16 May 2017

Do You Really Need a Data Scientist?

If you have data, then yes.

If your organisation collects large amounts of data, for any purpose whatsoever, and ends up storing it in some remote database, not doing anything with it… The answer is yes, you need a data scientist.

There is a reason why data scientists are in such high demand and it is because of their ability to sift through, clean, organise and manipulate data, so as to provide insights that can solve problems, predict the future and improve product and service offerings. Data scientists have the ability to save organisations massive amounts of money as well as find ways to generate higher turnover, and you can’t really put a price on that can you?


Kyle Findlay, Director: Data Science, Kantar Global Innovations Team gave us his insights into the world of data science

“In a data-saturated world, data scientists become the arbiters of organisational information, product delivery and, ultimately, business success. Most businesses rely on data to make informed decisions and to deliver the best possible product to their customers. Most of those that don’t can likely improve what they do by being more data-driven. People and relationships will always be the most important part of your business but data helps inform how you manage these relationships, and data scientists help make sense of that data in a repeatable way.”

We asked Kyle – What kind of skills does a strong data scientist need to have?

“A strong data scientist needs to be a jack-of-all trades (although as the size of a data scientist team grows, specialization around machine learning, dev ops, development, etc. does tend to set in). Ideally, they need to have experience with databases, Python, R and cloud infrastructure. They don’t need to be an expert in all areas to start, but they need to be flexible, quick learners as they will likely be involved in multiple parts of an organisation’s pipeline from acquisition to cleaning, analysis, development and deployment.”

From the recruiter’s perspective

In the last few years we have witnessed an incredible increase in the demand for Data Scientists. Businesses and consultancies have realised that they can leverage the vast amounts of data at their disposal, to streamline or refocus their efforts – whether it be marketing, logistical, sales or product – and identify opportunities that can make an impact in their organisation.

Generally speaking, Data Scientists need to know how to clean, centralize, manipulate and model data into something the business can work with. This type work is requires a mix of skills; a strong understanding of mathematics, knowledge of databases and programming skills. But, this sector is diverse and the need is only going to continue to grow. If perhaps the crunching numbers part isn’t for you, you could specialise in turning the cleaned and organised data into models and infographics that inform and engage the reader – dependant on your target.


Whether you are considering a career path in data or looking to add a more data-driven aspect to your business operations, this area is new, evolving and encompassing many opportunities. For any further information regarding this topic, or for staffing solutions in this area, please contact our specialist in data related recruitment, Ross Weston at ross@recruitdigital.co.za .

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info@recruitdigital.co.za / 021 424 6865