and skillsets. It’s also a time to evaluate where you are in your career and where you want to go. So, from time to time, we find it’s best to hear some stories directly from those in the field.  Ashley's story begins with a desire to become a math teacher which in later years included Computer Science classes. A girl with a talent for math taking computer classes? This is her story: What drew you to Data Science from your original education focus? I’d wanted to be a middle or high school math teacher since I was 12 years old. In college, I discovered part of the math major required students to take one computer science course. I took the computer course my first semester of college, and really liked it. Programming was fun! So, to my Math major, I added a Computer Science minor in which I was the only woman. I recall a course in Operations Research in which we’d used mathematics to answer problems in healthcare by using linear algebra to optimize a design for a staffing schedule. This staffing schedule would used by surgeons for operating rooms. Who knew there was a field where you could solve healthcare problems with math and Data? I didn’t, but now that I knew, I dug in. Enter Binghamton University’s Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Department. Though at the time, Master’s Degrees in Data Science didn’t exist yet. But this program at Binghamton had a concentration for healthcare systems. This concentration had it all – courses for Data Science skills like Statistics, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence.  After some of my own horrifying interactions with the healthcare system in the US, and realizing I could use my skills in Math and Computer Science to improve it, then that’s what I wanted to do.  With a graduate research assistantship from The Watson Institute for Systems Excellence (WISE) at Binghamton University, I found myself in the process engineering department at a large care management organization in New York City. It was there I got some real-world experience using clinical Data collected by the hospital to improve processes and solve problems the company had been facing. I was hooked and so my pivot from Math Teacher to Data Scientist.  It's been 10 years since you started on this path, it seems, what changes have you seen in women in the field and/or STEM focus of young women still in school?  While R and Python are taught a lot more in required courses, there was no such thing as a Data Science Masters Degree when I was in school. Most of the Data Scientist’s I know have Mathematics, Computer Science, or Engineering degrees. Though we did some light coding in my grad school courses, most of my real programming skills have come from my graduate research assistantship and various jobs I’ve had. Talk about on the job training! When it comes to women in the field, that has grown significantly thanks to hackathons, events, and groups tailored to encourage women to enter the field.  What Do You Think Now?  In 2018, I heard about a non-profit hackathon in Boston called TechTogether whose mission was to end the gender gap in technology, which I thought was amazing. I’m also now part of a few professional groups for women in STEM that meetup in person and have conferences (pre-COVID) or at least have Slack channels.  These advances for women in technology have been great, but there is still a lot of work to be done. I actually attended a talk yesterday by Melinda Gates (who was herself a computer science major) about how the pandemic is affecting women and girls, who mentioned that in the late 80’s when she was in school, women made up about 35% of computer science majors, whereas now in 2020 it’s down to 20%.  Wait, it's Declined? Why is it Do You Think? I was curious about this too. So, I did some digging to try and find data on this, and came across this NPR article which suggests that the share of women in computer science started falling at roughly the same moment when personal computers started showing up in US homes in significant numbers. It was at this time, computers in homes were mostly for gaming, and "computers are for boys" became a popular narrative. A 1990 study shows that families became more likely to buy computers for boys than for girls, even when their girls were really interested in computers. As those kids got to college, computer science professors were increasingly men, and increasingly assumed that their students had grown up playing with computers at home. Surprisingly, this extended even to the 2010s, because I only had one female professor in my computer science department; the rest were male. Not that they were bad professors by any means, but it seemed to me even then that it was much more difficult for women to break into the profession and actually succeed. Needless to say, I was shocked (and thrilled!) when I first read the book Hidden Figures, and found out about NASA's women computers who were essential to putting human beings on the moon.  I think more stories like this have come out since I was in school...I also remember hearing that Edie Windsor, who was already a hero of mine for her LGBTQ rights activism, was a technology manager at IBM. As these stories have continued to come out, I think more women have been able to see themselves as able to do these kinds of jobs, and that is part of the reason we are on the rebound. Though 2020 has been an unusual year by all accounts, it is also the beginning of a decade. What do you see for the future of women in data science and what has your experience been? With the prominence of social media now, I think it’s becoming much easier to find women in your field to connect with and ask for advice and support, and I think this is true for both young girls potentially interested in data career paths and professionals already in the industry.   What steps would you recommend to young professionals entering the data professional path or those looking to change careers? Any job or networking trade secrets you wish you'd known before finding your current position?  Being part of a community and making connections with other women in the field has been very helpful both personally and professionally. Join a club: Girls Who CodeGirlstartSociety of Women EngineersCheck out conferences like Grace Hopper and Women Impact Tech. Just knowing that there are women out there with jobs that you’ve never heard of can be really beneficial to believing that you can do it yourself. Look at people with the job titles you’re interested in, and see what they’ve done in the past as far as jobs, education, etc. Network and establish relationships with other women in your field. This is a very valuable tool both for getting a job and for general professional support. Take every opportunity to network that you can; I’ve gotten most of my jobs through networking and knowing people.  As a Senior Data Scientist and a woman what challenges do women still face in the industry and what's something surprising you've encountered that helped you grow either personally or professionally? I think women still face a lot of challenges in the industry. Firstly, there are just so few of us. In most of my jobs (except for my current one), Data Science teams are largely made up of men.  Document your accomplishments throughout your job and bring it with you when it’s time to talk promotions and raises. It is absolutely crucial to be able to speak up for yourself and be your own biggest cheerleader. I used to think that the way to advance through a career was just doing excellent work and waiting for someone to notice you and give you a raise or a promotion. I’ve found that isn’t true at all, and if you aren’t talking about your own accomplishments, who else is going to? In that same vein, finding mentors, coaches, and sponsors is critical. Finding someone who has seen your work and can speak about it and you to other people is incredibly important.  Your Best Advice? My best advice is to apply for the job, even if you don’t think you’re 100% qualified. If you’re looking for a role in Data Science, Harnham may have a job for you. Check out our current opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to learn more.   For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.   For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

