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

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?