I spend a lot of time consulting with a diverse set of companies about their data science strategies. I also regularly teach courses on topics in data science. I’m witnessing a change in the way companies are thinking about the role of data science and its position within their corporate structures. I believe these changes have been slowly taking place for the past few years, but the onset of COVID-19 and the Russia-Saudi Arabia oil price war this year have accelerated the shift.

What’s changing?

There are many roles necessary to succeed in data science, but this change is primarily targeting the role of the data scientist itself.

Data Science work falls into two distinct camps. One group is focused on the more academic aspects of data science like models and algorithms. The other group is more focused on the pragmatic work of helping make business decisions. This latter discipline is commonly referred to as applied data science.

This division of work within data science has existed for a while now. And although the distinctions between the two foci are becoming more drastic in the real world, its the second group — applied data science— I want to focus on. So, for the remainder of this article, I’ll use the term data science and data scientist to refer to the discipline of applied data science unless otherwise noted.

The role of the Data Scientist is beginning to migrate within most of the companies I encounter. Previously, Data Science was a group of its own, often within the Business Intelligence Department, or may be located within the Data Team. Data Scientists from both camps existed in this same group and divided the work between their two areas of focus, as appropriate.

However, the role of the Data Scientist is moving out of this centralized group and into subject matter specific departments throughout the organization. A perfect example is a manufacturing company I recently worked with. They have an expert in their manufacturing process learning data science. This individual has no interest in changing jobs to solely focusing on data science work. His interest is its influence on improving his company’s manufacturing processes. Data science is being pushed out of the BI / IT nest and closer to the tactical work in organizations all over the country.

#towards-data-science #leadership #data-analysis #business #data-science

The Future of Data Science
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