The Science Behind the Sales: Statistical Modelling and Consumer Insights

Black Friday, once reserved for the Friday after Thanksgiving, has a new lease on life. It’s not just one day a year. Now, it can be any day of the year. Why? Customers the world over appreciate the deals and discounts as they get ready for the holidays, and the insights gleaned from previous years help businesses determine what will sell best in the current year.  Add in the rise of mobile marketing in which you can buy anything, anywhere, anytime, and more people working from home than ever before, and you have the recipe for Black Friday every day. Especially once the leaves begin to Fall and the holiday season comes knocking at our doors. Behind Advanced Analytics & Insights within the Data profession, there are a host of professions which together help to create the products and launch them. Who could imagine the science behind the sales? Five Important Roles Behind Advanced Analytics & Insights There’s a reason that Data professionals are no longer siloed and must work across and within departments. Data influences every decision within business today. So, having the right people on your team in the right roles can ensure your business thrives. Marketing Analyst Using a spoke-and-wheel analogy, the Marketing Analyst is the spoke. These are the professionals central to taking the information from their Campaign Analysts, Pricing Analysts, and Statistical Modelling experts to determine what will sell best and what price. In essence, their research and Data helps companies figure out ‘what the market will bear.’ Campaign Analyst Focused campaigns to a target market will find a Campaign Analyst understands consumer behaviors. Once the customer is understood – what they buy, when they buy, why and how they buy – can help analysts measure, review, and justify each campaign to justify ROI.Consumer Insights While the Campaign Analyst is focused on targeted campaigns to specific customers, the Consumer Insights Analyst helps businesses tailor their marketing strategies to meet the needs of those customers. All of them. Whether they’re part of a targeted marketing campaign or if they’re prospective clients ‘window shopping’ when they download a ‘free product or click on an email’. Understanding these consumers helps to convert from passing interest to the purchase of a product or service. Statistical Modelling Analyst Do you love puzzles? A jumble of pieces which need to be put together so everyone can see the full picture?  Statistical Modelling are the jigsaw puzzle solvers of the Marketing department. These professionals pull together data from multiple sources and analyze the information to help form a clear picture of their ideal consumer. Toss in a bit of psychology – why customers do what they do and predict what they might do next – and your executives will understand the best way to distribute funds to grow their business. Pricing Analyst It seems simple enough. Determine how much it cost to produce a product or service and mark it up to make a profit, right? Not exactly. These days, calculating not only what it cost to make a product, any overhead to consider, and how much you need to mark it to make a profit is a complex prospect. Factor in what your competition is doing…on a global scale. Consider the fickle buying power of consumers – some days money flows and some days it’s reigned in tight. How do you determine the best price at the right time to ensure maximum profit while keeping pulse on spending patterns? Pricing Analysts take complex data, study customer spending habits, and conduct analyses on what the math says and what the impact might be. So, back to Black Friday sales. Taking what we know of the roles which help businesses set the tone for their marketing strategies, Black Friday every day makes sense. We’re home more. The lines between work and family life are blurred, but computers and phones are at our fingertips, and everyone delivers what we need right to our door. Why not get a jump on your holiday shopping? And once that’s done, you can focus on what your plans are for the future. Are you looking for a career change or just want to see what the market looks like within the Data professionals industry? There is plenty of information to be collected and analyzed. What role might you fill? If you’re looking for a role in Data & Analytics or are interested in Advanced Analytics & Insights, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more.   For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.   For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

