Data science is an excellent way to improve your business operations, increase your business capacity, lower costs, and automate diverse business processes. And when it comes to DS, companies can choose two options. They can build an in-house data science department or go with an external Data Science consulting company. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the latter option.
First off, we have to mention that data consulting companies also hire data scientists and data, science consultants. They are usually experienced in diverse business sectors and prepared to work in different environments (B2B, B2C, NGO, etc.).
Data science consultants are at the forefront concerning cooperation with the client. Their role is to educate clients, communicate with them, present the results of the company’s work, and help them make the most of data science.
What skills does a data science consultant need?
For starters, data science consultants need to have a wide range of business knowledge and experience. They have to know how their clients operate, what their goals are, and how they can be achieved. Frequently, data science consultants are involved in the sales process; therefore, they ought to have some relevant soft skills, including communication, negotiations, flexibility, analytical thinking, and a problem-solving attitude.
Data science consultants work closely with data scientists and software engineers. Therefore, they need to understand the entire data analytics subject as thoroughly as possible. It is always vital to understand machine learning, big data, software development, and artificial intelligence in general.
Moreover, understanding the tools and technologies used in these fields can also help you in everyday work. Mind you; DS consultants are sometimes part of the analytics teams. Therefore, you need at least basic technical knowledge:
Most likely, you won’t be directly responsible for analyzing data, but you definitely should possess some technical knowledge, just for the sake of understanding your colleagues. Data science consultants ought to know something about big data platforms, cloud computing tools and services, and data storage solutions (data warehouses and data lakes).
BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE & ACUMEN
We believe that this is one of the fundamental skills for every data science consultant. One can’t forget that the ultimate goal of every data analytics activity is to turn big data into useful business knowledge. That’s why consultants need to understand how business and market work.
In the perfect situation, DS consultant has at least basic knowledge in:
- Customer service
- Project management
- Client’s operations and industry
We’ve already mentioned that facet of every data science consultant’s work, but let’s take a closer look at them. First of all, you need soft skills to present the results of your company’s work in plain, understandable language. The clients don’t have to understand the industry jargon. Therefore DS consultants need to “translate” their words into a legible message.
At this point, storytelling skills might come in handy, given that analyzing data is rarely an exciting endeavor. On many occasions, you have to think about the ways to make your findings interesting or at least beneficial for your client’s company. Storytelling is what helps you present your insight engagingly.
Furthermore, bear in mind that you will talk to people with different knowledge, working in various departments, on different levels. Every time, you have to adjust your message so that it’s appealing to the specific audience.
Lastly, we have the aforementioned problem-solving attitude. Why is this one relevant? Sooner or later, a conflict or misunderstanding will happen. And you will likely be responsible for talking to the client and presenting them with different options and possibilities.
In fact, the problem-solving approach is your best bet when it comes to various aspects of everyday work. For the same reason, you should also develop out-of-the-box thinking. It will help you find optimal solutions to common problems and issues.
Obviously, it would be best if you had at least a bachelor’s degree in math, computer science, or statistics. It’s even better if you can show your potential employer a master’s degree in these fields. It is undoubtedly a considerable advantage that will help you get ahead of other candidates.
What does a data science consultant actually do?
Now, let’s talk about the everyday duties and responsibilities of data science consultants. The typical list of your tasks looks as follows:
- Working closely with data scientists, software engineers, and business intelligence specialists
- Participating in the sales process, which can comprise writing proposals, answering the RFPs, making presentations, and participating in meetings with prospects.
- Working closely with a client: That includes understanding their needs, creating data pipelines, communicating the insights and work results, and solving potential problems.
- Working with dashboards and data visualization tools
- Assisting in building predictive models
Also, you have to acknowledge that consulting companies have their working cultures which can vary. For example, think about business trips. Of course, in the covid-19 times, they are limited to a minimum, and the vast majority of meetings happen online. But sooner or later, covid will no longer be such a concern, and the need to travel around the world can emerge.
For some, it’s a huge advantage, whilst others consider it a major flaw. The truth is that working with data means working with people–your coworkers and clients. This also translated directly to corporate politics. You have to work for your rightful place in the company, especially when you’re at the very beginning of your career.
As you can see, a data science consulting is an extensive area of expertise. The main reason is that a data science consultant should be a reliable counselor who deeply understands their client’s position. Of course, no one is omniscient; that’s why it’s vital to develop an area of specialization. If your company works primarily for medical companies, go in this direction.
Find out how pharmaceutical and healthcare work, what kind of data they need and process, what their goals and common challenges are. That’s the best way to get ahead and become a successful data science consultant. For more information, visit the Addepto Data Science Consulting page.