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Companies in dire need of data analysts

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The popularity of data analytics is growing but companies are finding it a challenge to fill these niche roles.

With the exception of China, a report by Accenture found the US, India, the UK, Japan Brazil and Singapore will face a shortage of PhD graduates qualified for analytics scientist jobs by 2015, Financial Times reported.

The US business school journal said this is because it is hard to find employees with the rare combination of skills, which are “a hybrid of data hacker, analyst, communicator and trusted adviser”.

“Graduates with the right kinds of backgrounds for data scientist – computer science, statistics, machine learning – are coming out of the universities, but they are not coming out in sufficient numbers,” Brian McCarthy, executive director of Accenture’s financial services analytics practice in North America, said.

Despite 60% of companies resorting to third party vendors to support the demand for data analytics, many organisations are still struggling to meet the demand.

“A decent data analyst should have the requisite skills to move into analytics, perhaps learning or receive training on the job. IT professionals are beginning to be aware that the big data sector is becoming important, and they are asking, how do I get these skills?” a report by information technology specialists Cititec said.

But McCarthy said the process of preparing current professionals for data analytics roles is more complex than it seems, as on-the-job training can only do so much.

“The challenge is that it’s not just a matter of learning new tools – there is also mindset shift required,” he said.

“That’s proving even more challenging for IT organisations, especially if they have people who grew up with the technology of the 1990s and the 2000s. In many cases, it’s easier to bring in new people than to attempt to retrofit an existing workforce,” McCarthy added.

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