Jumpstart Your Job Search Now and in the Years Ahead

COVID-19 may have rocked the world of employment, but it also created a whole new series of opportunities. If you are looking for work, there are a few updates to the rules of the job search. Not rules, really. More preferred guidelines. A Note on the Guidelines of the Job Search Remember when your work experience was honed to two pieces of paper – your resume and cover letter – and you hoped it made it to the hiring manager? Well, there are a lot more direct ways to get there and plenty of opportunities abound to help you stand out from the crowd. It’s not just your educational experience. In fact, today’s hiring is much more about emotional intelligence, collaboration, and how you use what you’ve learned in previous roles. Among the negative notes, there are a host of positive movements for jobseekers with both established and startup firms. And sometimes, even within a legacy firm which has pivoted with the changes of our new world of work. Thread the Needle of Responsibility Google and IBM may be leading the charge to hire without use of a degree, but most businesses still want that piece of paper. How you present it is another matter. Think video, project portfolios, and online forms via application tracking systems (ATS). That’s just to get you in the door. The more important hurdle is understanding the nuances of your role and responsibilities. The list of qualifications and duties has always been part of the job search. Do you fit all the requirements? Can you handle all the responsibilities? Did you read between the lines to understand what the company hopes will find in their ideal candidate to help them meet their business goals and objectives?  Below are some questions you might ask yourself when reading through job descriptions or considering where you’d like to apply: Are you able to not only craft reports, but also see patterns to help you gain insight into what the reports are telling you?From this, can you not only discuss it with your colleagues and teammates, but also across departments, executives, and stakeholders?Can you not only explain the patterns to both technical and non-technical audiences, but do so across multiple projects?What challenges will you face and how will you solve them?How well do you manage your time? Can you step in to lead a team or do you prefer to work on your own? Could you be flexible between the two?Are you able to build relationships both internally and externally – teammates, vendors, executive leaders, department heads, and the board room.Do you have emotional intelligence? Can you take ownership of a project and hold yourself and others accountable?Do you show initiative? Not just in diving into a project, but asking questions. Can you ask objective questions playing devil’s advocate on one side and seeing the possibilities on the other? These are wide open questions to challenge yourself. Some are leadership-centric. Some are simply ‘can I do the job?’ questions. But, ultimately, it’s these kinds of questions which are asked in interview under the purview of seemingly inane questions. They’re meant to make you think and for the hiring manager to see how you think. 3 Surprising Ways to Stand Out in Your Job Search With the rise of remote working, Zoom, and Slack, the video interview and application process has gained ground. It’s quickly become the virtual way to seek, apply for, meet with, hire, and work with prospective and current team members. But, if you’re in the tech space, you can go even deeper than video and you’ve got more than project portfolios to fall back on. Write about your experiences – what you’ve learned, where, why, and how. Think Medium’s Toward Data Science. Don’t forget to hit publish! Not a writer? Follow the blog and make comments.Network – this seems like a ‘no brainer’, but in our somewhat virtual world it can be even easier for those who already comfortable in this environment. Whether it’s via LinkedIn or Twitch, you are building relationships to help you move forward in your job search.Use your skills to help you run and track your job search more efficiently.  If you’re interested in Big Data, Web Analytics, Marketing & Insight, Life Science Analytics, and more, check out our current vacancies or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more.   For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.   For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

The Surprising Collaboration of Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, and Alan Turing

What do you get when you combine Amelia Earhart with Ada Lovelace? A Data Visualization Engineer ready to work with an aviation industry partner. Reaching new heights and shattering the glass ceiling is the modus operandi for many women, and what better role models than the ladies listed. Creative, free-spirited, pioneering, and well before their time in thoughts and action. Ada Lovelace, now attributed as the first computer programmer saw beyond the automatons of her day. She saw beyond the Berullean language in front of her she was translating.  A poet father and a passion for numbers collided into her thoughts and as we marvel at AI making art, writing stories and music, and winning strategy games, we have one lady to thank. Ada. She might also be called the first Data Visualization Engineer. Don’t you think? Insightful Business Decisions are Key in Collaboration Data professionals are no longer siloed from other departments in business allowing for collaboration between teams. In partnership between both technical and non-technical employees, businesses can be sure they’re teams have a single vision to help realize business objectives and goals. The collaboration between Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage may not have been business-related, but the ideas are the same. He passed her the document and asked her to translate, she made notes, and those notes have made history. Together they created a vision for The Analytical Machine – it exists only on paper, but it’s design, layout, and potential implementation are realized in ways unimaginable to most 100 years ago.Ada’s mathematical prowess was such that she wrote her notes in easily explainable language.She worked closely with Charles Babbage and wrote in earnest to work with Michael Farraday – she reached out to others in her field, some accepted, others didn’t. How Data Helps Inform the Future Whether you use predictive modeling, machine learning, natural language processing, or some combination of each, the data you collect helps to inform the future. We may often lament the old adage that those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it, but history has a shining light as well. Collaboration across the ages. Consider this. Alan Turing, the man who worked in Bletchley Park with the Enigma machine, used the notes he found to help him solve the problem. Those notes belonged to Ada Lovelace. The information she set to paper informed every stage of computer programming leading to what we know today as Artificial Intelligence. Machines that could learn and ‘think,’ not just the automatons of her age which had been ‘programmed to perform.’ The Enchantress of Numbers Known as the Enchantress of Numbers, the pioneering Ada Lovelace shares the spotlight with other pioneering women in the sciences. Think Madame Curie, Joan Clarke, even Hedy Lamarr, and of course Amelia Earhart. They weren’t of the same eras, but each of their contributions have added to what we know as the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). We have a name for it now, but it’s always been around. And the collaborative efforts of women everywhere are growing and increasing diversity and inclusion in many businesses across the world. And at the heart of it all, in the beginning, a surprising and time-defying collaboration began. It set in motion a spark of business intelligence and insight as men and women mentored and partnered for the sake of their vision of the future. Who will be remembered one hundred years from now?  If you’re interested in Big Data, Web Analytics, Marketing & Insight, Life Science Analytics, and more, check out our current vacancies or contact one of our recruitment consultants to learn more.   For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.   For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

