The Path Forward For Data Scientists
Over the coming years, I foresee data scientists dividing into at least five types of workers:
1. Generalists: The first group will be data science generalists, who will interpret data and make it usable. These generalists will focus on educating end users, helping users ask questions of the data rather than finding all the answers themselves. This will likely be a transitional role, more common in five years than in ten.
2. Industry specialists: The second and largest group will comprise industry specialists, who will apply data science techniques and tools in specific verticals like manufacturing, medical sciences and finance. This is where I believe the bulk of the jobs will be. However, these won’t be considered data science jobs. This worker won’t be a data scientist who understands manufacturing but rather a manufacturing leader who understands data science. Today’s equivalent is the researcher who is a statistics ace.
3. Deep specialists: The third and smallest group will be deep specialists in specific data science technologies. This is where the remaining pure data science jobs will be. Their role will be pursuing data science in the abstract, improving the performance of algorithms and designing new generalized approaches. They will be like today’s computer scientists, building theoretical foundations rather than solving everyday problems.