That’s according to P.K. Agarwal, regional dean and CEO of Northeastern University’s recently formed Silicon Valley campus, who says big data professionals so far have commonly handled everything from data cleaning to analytics, and from Hadoop to Apache Spark.
“It’s like medicine,” said Agarwal, who at one time was California’s CTO under former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “You start to get specialties.”
That brings us to today’s data-scientist shortage. Highly trained data scientists are now in acute demand as organizations awash in data look for meaning in all those petabytes. In part as a response to this, other professionals are learning the skills to answer at least some of those questions for themselves, earning the informal title ofcitizen data scientist.
“The profession is subdividing,” Agarwal said.
The result is that there’s now a multipronged approach to both tools and education.
“It used to be that anybody who was in the business world needed to learn PowerPoint and Excel,” Agarwal said. “Probably five years from now, Microsoft Office will have something combining Excel, R and Tableau. It’s just natural. If there’s this new class of citizen data analysts, they’re going to need new tools.”