Computer Vision in Healthcare Beyond Covid-19

2020. It sounds like the name of a futuristic science-fiction movie or TV show, doesn’t it? Maybe it is. And like our favorite sci-fi flicks there are cutting edge changes happening in real time. We’re the characters in this story and the Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence partnerships in healthcare are moving fast to help us take care of ourselves. When computers can see what we can’t. When AI can help us make more informed decisions. When the two are combined to help doctors and providers work more efficiently to save lives, that’s when the cutting-edge shines. From the collaboration of Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and the WHO mapping out the data to contact traces to medical professionals on the front lines, we’ve been focused on one thing. Saving lives. But, what about the other medical issues that affect us? Heart disease. Cancer. Neurological illnesses.  What if the latest advances in healthcare could help here, too? Five Ways Computer Vision Helps Healthcare Providers Identifies leading causes of medical illnesses in a time-sensitive manner by creating algorithms for image processing, classification, segmentation, and object detection.Develops deep learning models to create neural networks.Collaboration of teams of scientists working together for the advancement of projects and present findings to business leaders, stakeholders, and clients.Allows providers to spend more time with their patients.Optimization of medical diagnoses using deep learning so doctors can spend more time with patients to help see and solve the problem faster. Computer Vision Engineer Meets AI Professional Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers real world answers in healthcare the world needs today. Computer Vision Engineers build the means to which AI helps providers, patients, and leaders make informed decisions. Core requirements for both roles include, but aren’t limited to: Experience in machine learning and deep learning.How to build computer vision algorithms and probability models.Problem-solving skills, creativity, ingenuity, and innovation.Languages like Python, R, Hadoop, Java, and Spark.Be able to see the big picture while at the same time finding the devil in the details. Always striving to improve, to make better, to advance the technology within the industry. The Challenges and the Potential of Technology in Healthcare At the moment, Computer Vision, AI, and other healthcare technology models are localized to individual placements. The next step is to have these technologies ‘speak’ to each other across hospitals, provider’s offices, telehealth applications, and electronic health records management for a more cohesive benefit of care. As this year rounds to a close, we know the vulnerabilities of our healthcare system, and can find solace in the though that technology is bringing it forward at lightning speed. Automation and telehealth appointments have made it a breeze to talk to our doctors and get results faster. We can pay our bills with the click of a button and even carve out a payment plan, if need be. All without leaving our homes. The data now available to us and our providers offers a foundation, a benchmark of information, so our doctors can make more informed decisions. This data goes beyond the individual, it helps set a precedent for not only individuals, but also entire populations, to help us identify future health issues, epidemics, and pandemics.  Stored data is private and stays within its construct of hospital or doctor’s office, but from it we can create models to plan for the future. Want to make your make your mark in the healthcare and tech industry? We may have just the role for you. Check out our current vacancies or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to learn more.   For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.   For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

