The Rise of the Citizen Data Scientist

Two or three years ago, when Big Data had started to gain serious traction in large enterprises, there was a rush to hire data scientists. Of course, disagreement reigned about what credentials made a true data scientist. Wonky math geeks were a good place to start. The rush to hire data scientists echoed the trend some decades earlier when investment firms hired quants right out of college and put them in the basement to create trading algorithms.

One thing was clear though. Data scientists were scarce and expensive.

Pushing Analytics to the Edges

We've written a lot lately about data democracy. What it means. Why it's necessary. And how it differs from data anarchy. But whether data democracy is achieved through "palace coup" or deliberate process, it has several unavoidable outcomes. One of which is that it pushes analytics to the edges of the organization. Every line of business develops its own data and analytics program focused on very specific business objectives.

This creates an "expertise vacuum," into which the citizen data scientist fits nicely.

As Shawn Rogers, chief research officer at Dell Statistica, observes, "I think that 2016 could be the year of the citizen data scientist because users throughout the business want a more democratized approach to big data and analytics. Not every company can afford a data scientist, which is a big reason why citizen data scientists will become a big part of the data ecosystem as it evolves."

The continued evolution of easy-to-use data visualization tools has made the citizen data scientist a faster, cheaper, and more practical alternative to the credentialed data scientist. Most organizations will find that employees with curiosity, decent math skills, and a good understanding of the business are a good place to start.

Attivio Webinar: An Agile Path from Big Data to BI

In our view, the citizen data scientist will play an important role in helping organizations navigate an agile path from Big Data to BI. As will streamlining the supply chain that gets data to these data consumers. Join Dave Stodder, Director of TDWI Research for BI, and Greg Goldsmith, Attivio’s Chief Product Officer, for a panel discussion on trends and best practices in data discovery. Register now for this webinar on Thursday, March 17, at 2pm ET.

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