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Big Data Visionaries: 2013 IOUG Data Science Skills Survey


Thomas Davenport, co-author of the watershed book Competing on Analytics and visiting professor at Harvard University, has famously referred to the role of the data scientist to be the “sexiest job of the 21st century.” And it’s no wonder—data scientists are being cast as the visionaries who will help guide their organizations into the future, by scooping up information from all corners of the enterprise and beyond, and figuring out ways to make that data tell compelling stories.

Key highlights and findings from the survey, which explores the various roles data managers and professionals are assuming, include the following:

  • Most data professionals are already assuming skills and day to- day responsibilities that tend to be associated with data scientists’ or analysts’ roles—such as the ability to identify and surface data that is important to the business. Database administrators are less likely than other technology professionals or managers to be adopting data scientist roles. Still, up to a third indicate there either already is someone with the title data scientist within their organization, or that there soon will be.
  • While today’s data professionals spend most of their time managing and securing databases, a large segment expect to be concentrating on business intelligence and data modeling in the near future.
  • Database administration is an essential task that will not disappear any time soon. Almost all survey respondents indicate they have at least some basic database administration tasks as part of their jobs.
  • A majority of today’s data professionals are engaged in actively working with the business and IT to develop data strategies and policies.
  • A majority of respondents report that their jobs increasingly call for the ability to employ data to help in business decision making, and even to “tell a story” with the data.
  • Most data managers and professionals report they are directly involved in business consulting—providing advice and guidance to the business. This may consist of tactical, operational advice, or more strategic planning.

Big Data Visionaries: 2013 IOUG Data Science Skills Survey was produced by Unisphere Research and sponsored by IOUG.

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