A Slam-Dunk Career as a SLAM Engineer

Philadelphia. It’s known for it’s Philly Cheesesteak, the Liberty Bell, and where the Constitution was signed. Always on the cutting edge, Philadelphia is a land of firsts. You may or not know this, but one of its firsts was to have the first general use computer in 1946. Is it any wonder then that a company there is building robots to navigate GPS denied environments and was begun by leaders in the Computer Vision space?  Beyond the Roomba If you consider the Roomba, the autonomous vacuum that sweeps up pet hair, dirt, and other unwanted product, how does it know where to go? How does it know to go under a table or chair or around a wall to the next room? How does it know to avoid the dog, cat, or you? On nearly the smallest scale, this little round machine is a personal version of simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM).  However, the computational geometry method of this mapping and localization technique extends in a wide variety of arcs. Here are a few to get you thinking: GPS Navigation SystemsSelf-driving carsUnmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV)DronesRobotsVirtual Reality (VR)Augmented Reality (AR)Monocular Camera...and more There’s even a version which is used in the Life Sciences called RatSLAM. But we’ll visit that in another article. The uses and benefits of this simultaneous location and mapping technique are exponential even with some of the challenges posed by Audio-Visual and Acoustic SLAM. What is SLAM? Essentially, it is the 21st century version of cartography or mapping. Except in this case, not only can it map the environment, but it can also locate your place in it. When you want to know where the nearest restaurant is, you simply type in ‘restaurant near me.’ And soon, a list appears on your phone with a list radiating from nearest location outward.  Imagine you’re lost on a hike, you manage to find signal, and soon your GPS is offering directions on which way to move toward civilization.  This is Simultaneous Localization and Mapping. It locates you, your vehicle, a robot, drone, unmanned aerial vehicle or self-driving car and puts people and things in the direction it thinks they want to go or should go to get to safety. While mapping is at the epicenter of SLAM Computer Vision Engineering, there are other elements within the field as well. But let’s begin with mapping. Topological maps offer a more precise representation of your environment and can therefore help ensure consistency on a global scale.  Just as humans do when giving directions, sensor models offer landmark-based approaches to make it easier to determine your location within the map’s structure and raw-data approaches which makes no assumptions. Landmarks such as wifi or radio beacons are some of the easiest to locate, but may not always be correct which is where the raw-data approach comes in to offer its two cents as a model of location function. Four Challenges of SLAM GPS sensors may not function properly in chaotic environments such as military conflict. }Non-static environments such as pedestrians or high traffic areas with multiple vehicles make locations difficult to pinpoint.In Acoustic SLAM, challenges include inactivity and environmental noise as well as echo. Sound localization requires a robot or machine to be equipped with a microphone in order to go in the requested direction. Five Additional Forms of SLAM Tactile (sensing by touch)RadarAcousticAudio-Visual (a function of Human-Robot interaction)Wifi (sensing strength of nearby access points) Ready to Explore a Robotics and Computer Vision Career? Whether you’re interested in a slam dunk career as a SLAM Engineer or looking for your first or next role in Big Data, Web Analytics, Advanced Analytics & Insight, Life Science Analytics, or Data Science, take a look at our current vacancies or get in touch one of our expert consultants to learn more.   For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.   For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.

How Machine Learning and AI Can Help Us See the Forest for the Trees

In the early days of 2020, Johns Hopkins, the CDC, the WHO, and a host of other public organizations banded together in collaboration. They were on a mission to ensure the world had real-time information to a virus that would forever chance the course of this year and the years to come. Which is great for those families with a computer in every home or every person with smartphone access. But what about the rest of the world? How do you ensure those people without access to basic needs lives can be improved? A health non-profit using AI and Machine Learning is aiming to do just this. But the Data is vast and the sheer numbers of people need to be corralled by someone into something the computers can read and make decisions on. Who would have thought Public Research and Data Science would come together in such a manner and in such an important time? Three Benefits of Data Science and Machine Learning in Healthcare According to a seminar given in September 2019, two research scientists explained to the CDC the promises and challenges using Big Data for public health initiatives. After explaining a few definitions and making correlations, the focus was soon on the benefits. The focus of Machine Learning is to learn data patterns.From the initial focus, patterns can then be validated to ensure they make sense.These patterns and validation of patterns can find links between seemingly uncorrelated factors such as the relationship between one’s environment and their genetics. To the scientists working with these scenarios, the decisions seem simple. Yet, when it comes to explaining them to laymen like policymakers, there can be a shift in understanding. This shift can lead to arbitrary and different findings which can affect medical decision making. Why? Could it be using Random Forests in linking the data could be confusing?  Data Classification is Not as Cut-and-Dried as a Work Flow or Org Chart If someone shows us a work flow or organizational chart, we understand immediately each task to be done in which order or who reports to whom. But in trying to link uncorrelated bits of information using decision trees, it can seem more like abstract art, more subjective than direct. Yet, it is those correlations which answer the bigger questions brought to bear by Research Scientists, Public Health Researchers, the Data Scientists, and AI working together to see the bigger picture. Decision trees, ultimately, are the great classifier. But there are a few things which need to be in place first. Yet, in the random forest model it’s not just one decision tree, it’s many. This is definitely a case where, if you done right, you will see the forest for the trees and at the same time be able to determine patterns in those trees. A bit counter-intuitive, but this is what stretches our minds to see correlations and patterns we might not see otherwise, don’t you think? So, what do you need to help make predictions?  Two Important Needs to Help Make Predictions Predictive power. The features you employ should make some sense. For example, without a basic knowledge of cooking, you can’t just throw random items from your refrigerator into a pot and expect it taste good. Unless of course, you’re making soup and all you have to do is add water.The trees and their predictions should be uncorrelated. If you’ve ever seen M. Night Shymalan’s Lady in the Water, there’s a little boy who can ‘read’ cereal boxes and tell a coherent story. A predictive coherent story. This is the layman’s version of random forests, their predictive nature, and ultimately, the scientists who can ‘read’ and explain the patterns. If you're looking for your first or next role in Big Data, Web Analytics, Marketing & Insight, Life Science Analytics, and more, check out our current vacancies or contact one of our recruitment consultants to learn more.   For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.   For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

