In December 2014, there were over 73 million working women in the U.S. While women were just under half of the general workforce (47 percent), they represented a majority of those in professional and technical occupations (51 percent). [Source: http://dpeaflcio.org/].
In the Analytics industry specifically, the picture looks a lot different. According to the 2015 census data, roughly 53% of statisticians in the US are female. In 2001, there were more female statisticians than male. [Source: Forbes]. Statistics from other parts of the world would probably tell a slightly different story, but overall, the signs are encouraging. According to a “Women In The Workforce: India” report published by Catalyst.org (Nov. 2015)
45.9% of all enrolled undergraduate students in India are women.
40.5% of all enrolled PhD students are women
With a strategic shift towards knowledge driven businesses over the last decade, India has seen a huge surge in women opting for a career in analytics. We are also witnessing a steady rise in the number of women rising to leadership positions in analytics roles. With evolution in societal norms and a mindset change driven by forward-thinking organizations, women today are making a global impact both as employees and entrepreneurs.
Women leaders such as Indra Nooyi, Chanda Kochhar and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw have created a legacy that has inspired women all over the world to break the stereotype and reach for the stars. Here are some more examples of accomplished women leaders in analytics & technology domain.
Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of “Girls Who Code”, a non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. Through its Summer Immersion Programs and Clubs, Girls Who Code is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st-century opportunities. Started in 2012, the organization will reach more than 40,000 girls in every state by the end of 2016 [Source: reshmasaujani.com].
Priyanka Jain, the founder of Aryng, a management consulting firm focused on analytics and the author of ‘Behind Every Good Decision’ has successfully transitioned to a career in analytics and is helping many blue chip companies enable smarter decisions using data.
Radhika Kulkarni is the VP of Advanced Analytics R&D at SAS Institute. Radhika heads software development in streams across Statistics, Operations Research, Econometrics, Forecasting and Data Mining. She received MSc Degree in Mathematics from IIT Delhi, India and a PhD in Operations Research from Cornell University.
(Read about some of the leading Indian women leaders in analytics in this insightful article by the Analytics India Magazine)
Inspired? Want to explore analytics as a career? Here’s what you need!
A problem-solving mindset
It is important to understand that analytics is eventually about solving business problems. You could be working on optimizing marketing spend, better personalization of promotional campaigns, forecasting demand for goods or credit risk models. To be an effective analytics professional, you will need to understand how data can help solve a problem. That’s the starting point!
Love for Math
It goes without saying; you need to be zen with applied math and stats. If you love numbers, that’s a good start already! Since you are going to be analyzing data, you need to be familiar with the analysis techniques which include data preparation and cleansing, predictive analytics techniques and interpretation of the statistical output.
Mastery of Tools
Tools such as SAS, SPSS, R, and SQL are most widely used in the data analytics domain. Experts recommend mastering one of the tools and taking up others over a period of time.
We started by saying that this game is all about solving business problems. This means you will be dealing with stakeholders on the customer side most of the time. Having the ability to articulate the approach, the findings and eventually the solutions is a critical aspect of being in this business. The ideal way to approach an analytics career is to have a consulting mindset and build a set of soft skills that will help you cement that positioning.
There you go, girls! More POWER to you!
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