You’ve heard enough about analytics and data science and all the buzz around with it. It seems like a great career option, which it is, and a perfect way to switch jobs and domains. But where do you begin? How to chart a career path in analytics?
We spoke to Sayandeb Banerjee, Co-founder & CEO of The Math Company, who has 20+ years of experience in the field of analytics. When asked what are the skills that he would like to see students develop, Sayandeb says, “With analytics getting more popular in colleges in the past few years, we are seeing professionals coming into their first jobs in a much better state than people used to earlier. However, with the increase in buzzwords in the analytics field, there has been an avalanche of information overload. While upskilling with technical skills has been the primary focus for many, there needs to be a focused effort in bridging the gap that exists between business and practitioners. Skills like output-oriented thinking, empathy towards the business stakeholders, amongst other soft skills need to be developed.”
He couldn’t be more right. Analytics professionals are expected to, rather need to, understand the business context of the data they are analysing and building models for. They also need to be able to convey the outcome of the analysis in a manner that answers the business problem. These have become key skills for every analytics professional.
The analytics market in India is booming. In fact, India is a leading market for analytics services. “Even though the analytical maturity varies across industries, there has been a shift in recognizing the fact that “Analytics” has moved from a “good-to-have” to a “must-have” function within organizations. India has catered to a sizable portion of the global demand, but recent times have seen the emergence of competitive players from Eastern Europe and SE Asia. India needs to chant a new mantra that caters to the true and future needs of the analytics market. Innovation in the deployment of analytics and developing capabilities to work off the edge of invention would play a crucial role in the future.” says Sayandeb.
The opportunities are numerous, and scope of growth is high. Sayandeb gives a word of advice on how organizations are hiring for analytics talent. He says, “In the last 10 years, we have seen the lack of analytics practitioners become less and less relevant in India. However, quantity doesn’t translate to overall quality. The gap between demand and supply at an analyst’s level continues to exist but in varying degrees. The variations are a result of the vast differences in the analytics-maturity across organizations. Mature organizations tend to seek people from a smaller pool of well-formed individuals who know more than just the latest tools and techniques. Organizations wanting to truly extract maximum value from their analytics efforts look for people who are more adaptable to change and understand the application of analytics to their business and mostly importantly, these organizations ensure a similar mindset across all levels of hierarchy.”
Working in the field of analytics requires a healthy dose of know-how of the tools and techniques, as well as a strong understanding of the business domain. At the end of the day, the data has to drive the business – and hence understanding the business market is a crucial skill that will set apart some great analytics professionals.