Defining a data scientist as a unicorn who can code, build software, manage big data, model and do even more sophisticated statistical analysis and explain all of this to a non-technical audience is going to drive the role right out of existence, or standardize the role to the point that the interesting part of the data scientist role will be done by MBAs.
What needs to happen to stop this commoditization?
STOP Requiring the Data Scientist to be a Production Coder
Data scientists should be focused on modeling not creating software. R, Python and SQL are very good tools and can do the modeling to make scripts to pass on to the production coders using C#, C++ or Java.
STOP having the Data Scientist Clean the Data
Hiring a data scientist unicorn with advanced analytical skills is wasted if you don’t have the support needed to prepare the data for effective research. Cleaning and preparing the data should be another role within the organization, perhaps under the data scientist, but not part of their job.
STOP the Complete Acceptance of Non-traditional Educational Credentials
The rise of boot camps and MOOC’s has increased the number of people calling themselves data scientists, but is their training adequate to correctly assess statistical significance and alternative analytical strategies? Automated machine learning platforms and other statistical standardization can turn a minimally trained analytic professional into a functional data scientist, but, perhaps, not an insightful one.
STOP the Exclusion of the Data Scientist from the Executive Roundtable
The best data scientists can apply their skills to solve problems or create opportunities in their organizations, but a seat on the executive team will give them the exposure to impact those problems and opportunities quicker and more comprehensively. Of course, the data scientist has to have the business acumen and communication skills to interact effectively with this non-technical senior staff.
STOP Thinking of the Data Scientist as a Mindless Code Geek
A data scientist is a businessperson who has terrific programming and analytical skills. With this change in approach you will have a successful first step in utilizing them effectively.