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By Megan Yates

2 min read

So, you’ve decided to start your data science journey. That’s great news. Assuming you’ve weighed up the pros and cons of hiring vs other options (if not, have a read of our previous blog), you’re now in the market to hire a data scientist, or three.

How To Make Sure You Hire The Best Data Science Talent

There are several reasons why hiring data science talent is not straight forward. I’ve listed three of the main reasons below, along with my tips for getting past these hurdles, almost effortlessly.

1. Writing a job specification is not a simple task

You need to define the role within the context of your own organisation. You need a data science skill set that will closely match the needs of your organisation. For example, if your company has key processes involving images, make sure your first hire has expertise and solid experience in processing that data type. Your first data science hire should be a master, with experience relevant to your organisation rather than a generalist. Although many data scientists excel at picking up new techniques, hiring a generalist first-off may cost you time.

2. There are several online programs but almost no industry standards or benchmarks

Your data science applicants will come with degrees in maths, computer science or related fields, and they’ll probably have spent time completing online data science courses. But this won’t give you any information on whether they’re highly competent data scientists or not. Look out for examples where they can really prove their capabilities - like their rankings on online data science competition platforms. Or if you’re up for it, you can check, out their Github repository.

3. Interviews run by people who are not data scientists might be too superficial

Data scientists are smart. That’s why you’re hiring them. They know their field, possibly a lot better than you do. So they will be able to ace an easy interview. You need to make the interview process tough. If you think it’s tough already, make it a bit tougher. You need to make sure that your new hire really knows what they’re doing. It’s worth putting effort into a rigorous, structured interview process that covers both theory and practical skills.

Good. Now you’re ready to go out and hire, without these hurdles tripping you up. If all of this sounds a bit daunting, and you’d like some help hiring, give us a shout. We’re experts at helping companies set up data teams well from the start.

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About Author

Megan founded Ixio in 2012 after seeing a need for strong, data-led modelling and analytics in business. As Chief Scientist at Ixio Analytics, Megan leads our advanced modelling programs and coordinates the technical requirements for our clients. Her background in Evolutionary Biology allows her to bring a rigorous scientific approach to analytical problem solving. Megan is highly regarded in the industry and contributes regularly to data and analytics conferences, both locally and internationally. She takes a keen interest in environmental issues and is an avid surfer.

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