What is a Citizen Data Scientist?

After hearing about the new advances in machine learning in your industry, you might be excited to start exploring how implementing data-driven initiatives can help your company drive efficiencies.

Then, you realize this means you need more data scientists than you presently have on staff, and with an average industry salary of $121k, this is a lot to stomach. This expense is even harder on an enterprise when we see that the average tenure of a data scientist is less than one year.

Enter: The Citizen Data Scientist

A citizen data scientist is described by Forrester as “a business person who aspires to use data science techniques such as machine learning to discover new insights and create predictive models to improve business outcomes.”

Why have a citizen data scientist?

Data scientists are an expensive asset to your team, and IBM anticipates we will need a further 28% more data scientists worldwide by 2020 to cope with the increased need. 

When digging into a data scientist’s responsibilities, you’ll find that they spend nearly 80% of their time preparing and managing data for analysis.

Instead of putting an over-qualified resource to work on data preparation and cleaning tasks, citizen data scientists can collaborate with your data scientists on data feature creation, helping you to get the most out of your resources.

Take it from Dataiku, “the single easiest way to make your data scientists more efficient so they can release more machine learning models and work on more AI projects is to allow their work to be easily supported by data analysts.”

In addition to taking a load off your data scientists’ shoulders, your citizen data scientists can bring an outsider’s business-side perspective to data science.

How do we find a citizen data scientist?

Finding a citizen data scientist doesn’t have to consist of going out and hiring a net new resource; you likely can utilize a resource already on your team.

Someone who has a title like business analyst, data analyst, systems analyst, business consultant, or reporting analyst, and is skilled in Excel, SQL, statistics, and data visualization tools is an excellent candidate for a citizen data scientist.

By reskilling or upskilling employees to take on enhanced data roles, your organization can make better use of data, which leads to both cost savings through increased efficiency and competitiveness through access and use of your data.

With the rise of machine learning, data scientists are an increasingly sought-after resource. However, they’re also an increasingly expensive resource.

Explore upskilling or reskilling current employees to enable them to take on additional data science activities, specifically tasks such as data preparation and management.

Grab our guide to learn more about the citizen data scientist and how you can upskill your team.

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