What Is Business Data Science?
What is Business Data Science?
Business data science is a quickly emerging field that combines the technical skills of data science with business savviness to extract value from data. Both small and big data can be explored by business data scientists to extract useful information and apply it to business solutions.
Today, modern businesses are investing significant resources in data collection and data exploration. Moreover, because the economy becomes more and more digital, data has risen as a new form of currency. So, companies will spend thousands on acquiring data. However, they still need a skilled professional to analyze the enormous amounts of data and draw business insights.
How does it compare to other fields?
Have you heard of data science? Business data science is a sister field to data science. The field of data science is highly interdisciplinary and complex, but at its core relies on methods and systems to extract insights from a variety of data types and sources. Data science itself is a new field, only emerging in the early 2000s after increased internet presence and web applications started to produce significant amounts of data. So, companies started investing more into the research and development focused areas of machine learning and neural nets.
Lately, a new field emerged, which is called business data science. Business data science and data science are different fields because they have different aims. Data science is largely concerned with the nature and research of data as a scientific field, whereas business data science is goal-oriented with providing business insights that help direct a business’s long-term decisions. Businesses in many industries have recognized the incredible wealth of knowledge hidden in data, especially useful for marketing and sales studies.
Experienced business data scientists can contribute to extraction of such information as bounce rate, click-through conversion, the success of their call to action, demographics of users and clients, insights from customer reviews and the success or failure of marketing campaigns. The company can then utilize the findings to find ways to innovate and improve their products and services. Business data scientists and data scientists might even work together on a solution. For instance, today businesses have a strong interest in understanding future risks – data scientists that can examine data, and identify and prevent potential risky outcomes or decisions are exceptionally valuable.
Though companies might prefer individual with great technical skills, knowledge of the business sector is essential for the applicant. Where business analysts are not always expected to have deep knowledge of the field due to the general nature of their profession, business data scientists benefit greatly from their business acumen. Business analysts have a large and diverse set of tools they use to achieve common ground and help driving change in the internal business processes. Depending on their background and skills, they can also take on simpler tasks to analyze the data. Although business data scientists also strive to help the business achieve a meaningful change, they do that by working with the data scientists and data-focused teams, so the skills expected from them is also different.
When this information is well-understood by a professional or team of professionals, they can make intelligent conclusions based on the data. These conclusions are drawn up in regular reports, either daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Much of a business data scientist’s day is spent drafting and editing these reports, which are then presented to managers and executives. It’s very important the business data scientist is capable of writing easy to understand reports, to educate and convince the decision-makers on how to best change their methods to attract more customers and increase sales.
Business Data Scientist Skills
If you are asking yourself what is business data science, congratulations! Chances are you already have some prerequisites to become a skilled professional in the area. So, as you might have already guessed, business data science lies at the intersection between the two fields: business and data science. Any skilled professional will have well-honed skills in each of these fields and are able to combine them harmoniously to provide value to the company they work for.
Data science skills are technical in nature and usually require a combination of higher education, practical experience. Degrees that would benefit during the job include Computer Science, Data Science, Statistics and Mathematics. Business data scientists, on the contrary, can be self-taught or have skills learned on the job. They do though also need to have practical experience in the field, even if not as complex or deep. Below are some of the technical skills a potential employer will likely desire in a business data scientist candidate:
- Excellent data analysis and statistical methodologies
- Knowledge of data quality control and validation
- Familiarity with relational databases, especially SQL
- Ability to create convincing and clear data visualizations
- Highly-proficient numerical and analytical skills
- Hadoop open-source analytics
- Mastery of data analysis tools for creating reports
- Oracle Visualize Analyzer
- At least very proficient in one programming language
- Python (in use for about ~80% of data science projects)
- R used for statistical computing
- SQL (for manipulating and querying SQL databases)
A business data scientist will be looking through mountains of data and trying to extract business insights. This requires a thorough understanding of the business sector, business principles and how the latter interact and can affect sales and profitability.
Business data scientists will need to develop their business acumen to be of value to their employer. They can do this through a combination of work experience, independent study, classes and degrees in the fields relevant to their field, such as marketing, business administration, or economics. Here are some business principles and skills that a business data scientist might need:
- Work experience and knowledge of the business sector
- Deep understanding of industry and competitors
- Collaboration skills to effectively communicate data findings
- Strategic perspective of long-term and short-term trade-offs associated with decisions
- Strong understanding of marketing principles and campaigns
- Skilled in reading KPIs, balance sheets, cash flow reports, and business metrics
- Understanding of the operational strategy and supply chain of the specific industry
Business Data Scientist Outlook
Nowadays, data science as a general field is expected to grow by 16% over the next 8 years. This is impressive and significantly faster than the average for other jobs. Therefore, companies are putting in a lot of effort into finding the best talent to suit their business culture and needs. Today, the eastern seaboard, California, Washington, and Texas are host to the largest concentration of data scientists.
Business data scientists are equally at an advantage. The market for data scientists is extremely competitive, with not enough talent to go around currently. It is therefore no surprise that those who have deep understanding of data science and can also provide support business in strategic decision-making are the most highly sought after and the best compensated professionals.
The average salary for a data scientist is about 96,000 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bottom 10% are making roughly 52,000 per year, while the top 10% of earners are making at least 158,000 a year. This places this field in the top range for salary, but salary numbers do vary depending on the career path and area. The federal government and academic institutions will typically provide lower salaries but may offer a less stressful environment, better work-life balance, and nice benefits.
Future of Business Data
Knowledge provides businesses with the power they crave, and data provides this knowledge. This year alone, an estimated 44 trillion gigabytes of data was created. Every single website visit, click, and purchase can be analyzed. That is an incredible amount of information that is simply overflowing with possibilities. As companies rush to tap into this gold rush, talented business data scientists will benefit.
And because there aren’t enough data and business savvy professionals to lead this charge, leaving a vacuum for upcoming graduates to fill upon entering the workforce. These skilled business data scientists will continue to improve and develop new ways to extricate value as the tools and science improve, to provide better business decisions for the companies.