Why Data Scientists Are Sexy But Scarce

We’ve often pointed to big data as a potentially lucrative source of employment. That remains the case, but if you want to score a career in that area, be prepared for some serious education.

Scientist picture from Shutterstock

“Data scientists are the sexiest guys in town,” PV Kannan, CEO of cloud-based customer service provider [24]7, proclaimed at a Sydney media lunch in Sydney yesterday. While a large proportion of its 9000-strong workforce occupies call centres, [24]7 also employees a healthy cohort of data scientists to help it develop its predictive capabilities, adding around 100 each year. The pay is apparently good, but the entry barrier is high: Kannan says the typical graduate has a PhD in mathematics or a masters in statistics.

Kannan sees plenty of potential for big data to improve customer service if those staff members can be found. “Customers service is still stuck in the 80s — and it’s like the bad song, not the good one.”

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