Leading Remote Teams in the Land of Beer, Barbeque, and Tech

Charlotte, North Carolina known for its beer and barbeque is not the first location to jump to mind when you think digital hub. But here’s the rub, it is. In the Fall of 2019, the city and Microsoft signed a three-year digital alliance. And as the country moved from office locations to work-from-home and remote operations, Charlotte became a prime destination for tech.  Four Skills for Leading in the New Normal Whether you’ve learned to balance work time with virtual schooling or have been working from home for years, there are some skillsets which set leaders apart. The first one may surprise you. Let others lead – According to our most recent salary guide, one of the main reasons people leave their jobs is due to poor management. With the rise of remote working, hierarchy has flattened to a degree as everyone must discipline themselves. Micromanagement becomes almost moot as everyone leans into this learning curve. Lead by example and let others take over the leadership driver’s seat from time-to-time. Balance both Soft and Technical Skills – While technical skills are the backbone of subject matter experience in a Digital Analytics role, it’s the soft skills which can help set you apart. Sure, you’ll want to know the ins and outs of web analytics and optimization, but you’ll also need to have the skills to explain findings and offer recommendations to address client needs. Know When to Pivot – Life throws us curveballs. Consider 2020, for example. Whether you must pivot for survival or simply need to take things in a new direction, knowing when to pivot and how to explain it to your employees is a leadership skill inherent for this new normal. Be Approachable – With open door policies moved online, leaders will want to determine the best way to recreate opportunities for employees that need to talk outside the daily or weekly staff meeting. Having insight into how your team works best, can help you guide them toward success. Programs to know and experience to have often include the technical knowledge you’ll need to ensure your client makes the most informed decisions.  ‘Smart Cities’ of the Future At the beginning of 2020, as the coronavirus came to call, someone joked that in 2020 we’d hoped to have flying cars and smart cities of the future, but instead were being taught how to wash our hands. Perhaps they weren’t far off on the smart cities quip as both Houston, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina are on the cutting edge of creating these smart cities. Things like Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), LinkedIn Learning, even the Entrepreneur Store offers classes and bundles in everything from computer language learning such as C++, R, and Python to Digital Marketing and Graphic Design. But, learning these things and more on a Microsoft campus can catapult students into more jobs and helps guide cities in smart power grids, smart busses, autonomous cars, and the list goes on. Experience in a design agency who works within both the B2C and the B2B verticals helps to expand opportunities exponentially. Remote working opportunities have opened up worlds of collaboration, teamwork, and focus on the next steps into the future. Whether you’re interested in a remote working leadership role in the beachy Carolinas or looking for your first or next role in Big Data, Web Analytics, Marketing & Insight, Life Science Analytics, and more, check out our current vacancies or contact one of our recruitment consultants to learn more.   For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.   For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

Career Priorities Are Shifting For The US Data & Analytics Market Place

Positions in Data & Analytics are highly sought after in the US. With a widening talent pool due to the rise of flexible working, shifting skillsets and requirements for more professionals working in data and tech, the sector continues to experience unprecedented growth; regardless of the global pandemic pulling at the very core of the business community. For candidates, the Data & Analytics job market will be more active than ever. In our most recent US Data & Analytics Salary Guide, this was clearly identified. In fact, post-COVID, more respondents were either actively seeking, or willing to move for, a new role than they were in 2019. As businesses look to streamline existing processes and establish new ones, they are more reliant on Data professionals than ever before. Yet, candidates in this market have re-evaluated their needs and the incentives they value, shifting their priorities in the wake of COVID-19. With the impact of COVID-19 felt in almost every part of our day-to-day lives, it wasn’t long until conversation turned to what ‘the new normal’ would look like once the worst of the pandemic had passed. However, for those in the Data & Analytics space, the new normal wasn’t as new as first thought - it had been gradually establishing itself over the past few years. When seeking a new role, respondents prioritized career progression over salary increases, as well as an emphasis on job security and working for a stable and growing business. The needs of the multi-generational workforce in a post-COVID world has never been more dynamic than it is today. It was evidenced that financial ambitions have decreased slightly as a result of the pandemic. Interestingly, ‘a more competitive salary’ was the top reason for seeking a new role. Post-COVID, not only do respondents seek career progression over a salary increase, they also put a significantly greater emphasis on job security and the need to join a stable and growing business.  Specifically, for Data Engineers in the current market space, 80 per cent of professionals would leave their role if the right opportunity came up. This falls in parallel to digital analytics experts, of which 82 per cent would leave their role if the right opportunity came up. This is perhaps unsurprising as the full economic impact of the pandemic has yet to be established. Attracting the best hire for your business is going to be one of the core challenges of our time. Period. The focus for American organizations needs to be on hiring for the needs of tomorrow, rather than for the demands of today. A forward-thinking business will have the critical vision needed in order to keep pace with the market in its current state. Data professionals are in the driving seat; that’s a certainty. Their holistic skillset, understanding and application of core technologies such as SQL, Python, AWS, Kubernetes and Spark position them well when seeking to secure their next role. It is up to organizations to maintain their momentum as we acknowledge that for Data & Analytics, continuing on the trajectory of growth in the ‘new normal’ is something very few outside of this space saw coming. If you're looking for a new opportunity in the world of Data & Analytics or to expand your Data team, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more: For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.    For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

