At A Glance – Citizen Data Scientist

Creating new roles is helping to address skills shortages

To extract insights from data, organisations rely on highly skilled, formally trained data scientists. However, due to their advanced skillset, they are not easy to come by. As well as facing high demand across industries, data scientists often carry a hefty price tag. In the UK, their annual income can exceed £70,000. One way in which organisations have responded to the limited availability of data scientists is by empowering existing analysts with data focused technology. Enter the citizen data scientist.

Citizen data scientists are employees within a business that aren’t necessarily trained in data science, but use Big Data tools to analyse and create data. They are skilled business intelligence analysts who augment their existing knowledge with automated techniques. Through equipping their analysts in this way, organisations can gain more access to data sources and different types of information. In the face of talent shortages, the development of tech enabled roles like citizen data scientists are part of reskilling strategies. Reskilling brings wider capabilities to existing resources without requiring an overhaul of staff or systems.

IT research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that demand for citizen data scientists will increase five times quicker than demand for traditional data scientists. This is perhaps unsurprising, as they bridge the gap between automated and advanced analytics, and offer a simplified form of data science that employees can understand and use. Even so, citizen data scientists are not intended to replace data scientists. Instead, they will allow data scientists to explore innovative data methods and make the most of metrics.

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