In April 2015, Gartner coined the expression “Citizen Data Scientist” and, as everything Gartner says, it quickly became a buzzword in the Business Intelligence industry. It raises a couple of questions: Is this a real thing? Who are the Citizen Data Scientists? Can I become one? (I read that Data Scientist is the sexiest job of the 21st century.)
Citizen Data Scientist – Cool, but not so sexy
Last year, Alexander Linden, a research analyst from Gartner, defined “Citizen Data Scientist” as “a person who creates or generates models that leverage predictive or prescriptive analytics but whose primary job function is outside of the field of statistics and analytics.”
In a simpler way, Citizen Data Scientists are users who went tired of looking to the same dashboards and reports and want to explore data themselves.
This new type of Data Scientists appeared for two main reasons: first, the volume of data and the need for extracting insights from it are quickly increasing and secondly, it is hard and expensive to hire data scientists.Till 2017, the number of Citizen Data Scientists will grow 5 times faster than Data Scientists - Gartner Click To Tweet
Put away the torches Data Scientists, you don’t need to go hunting on your less trained counterparts, they are not here to replace you. Citizen Data Scientists are not the same and don’t have the same capabilities that Data Scientists have. (If you want to have the sexiest job on earth, you still have to go study math, statistics and so on.)
But data and analytics are so important to companies that it can’t be something that lays in the hands of a few experts. That model doesn’t work, it just led us to report queues, high waiting times and well, you know how it goes.
The goal now is to enable business users to include analytics as part of their job, encouraging the use of analytics as a tool.
What does a Citizen Data Scientist do?
Citizen Data Scientists can be in any department and have any role within organizations. These users might be involved in every aspect of data discovery. Starting with data preparation, to exploratory analysis, visualization and finally putting insights into action.
It sounds complex, but it isn’t and chances are you are already doing it. Let me give you an example.
Just last week we had a board meeting, this is pretty normal as we are a startup. As head of marketing, I had to prepare the data, explore it, look for answers to explain the results, choose visualization and create dashboards. I did it by myself and I don’t have a background of data analysis, statistics or special IT skills. Does this make me a Citizen Data Scientist? If it does, high five to me.
How is this possible?
The one thing you need to become a Citizen Data Scientist
Years ago having non-techie people performing analytics wasn’t possible, simply because there wasn’t technology supporting it.
This wave of self-service BI tools that automates the most complex parts of data analysis like data prep and pattern identification increase the number and variety of tasks business users can perform by themselves.I guess becoming a Citizen Data Scientist can be as easy as the BI tool you have in hands. Click To Tweet
Plus, it really helps working in a company that encourage more analytical approaches to business issues and understands the positive outcome from having Citizen Data Scientists: people that are closer to business and therefore closer to finding the answers a company wants from its data.
If you want to check the BI tool making me a Citizen Data Scientist just click on the banner.