Navigating the New Normal Now and In the Future

At the beginning of every year and particularly the start of a new decade, we often find ourselves reassessing our priorities. Though this year was no different, it does have the twist of a pandemic. Businesses and individuals were forced to pivot toward a new normal.  Together, we’ve moved quickly and one thing this year’s Salary Guide has shown us is that priorities have changed. In previous years, focus was on higher salaries and it was expected to stay in a position only two or three years before moving on to the next job. But this year, stability is the name of the game. And so, priorities shift. Candidates now want to stay in a role that could lead to career progression.   What’s Changed?  In the Data & Analytics industry, flexible working options have steadily increased, though it was already a way of life for many. Add into the mix, the increased need to work from home for employee safety or in controlled environments for those whose role did not allow for remote working such as those in the life sciences.  Financial considerations were no longer top dog in hiring and retaining top talent. Longevity, career progression, and good management are highly desired. When everyone is online and flexible working options are the new normal, it’s important to have strong leadership.  Four Future Changes to Come   With the world online, working, and learning from home, bandwidth has become a non-renewable resource. Too much traffic. Too many people online could cause issues particularly during prime working and learning hours. Though with everything online, what does it mean to have prime hours now?  Setting Priorities – Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should lock yourself in your office for hours on end. Set aside time for food, family, and fun. Elevate the Home Office - Larger, more stable devices may see a resurgence. The home office is truly just that with the standard desktop and monitor to more easily see information. For those in many industries, two screens really help set the tone. Flexible Shopping Options are Here to Stay – When you’re working and learning from home, time is of the essence. The benefits of delivery, pick-up, and even some more expanded food centers could change the way we eat and gather. Retail is being redesigned for the new normal.Logistics of Social Distancing meet Machine Learning – As we focus on social distancing, mobile applications may shift toward a more logistics focused future using crowdsourcing and Big Data. From contact tracing to food buying, it will be important to have technologies that can keep up with people at all hours of the day and night to deliver goods and services.  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 and Insight, Data Science, or Computer Vision, take a look at our current vacancies. If you’d like to learn more, get in touch with one of our expert consultants. For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.    For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

