“Sometimes you gotta run before you can walk” – Tony Stark
The market is up, the work that needs to be done is huge, and the talent pool that the analytics industry demands is vast. It is clear that if humanity has seen, it has only been by standing on the shoulders of giants – heroes, who have single-handedly catapulted our species into the future. With the democratization of analytics that technology has brought in the recent decades, our contention is that each and every one of us can and must now be a hero.
But what does it take to succeed in analytics? An ordinary hero won’t just cut it, you have to be the superhero of our times, Iron Man. Data modelling, statistics and technology skills are a given – to raise the bar to Iron Man standards, a data scientist must don many roles to save the world from decisions that are not data-driven, augmenting oneself with the skills below:
“Is it better to be feared or respected?” – I say, is it too much to ask for both?” – Tony Stark
Short, crisp and meaningful, the quote above is humor, philosophy and truth all rolled into one. A data scientist’s communication of his work to a broader audience must be similar in its gravitas, yet simplicity. Every analyst should be able to articulate the whys, the finer nuances in the data and convey with conviction, that the methodology adopted will deliver business value. He needs to have a veritable Swiss army knife of presentation skills to convey his results persuasively, to anyone. He might have designed the best predictive model to derived insights, but if he cannot woo the business to adopt his recommendations, he is no Iron Man.
Attention to Detail
Imagine if Stark developed products without attention to detail? Iron Man would have undergone spontaneous self-combustion in his maiden flight! Similarly, adding an extra zero to Sales Volume figures and presenting it to a Senior Director of Sales can only end in disaster – either for the analyst at that very moment, or for the company at a later stage. Accuracy can only be ensured when one understands the numbers that one works with completely. The context, the distribution, the outliers, the assumptions – all of these innately influence the algorithms and tools used and the results derived. Errors are also often caused by manual human intervention in a data flow process – these can be avoided if you are proactive and build automated processes with lesser human interference.
Comic book geeks will know that Tony stark graduated from MIT at the age of 15! But that didn’t stop him from continuously updating his knowledge and skillsets of bad-assery did it? He created better suits (7 evolutions!), better weapons, and even a better lifestyle to adjust to his failing heart. Similarly, in an analytics organization, continuous learning must be in place at an individual level to shape a team to adapt to changes in the business environment. Analytics is rapidly evolving today and every data scientist worth his salt must be up to date with his knowledge of markets, technologies and tools. Being at the bleeding edge affords one the flexibility to stay current in the industry and not get left behind.
Iron man was one of the five founding members of the legendary Avengers teaming up with Hulk, Ant-Man, Wasp and Thor to defeat Loki. He could have very well gone solo, but not only did he team up, but he also subtly lead the team to ensure that the collaboration was a success. As data scientists we all have the research bent of mind that allows us to work individually. However, joining the industry, brings with it complex business scenarios, voluminous data sets, tight deadlines, and propensity for stress and errors, leading to slippages and consequently, delivery of a sub-par solution. Wars were never fought or won alone – collaboration within and across statistics, technology and visualization teams and functions is key to successfully completing an analytics project.
Creative Problem Solver
Tony would have been left to die in the barren wastelands of Afghanistan if he hadn’t come up with the idea of building the Iron Man suit. He then went ahead and executed his plan as well! Real problems are never obvious, never easy, never done in a day but there is always a one who will rise among us to consciously develop and implement a completely original solution.
Data Scientists are not born but made – on the bedrocks of rigour and innovation, to form the cornerstones of their organizations. Any individual who wants a make a mark in the industry, must find a great workplace with challenging projects, and then develop his skills to become an Iron Man of the Analytics world. Soon, recruiters would be drawn to you like the ladies are to the Marvel super hero 🙂
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This blog is written by Alagiri Samy, Analytics Consultant at BRIDGEi2i
About BRIDGEi2i: BRIDGEi2i provides Business Analytics Solutions to enterprises globally, enabling them to achieve accelerated business impact harnessing the power of data. Our analytics services and technology solutions enable business managers to consume more meaningful information from big data, generate actionable insights from complex business problems and make data driven decisions across pan-enterprise processes to create sustainable business impact. To know more visit www.bridgei2i.com
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of BRIDGEi2i.