Being a Data Scientist can be an extremely fulfilling career doing valuable work. It is the top professional position on the Glassdoor, Indeed and Linkedin marketplaces. As with every good thing, though, there are downsides. Here are the most commonly cited Data Scientist frustrations.
All-in-One Super Hero
You are an EXPERT in business, data, programming and statistics and are a GREAT communicator and leader. IMPOSSIBLE! If need be, you can learn what you need to know online and the machine will do most of the hard stuff for you. UNREALISTIC! You can pull magic tricks out of your computer to increase revenues and reduce expenses, five minutes ago. NOT!
Expectations and Reality are Different
Data Scientists love their job when they solve complex problems with cool techniques that make a huge impact on their company. When the needed infrastructure isn’t in place, many Data Scientists spend their time cleaning data, pulling data and generating reports. Not complex, not cool and not impactful.
Messy data of 1 million lines and 100+ variables is far different from what your boss worked on for her social science or business master’s thesis. The magnitude of the difficulty and the time needed to deal with this data is significant. Data Scientist’s often deal with a push to release work that is not ready or not properly vetted and that could be misleading. Advocating for time to do it right and with appropriate statistical rigor is a challenge.
The need to do simple projects for the “right people” to improve the perception of you and your services can consume more time than doing the right projects for the best business results. Even worse is doing analysis to support decisions that the “right people” want. It takes personal integrity to stick to presenting results that are accurate but may not be popular.
Because of the lack of understanding of your skill set, the work you do can be very isolating. Integrating your skill set into collaborative projects in your enterprise is a challenge that becomes a requirement for generating successful, impactful results.
The right leadership in your group and your organization is critical for success. Leaders who overestimate what a Data Scientist can do for them, “Give me the ultimate answers to my questions,” and leaders who underestimate what you can do for them, “Just give me the reports,” can equally limit your ability to do good work.