How Digital Analytics & Marketing Help Shape E-Commerce

Since the days of store window displays, the shopping experience has been just that; an experience. So, what happens when you want to recreate the visceral and emotional experience of shopping from within the confines of a computer screen, smartphone, or tablet? Enter Digital and Marketing Analytics. According to a recent report by Adobe, e-commerce sales have seen a 77% jump year-over-year which at any other time in history should have taken 4 to 6 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped to escalate and drive these numbers leaving some businesses scrambling and others raking it in. So, what’s the difference? Data professionals. The Role of Data in E-Commerce Whether you buy online and pick up in store or have a product delivered to your door, the role of shopping has irrevocably changed. Ensuring consumers get the personalized experience they’re used to from the days of brick-and-mortar stores, retail stores have turned to Digital and Marketing Analytics to give their customers the shopping experience they’re used to within a different format. Professionals within the UI/UX Design vertical are particularly sought after. Buying habits are changing and competition is fierce. So, how does Data affect e-commerce? Here are 3 examples: Know Your Customer. No longer a lamented visage from yesteryear, knowing your customer is inherent to the survival of an online retailer.  Data professionals bring to life the customer through historical data, demographics, and creates products and services which elicit an emotional response to stop, look around, and buy. And if the cart gets abandoned, follow up email campaigns to jog the memory that you were here and were thinking about buying this or that item. Get Personal. Personalize shopping has evolved into the personal shopping experience. What made someone buy a product during their last visit? Dynamic presentation and emotion-driven verbiage can certainly contribute.  When an online retailer knows what the buyer wants or needs and presents it in a way that resonates. This is the personalization once the domain of sales clerks.  From the Data you enter at checkout to the social media platforms and search engines with information like what you’re looking for, where you’re located, your purchase history and more can sometimes leave the personalized experience out in the cold. Bridging the old personalization with the new is the key ingredient for successful online retailers. Sell Where Your Consumers are Buying. If your customers are on Facebook looking for a product or service, sell to them where they’re looking. Though reviews are still important, even more prevalent is the range of social influencers to help buyers make decisions. Enter social commerce. Layout, design, Data gathering, collecting, and analyzing all have a slightly different flavor within this construct.  Data Professionals in Demand Within the Digital Analytics and Marketing specialism are a variety of Data professionals in demand as retailers are forced online. Businesses need E-Commerce Analysts to help present the new normal for the online retailer. As buy online and pick up in store convenience increases as well as purchases made from devices such as your smartphone, there’s been a rise in demand for Web & Mobile Product Management as well. Digital Transformation is no longer at the doorstep of business, it has crossed the threshold. And rather than focus on one tool or another, the impetus is on the importance of having more than one tool at a candidate’s disposal. What candidates want has changed and evolved as well. Salary and bonuses have dwindled while the demand for experience and professional development have become rallying cries for finding and retaining top talent. For more information In our recently released 2020 Salary Guide we discuss each specialism. What’s working. What isn’t. And how businesses can hire and retain top talent to keep their projects on track and their businesses running smoothly. You can download your copy here.  If you’re interested in Data and Technology, Risk or Digital Analytics, Life Sciences Analytics, Advanced Analytics & Insight, Data Science, or Computer Vision, we invite you to check out our latest jobs. If you’d like to learn more, contact one of our expert consultants: For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.   For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

Which Skillset Do You Need: Data Science or Advanced Analytics?

According to our 2020 US Data & Analytics Salary Guide, there has been a recent uptick in leadership roles within the Data & Analytics industry. Stemming from the skillset which is equally balanced between technical and communicative abilities, this field is fast approaching a 50/50 gender split. These are the leadership roles for which businesses are seeking employees who can translate business objectives into actionable insights, and yet, too often businesses think this is the role of the Data Scientist. As Data Science, Machine Learning, and other terms in the Data industry change to encompass new roles, it is imperative businesses understand what skillset they need to fill which role. So, here’s a quick comparison to help navigate which role has the best skillset for your needs. TRADITIONAL DUTIES OF A DATA SCIENTIST  Understand one or more coding languages such as R, Hadoop, SQL, Apache Spark, etc.Able to collect, gather, and analyze Data from past and current applications for business recommendations.Craft statistical models for planning and implementing strategies. While it’s true these three duties are similar to an Advanced Analytics Skillset, the advanced skillset takes things a bit further.  TRADITIONAL DUTIES OF A CHIEF DATA OR ANALYTICS OFFICER As this role leans a bit more toward the Advanced Analytics skillset, let’s take a look at where it jumps off from the traditional Data Scientist role. Create a Data Strategy and communicate the vision of that strategy.Create Data access policies and strategize with business executives. Oversee a variety of functions including Data Management, Data Governance. Whether the title is Chief Data Officer or Chief Analytics Officer, these are the high-level roles which might report to the CEO or COO rather than the CIO. The Chief Data Officer falls within the senior executive team and is responsible for not only the Data Strategy and its governance, but explaining its benefits in clear language to the other executives. WHEN BUSINESS & CANDIDATE EXPECTATIONS ALIGN  Though Advanced Analytics teams have remained strong during the pandemic, and the field is ever-changing as businesses understand which skillset they need for what job, there has been some turnover in the past.  So, why the turnover if it’s an expanding field? The answer is two-fold in that oftentimes, the candidate and business expectations aren’t aligned. And to that end, it often stems from businesses believing once they’ve hired someone their problems are solved.  However, when the right person with the right skillset is in the right place. And when businesses understand that person can help them solve the problem once there is a strategy and processes in place, then the two are more efficiently aligned.  WHERE TO LOOK FOR ADVANCED ANALYTICS & INSIGHT ROLES If you’re a candidate and have five years or more experience in the Analytics industry, there is a huge growth in demand from EdTech and TeleHealth enterprises. As businesses have gone online and virtual, it’s important to have someone in place who can navigate the changing nature of education and medicine within the Data & Analytics field. One of the key ingredients businesses hunger for are candidates who can blend statistical analysis with the communication skills. For businesses, candidates want to grow with the business and have the opportunity to make an impact. In our recently released 2020 Salary Guide we discuss each specialism; what’s working, 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 Science Analytics, Marketing and Insight, Data Science, or Computer Vision, we invite you to check out our current vacancies. If you’d like to learn more, contact one of our expert consultant. For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.   For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

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