By now you may have heard the news that Dominic Cummings, the Chief Special Advisor to our Prime Minister has called for Data Scientists and Software Developers to help them reshape the UK state. No small task I might add and while it reads as slightly satirical, we have something to say about it. Posted in a personal blog last week, Cummings called for ‘an unusual set of people with different skills and backgrounds to work in Downing Street with the best officials, some as spads [special advisors] and perhaps some as officials’. He expressed a strong preference for those with STEM experience to fix historic issues in government to which he refers to as profound problems that sit at the core of how the British state makes decisions. Citing Brexit and recent changes to legislation, Cummings spoke of a huge amount of low-hanging fruit lying on the street in the intersection of Data Science, AI and cognitive technologies that could be used to improve policy and project management. Sticking to a very brief, brief – the Chief Special Advisor has offered ‘a rough set of categories’; Data scientists and software developersEconomistsPolicy expertsProject managersCommunication expertsJunior researchers one of whom will also be my personal assistantWeirdos and misfits with odd skillsAsking only for applications from those with exceptional academic qualifications from one of the world’s best universities or evidence of doing something that demonstrates equivalent skills, a PhD or MSc, outstanding mathematical skills and experiences of using analytical skills – I can’t help but question their understanding of Data Science as Data Scientists cannot be categorised, especially not in this manner. We recently produced a white paper to determine what the Ideal Data Scientist looked like and interviewed more than 1,000 professionals in the space to help us get there. Not only did we discover that there was no such thing as an ‘ideal’ Data Scientist but we also discovered, there were several debates being had over the salary, experience, education, age and location of the ‘ideal’ professional. Taking Education as an example, 50% of hiring managers believe a Data Scientist should have at least one PhD and 46% believe they should have no degree education at all, rather, being self-taught with practical and hands-on experience. This means that from a recruitment perspective, Data Scientists are tremendously hard to find and a very specific list of requirements including a PhD in my opinion, is not likely to produce the right pool of candidates – especially not when placed alongside weirdos and misfits with odd skills. Please follow the link below for access to the paper but in the meantime, I’d love to hear your opinion – do you think Cummings is on the right track with his hiring efforts? Download our white paper
07 Jan 2020
With an increased awareness in the protection and abuse of our personal data, it’s now commonplace to find the words ‘ethical’ and ‘moral’ thrown into everyday conversations about data but, while we need to be having this conversation, do we all understand what it means? The debate about ethics is vital. As technology professionals we carry a responsibility to not just protect the data we come into contact with but also reassure the professionals, consumers and spectators that sit outside of the industry – that we’re the good guys. But, what I find fascinating is not perhaps the debate itself but rather, the disparity in definitions of ‘Ethical Data’ and how drastically they can differ. I started thinking about this almost a year ago when we produced our first tech-focused white paper on the Human Face of Data Science. It was an interview with former Data Science lead at NASA, Adi Andrei who really got me thinking about this human side of data, not just the humans effected by poor use of data but how the philosophy of it can have a huge impact on society. He spoke about the fear-factor of data and how implications of roles being replaced with robots does nothing to help our economy, instead it produces resentment to innovation and leaves professionals questioning their survivability in a modern age. Adi suggested that we as professionals have a responsibility to promote technology as an empowering tool and not a debilitating one. He also spoke about the responsibility he has as a Data Scientist to work solely with ‘ethical companies’. This means not working with organisations who abuse the data you waive the rights to or who abuse your behavioural traits and translate them into profit. While this seems like a simple explanation of ‘Ethical Data’ some people have very different definitions. Some for instance believe that by simply delving into this data, without using it, is unethical as it abuses the privacy of its owner but I’m not sure I agree with this one. For me, that’s the magic of data, being able to delve into the behavioural habits behind spending and the psychology behind clicks to come up with the answers to a whole host of things - but this doesn't mean it has to be abused. I agree with Adi that we all have a responsibility to be ethical, righteous and sensitive with the data that falls in our laps but that shouldn't have to restrict us. I attended Big Data LDN this week and was wowed by some of the incredible technology and tools on display – a giant Pac Man amongst other things – but the thing that really blew my mind was a company called TIBCO which through analytic insights is able to monitor Lewis Hamilton as he is driving. The behaviours and decisions behind the manoeuvres in order to present him with different ways to drive faster, push harder and be better. This for me was magic but others may deem it as unethical. I’d like to hear your thoughts on ‘Ethical Data’ – what does it mean to you?
18 Nov 2019
Senior Commercial Analyst £45,000 - £50,000 per annum + bonus + benefits package Buckinghamshire Senior Data Scientist £600 - £650 per day London Enterprise Security Architect Negotiable UK wide Back End Developer (AEM) £375 - £550 per day Edinburgh Finance Analytics Manager £70,000 - £75,000 per annum + bonus + benefits packageSurrey Senior Business and Data Analyst £475 - £525 per day Hampshire Finance Manager £60,000 - £70,000 per annum London A wider selection of current vacancies can be viewed on our opportunities page or get in touch for a confidential discussion about how Stanton House can help you hire great people or assist with your own career goals.
25 Sep 2019
Tech people are known for two things. Being expert in all things technology of course but also, being adaptable. Being able to change with the time, the tools and the people. As we know technology moves at a rapid pace and the world hasn’t quite caught up but it’s the job of the technology professional to move our businesses and our attitudes towards the technology along. The problem technology professionals have however is with the latter of the two – changing mindset. More and more of my candidate pool tell me that despite being employed to implement new technology or help the organisation become more data-driven, they are being told technology isn’t important. It’s either irrelevant, unnecessary or something that ‘doesn’t apply to them’ as they are already perceive their business to be successful. Despite technology being at the forefront of all of our conversations, it’s still being treated as if it’s something out of this world, unneeded or something we just aren’t ready for yet. Organisations either welcome the change but don’t know what to do with it or tell their hired help to stick with the basics but, rather than balancing the books – they’re jeopardising their revenue generating potential. The future is technology and leaders aren’t always able to see the benefits of bringing in innovation and as a result, technology professionals are finding it hard to change mindset and influence change. I’m keen to hear your thoughts on the matter – are you a technology professional working for an organisation that lacks innovation or the ability to see that it matters? Or, are you struggling to change mindset or influence change?
13 Aug 2019