Hottest job? Data scientists say they're still mostly digital 'janitors'

Upcoming priorities include a focus on machine learning, this report suggests

Data scientists are considered to have the hottest job right now, but a new study suggests they're little more than "digital janitors" who spend most of their time cleaning data to prepare it for analysis.

That's according to CrowdFlower, a crowdsourcing company, which surveyed 80 data scientists with varying levels of experience.

While an advanced degree is usually required for the position, a full 60 percent of respondents said they spend most of their time cleaning and organizing data, leaving little for analytical tasks like building training sets and refining algorithms.

"You have your hardest-to-hire resource spending most of their time cleaning data," said Lukas Biewald, CrowdFlower's cofounder and CEO. "It's a humongous waste for organizations."

Cleaning and organizing data, as it turns out, is also data scientists' least favorite part of the job, according to more than half of CrowdFlower's respondents.

That makes for an unhappy combination, but data scientists remain undaunted: More than 80 percent said they're happy at work.

CrowdFlower's findings also confirm that there's a shortage of data scientists in the business world. In last year's survey, 79 percent of respondents said there was a shortage; this year, that figure was up to 83 percent.

Want to land a data scientist job for yourself? The most in-demand skills, according to CrowdFlower, are SQL, Hadoop, Python, Java, R, Hive, MapReduce, NoSQL, Pig and SAS.

Coming up next is machine learning, which was singled out as especially important by more than half of the respondents CrowdFlower surveyed.

"Over the last couple of years every CEO has been asking, 'what's our big data strategy?'" Biewald said. "They need to start asking about machine learning."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?