Reasons Data Scientists Under Perform in Their Job

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In a 2019 survey conducted by LinkedIn, 91% of talent acquisition professionals felt soft skills are the most important trend in career development. The top five soft skills in demand relative to supply are: Creativity, Persuasion, Collaboration, Adaptability and Time Management. Data Scientists under perform in their jobs by not excelling at these same five skills.

Dominic Ligot, Chief Technology Officer at CirroLytix, offered a terrific summary of how data scientists under perform in a recent Quora.com post. This is a summary of that post.


Did not completely grasp the problem to be solved and went off on the wrong tangent, or unable to work beyond algorithms and analysis they have used before.


Lacked the ability to tell a compelling story. An inability to relate their results clearly to non-technical audiences.


Couldn’t divorce themselves from hands-on doing the job, to more effectively leading the team to do the job.


Over obsessing about the perfection of the statistics, the imperfection of the data, the annoyance of talking to clients or the lack of appreciation for their work to the detriment of client and project objectives.

Time Management

Managing expectations and adhering to project milestones is critical for any data scientist to be successful.


Dominic added one more skill issue where data scientists under perform.


More keen on showing off their knowledge of various algorithms than solving the client’s problems.

Of course, this assumes a technical skill set of statistics and software as a minimum basis for data scientist performance. None of these six skills are impossible to achieve, but it does take effort and even some specialized coaching from mentors or professionals to change with the goal of stopping data scientists under performance.

Interested in hiring a high performing data scientist or looking for a data scientist role yourself? Contact the Data Science and Analytics Recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates.

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