Is ‘Data Scientist’ the ‘Sexiest Job of the 21st Century’? And How Do You Get One of Your Own?

When you hear the word “data scientist,” what does that term mean to you?

Is it the “sexiest job” of the 21st century as the Harvard Business Review suggested? Does it describe a really smart person with advanced degrees in computer science, applied math, statistics, economics? Someone who analyzes and extracts business value from big data?

A data scientist can be all of these things and more. This type of professional looks for patterns and trends in large sets of data, using a variety of tools, techniques and critical thinking to arrive at practical solutions to real-life data-centric problems.

According to Hugo Bowne Andersen in HBR, “Data scientists use online experiments, among other methods, to achieve sustainable growth. They also clean, prepare, validate structured and unstructured data to build machine learning pipelines, and personalized data products to better understand their business and customers and to make better decisions.”

Now, even if you didn’t go to school in advanced analytics and data science, understanding the thought process data scientists go through might help your early-stage startup understand what it is exactly these professionals do: