Harvard Business Review: Data Scientists are Sexy

If this pick-up line gets your central processing unit in a twist, proceed with caution—the nerdery only gets thicker. The October issue of The Harvard Business Review, crowned “data scientist” the Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.

For a company to collect the vast oceans of data available without someone to parse it would be like someone with a lactose-intolerance winning a lifetime supply of ice cream: it’s useless without the right digestive aid. Data scientists make sure businesses don’t end up with a stomachache.

Not your traditional statisticians, these Renaissance men and women of the big data age are equal parts hacker, analyst, mad scientist, storyteller, and advisor. Just as Captain Kirk relied on Spock for guidance, a CEO would do well to keep their data scientist “on the bridge,” absorbing data and suggesting a course of action for the enterprise (Starship or corporate kind).

That data scientists are finding the spotlight doesn’t surprise us—what company wouldn’t love and laud a skills-mash-up wunderkind suggesting ways to improve products and processes?

While universities race to churn out fresh talent to meet businesses’ ever-growing demand, what makes a data scientist so sexy is the rare and naturally-occurring “habits of mind” such a person possesses. Authors Thomas H. Davenport and D.J. Patil provide a caretaker’s guide: A data scientist needs freedom to explore and experiment; they function best with big expectations; and they won’t be content muttering dire predictions from a back room.

At Rhiza, we’ve always known that data and the revelations our customers get from it is sexy. Our easy-to-use tools allow media giants, such as Comcast and Cox Media, as well as national brands like PepsiCo, to act confidently on their own, capitalizing on the deep customer insights they uncover with Rhiza. Like a Swiss Army Knife in your back pocket, Rhiza makes sure you have the information you need to get the job done.

You know what they say about sexy? Don’t hide it. We certainly don’t. We’ve been making big data sexy long before black rim glasses and flannel were the uniform and HBR mainstreamed it.