According to CareerCast.com, Data Scientist is going to be one of the most in-demand jobs as well as one of the most difficult to fill this year, and well into the future. The field of data science, while on the newer side, is exploding at a fast and furious rate. Since it hasn’t been around long, however, there aren’t a plethora of college graduates with data scientist degrees or an availability of experienced workers in the field. So, employers looking for people who can wade through, and make valuable use of, all the data currently bombarding them, may need to broaden their expectations and efforts to attract qualified talent.
Join Industry and Trade discussion groups
If you want top talent in the data science field to be interested in working with your company, it helps to take an interest in what’s important to them. Make an effort to get to know the talent you want to recruit. Using social media, you can track candidates based on their interests, groups and activities. Join industry and trade discussion groups and continue to follow those individuals that show potential. When the time is right, make contact to introduce yourself and encourage them to meet or have a one-on-one conversation with you. Associating a real and amiable person with your company can go a long way in encouraging top talent to join your talent network, and, ideally, apply for a job.
Data scientists use statistical techniques to analyze raw data, but they also work with groups to share their findings and explore meaningful ways to use these discoveries. As you participate in industry-related discussions, show that you understand and appreciate the field, as well as the people who excel in it so your organization is attractive to potential job candidates.
Here are some popular sites and groups to consider for more information:
Advertise on university websites and college career services offices
Since this field is still in its infancy, employers will likely need to forego the impulse to seek out candidates with a lot of experience. Instead, you can benefit from partnering with universities and plan to work with emerging talent. One of the best ways to create a strong talent pool is to provide internship opportunities for college students. They get experience and exposure to your company, and you get to test drive a potential future hire. The relationship you build with interns can be far reaching. Whether they continue to work for you or not, they can make your company name recognized among peers and faculty.
It’s also beneficial to beef up your alliances in the Career Services departments of the universities that interest you. Making them your key point of contact gives you a central, reliable location for information and introductions. They can get you opportunities with student organizations, suggest the right department heads to contact and help you build solid partnerships within the university, as well as ensure that your company is top-of-mind when they, and other faculty members, work with students who show strong potential for careers in data science.
Be flexible as well as willing to offer flexibility
In 2011, EMC conducted a Data Science Study that delved into what this emerging field is all about and who is, and who will be, filling the industry’s ever expanding roles. While most early pioneers in the field held Master’s degrees, it looks like the rapid growth and need for big data will require employers to broaden their ideas of where to look for top talent. Rather than depending on only individuals with technology degrees, you need to focus on people with varying degrees and backgrounds who bring statistical abilities along with creative problem-solving and a strong interest in continually satisfying curiosity, then provide them with specific training.
You also need to show that you offer a company culture that supports the importance of data science, allowing data scientists to constantly, creatively and freely experiment with the data they receive. According to the EMC study this also means, “building high-performing, cross-functional teams that include a variety of roles, including programmers, statisticians, and graphic designers, and aligning them to directly support interested business decision makers.”
Offering perks such as flexible scheduling and remote work options is also a good way to both entice strong data scientist candidates to join your talent network and broaden your reach for finding qualified talent.
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