Landing an interview for a data scientist position is exciting. But it can also be a bit anxiety-inducing, particularly if you are worried about how you compare to other candidates. Often, every interview is going to have a similar technical skillset, so you can’t necessarily rely on your data science know-how alone. Instead, you have to figure out what makes you unique and how you can provide the employer with value.
While that may seem daunting, it isn’t as difficult as it appears. If you want to stand out in your data scientist interview, here’s what you need to do.
Staying current with technology isn't just about learning the latest language. It's about understanding the direction of the industry as a whole so you can continue to find challenging opportunities that allow you to grow. Inc. points out three trends that will shape IT during the next year:
Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things—sensor-based devices connected to the Internet—has been steadily growing, with smart thermostats, smart door locks, and even smart light bulbs finding their way into homes. But the Industrial Internet of Things, where IoT devices are embedded into factories and other workplaces, will be an ever bigger user of these devices. Advances in technology including RFID, near field communications, and iBeacon make it easy for devices to get online.
Life keeps speeding up, and no one has any patience for waiting anymore. With apps like Uber, no one needs patience either. It's not just car transportation that's on demand now; it's everything: transportation, food, entertainment, and other services are now available on demand. There's even talk of the Uberification of healthcare. Uber itself even provided healthcare, briefly letting customers call for a nurse to give a flu shot.
Alternatives to banks.
Peer-to-peer lending is growing, thanks to tightened standards at traditional institutions. After the 2008 economic crisis, banks became stricter about who they'd lend to. At the same time, technology platforms make microloans and other forms of lending possible, providing alternative financing sources to those turned away by the big firms. Some sites have a narrow focus, meeting the need in specific niches.
Being aware of these trends can help you make career decisions, but that doesn't mean you'll miss out on opportunities if you work in a different business domain and don't want to switch. The great advantage of technology is that it can be applied to any industry, so there will always be opportunities for technical workers with good skills. Look into the technology behind these trends, develop the skills, and find ways to bring it to whatever industry you work in.
Security has been a concern for IT from the beginning, but with the increasing prevalence of mobile and the cloud — along with several high-profile data breaches, many of which have occurred in the past year at large organizations — keeping digital data secure is taking top priority for many. Recent research has found that security and data loss, the mobile workforce, and cloud technologies are the most important concerns for IT professionals in the coming year, as well as long-term over the next three-to-five years.
IT concerns by the numbers
The most recent annual Digital Leaders survey from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, found that the top three concerns for senior IT in the next 12 months are:
- Information security (60 percent)
- Cloud computing (55 percent)
- Mobile computing, including BYOD (53 percent)
For the next three-to-five years, the survey found that information security and cloud computing will remain priorities at 54 and 40 percent, respectively. Another long-term top concern is big data, which 42 percent of IT leaders said their companies would focus on during this time frame.
Another new study from IBM looked at IT security leaders specifically, and found the same chief concerns among them. This study found that:
- Almost 90 percent of IT security leaders are planning cloud initiatives or have already adopted the cloud
- 75 percent expect cloud security budgets to either increase or increase dramatically in the next three-to-five years
- Nearly 80 percent believe that potential security risks due to standards and regulations have increased in the past three years
- More than 70 percent stated real-time security intelligence is increasingly important for their companies
- Almost half said new security technologies are the top focus for their organizations
Challenges facing IT security
While more organizations have realized that developments in security, cloud, and mobile technology offer advantages in productivity, business continuity, and more, many IT leaders feel their companies are unable to meet the right goals. In the BCS survey, 92 percent of respondents felt their organizations lacked the resources to address the issues they’ve prioritized — with 53 percent stating a lack of enhanced IT skills among their existing workforce, and an equal number citing a shortage of additional IT staff.
Challenges discussed by the IBM survey primarily addressed mobile technology. In the study, less than half (45 percent) of IT security leaders believed they had an effective mobile device management (MDM) strategy in place. And while the majority of respondents said their companies were concerned about digital security going forward, most did not prioritize security for mobile devices.
As the movement toward mobile, the cloud, and the Internet of Things gains momentum, the IT of the future will have to prioritize security, and find new ways to work within diversified infrastructures to keep data safe.
Technology trends are moving faster than ever. In this age of digital disruption, every company is looking for the “next big thing” in IT—and the ability to capitalize on trends and adapt quickly to change represents the new competitive edge in businesses across every industry.
With the rate of change ramping up faster, what can you expect to happen in IT? Here’s a look at the near future of technology (which, sadly, doesn’t include hoverboards yet) and what your business can do to keep up.
Expanding the SMAC Stack
Relatively new in its own right, a popular trend in business IT is the use of the SMAC stack—Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud. But there’s an even more recent field that’s poised to make huge leaps forward in the near future: the Internet of Things.
Smart consumer electronics, wearable tech, and new business entries like beacon technology (the so-called “indoor GPS” that’s already making waves in the retail space) represent expanded opportunities for companies to increase their competitive edge. By capitalizing on the Internet of Things, businesses can reach potential customers in new ways and bring additional tools to their SMAC stack strategies.
Finding Real Use for Big Data
Big Data is a big idea. It’s not hard to see the potential in having endless streams of information at your fingertips—but the challenge has been mining those streams for useful, actionable data. Plenty of companies have climbed aboard with Big Data and dutifully collected vast amounts of information. However, they often don’t know what to do with it all.
But the increasing availability and accessibility of analytics, along with alternate strategies for mining Big Data that don’t rely on hiring an in-house team of data scientists, have made it possible for more companies to find real-world methods for data extraction and application.
For example, the Boston Police Department lacks the budget for a data scientist—but in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing investigation, during which they were flooded with information from social media, they’ve initiated basic data and geospatial analysis that gives them rudimentary use of data for everyday police operations.
Managing the March of the Millennials
The IT workforce is experiencing a similar disruption to the technologies it handles. There are more than 80 million millennials flooding the workforce—and managers who have followed traditional employee practices for years are finding it challenging to deal with this savvy, energetic, and motivated generation.
But for any company looking to survive and thrive, recruiting and retaining millennials is imperative. They’ll make up roughly half the workforce by 2020, and 75 percent by 2025. The good news is that it’s easier than most think to engage millennials. They’re into frequent feedback, they often value great benefits or a dynamic company vision over high salaries, and they like to be challenged.
IT is changing fast. By arming your business with information on the latest trends, and improving your capabilities to adapt quickly, you can navigate through digital disruption and come out ahead of the competition.