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Emerging Skills for Data Scientists and Where Those Skills Are Hottest

March 16, 2016 by Joshua Wright

There are foundational skills every data scientist needs to have in his or her back pocket: statistics and statistical modeling, programming, database technology. But there are also a number of emerging skills in the data science field—skills we can glean from employers’ online job postings.

In this post, we’ll focus on five emerging data science skills, all of which link in one way or another to programming, statistics, or database management:

  • Machine learning
  • Natural language processing
  • Artificial neural networks
  • Apache Hadoop
  • SAS software

It’s helpful for higher education institutions to have a good grasp on these and other emerging skills as they develop academic programs that address employer demand. As with any data, we recommend colleges and universities engage with local employers to vet these trends. Job postings, particularly the skills embedded in them, can be very insightful for educators, but they are just one way some businesses recruit talent.

Machine Learning

This one could easily fit in the foundational category as a core programming skill. Yet there’s no doubt it’s emerging too, judged solely by the occurrences of this term as a unique skill in job postings.

Machine learning is the most unique skill for data scientists—just ahead of data mining and algorithms—and it’s becoming more common in job postings. Occurrences of machine learning for data scientists in Emsi’s job postings grew threefold from March 2014 to January 2016 (from fewer than 300 to 1,165).

Skills Data Maps-02Emerging Titles?

The following job titles are trending the most over the last six months for machine learning and data science:

  • Director of Data Management
  • Hadoop DevOps Engineer
  • Analytics Manager
  • Business Intelligence Developer

Where?

The following are cities where occurrences of machine learning for data scientists are most unique in job postings:

  • Seattle
  • Palo Alto, Calif.
  • San Francisco
  • New York
  • Santa Clara, Calif.
  • Redmond, Wash.
  • Sunnyvale, Calif.
  • Cambridge, Mass.

Note: The above map lists 10 cities where this skill is uniquely represented; most of these 10 are clustered in the Bay Area and Seattle.

Which Companies?

The companies below are posting the most job ads for data scientists that include machine learning as a skill:

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Rocket Fuel Inc.
  • Quantcast Corp.
Natural Language Processing

Same as machine learning, natural language processing fits in the programming category—and it’s also growing as a unique skill in job postings for data scientists. Just in the last few months of our analysis period (August 2015 to January 2016), occurrences of natural language processing roughly doubled.

Why are natural language processing skills in demand? The same reason as machine learning and artificial neural networks (see below) are hot skills: Businesses are looking to find computational techniques to solve business problems. For more on these programming skills, check out this helpful post from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ emerging technology blog.

Skills Data Maps-03Emerging Titles?

The following job titles are trending the most over the last six months for natural language processing and data science:

  • Business Intelligence Developer
  • PHP Developer
  • Process Analyst

Where?

The following are cities where occurrences of natural language processing for data scientists are most unique in job postings:

  • Sunnyvale, Calif.
  • Seattle
  • New York
  • Cambridge, Mass.
  • San Francisco

Note: The above map lists 10 cities where this skill is uniquely represented; most of these 10 are clustered in the Bay Area and Seattle.

Which Companies?

The companies below are posting the most job ads for data scientists that include natural language processing as a skill:

  • Amazon
  • Bloomberg
  • Yahoo! Search Marketing Group
  • MapR Inc.
Artificial Neural Networks

Another important programming skill, artificial neural networks shows up the least often in job postings among the five emerging data science skills. But it’s the fastest-growing unique skill among these five.

Skills Data Maps-04Emerging Titles?

The following job titles are trending the most over the last six months for artificial neural networks and data science:

  • Hadoop DevOps Engineer
  • C/C++ Developer
  • Systems Engineer

Where?

The following are cities where occurrences of artificial neural networks for data scientists are most unique in job postings:

  • Redwood City, Calif.
  • Monterey, Calif.
  • Seattle
  • St. Louis
  • San Diego

Which Companies?

The companies below are posting the most job ads for data scientists that include artificial neural networks as a skill:

  • American Express Company
  • Rocket Fuel Inc.
  • Millennial Media
  • Grubhub, Inc.
Apache Hadoop

Apache Hadoop is an open-source framework that allows for the storage and processing of really big data. Among the five emerging skills we are discussing, Apache Hadoop is the second-most common in job postings for data scientists, behind machine learning. It’s also closely related to other common data science skills like Hadoop MapReduce (a programming model for large-scale data processing that fits in the Apache Hadoop framework).

Emerging Titles?

Skills Data Maps-05The following job titles are trending the most over the last six months for Apache Hadoop and data science:

  • Hadoop DevOps Engineer
  • Data Architect
  • Cloud Engineer Architect

Where?

The following are cities where occurrences of Apache Hadoop for data scientists are most unique in job postings:

  • San Bruno, Calif.
  • San Francisco
  • Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Santa Clara, Calif.
  • New York

Which Companies?

The companies below are posting the most job ads for data scientists that include Apache Hadoop as a skill:

  • Groupon, Inc.
  • Chegg, Inc.
  • MapR Inc.
  • Khan Academy
SAS Software

SAS is a common statistical software suite among data scientists. As a unique skill listed in job postings, it’s enjoyed a steady rise since midway through 2015. In January 2016, SAS was mentioned in job postings for data scientists over 400 times—up from 100 occurrences in March 2014.

Skills Data Maps-06Emerging Titles?

The following job titles are trending the most over the last six months for SAS and data science:

  • Statistical Analyst
  • SAS Analyst
  • Business Intelligence Developer

Where?

The following are cities where occurrences of SAS for data scientists are most unique in job postings:

  • Redmond, Wash.
  • McLean, Va.
  • Chicago
  • Dearborn, Mich.
  • Menlo Park, Calif.

Which Companies?

The companies below are posting the most job ads for data scientists that include SAS software as a skill:

  • IBM
  • Teradata Corp.
  • The Nielson Company
  • Facebook

To get more insights from Emsi’s job posting analytics, contact us. Follow Emsi on Twitter (@DesktopEcon) or check us out on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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