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Data scientists need cloud tools to unlock value of data for businesses

Data scientists help organizations shift from relying on instinct and experience to using data for new, trans-formative insights. Yet the role of “data scientist” was not identified as a profession until a decade ago. For the past two years, however, recruiting site Glass door has cited data scientist as the highest-ranked job in the U.S. based upon salary, job satisfaction and the number of job openings. And like everywhere else, Kenya’s Data Science community is growing rapidly. 

Data scientists are in great demand because of the volume of data that organizations are dealing with, due in part to the explosion of data streams now enabled by cloud. About 20 percent of this is structured data that businesses have historically collected, but the other 80 percent is unstructured data, which comes in the form of emails, social media, images or videos, and can be much harder to manage, collect and analyze. Additionally, recent survey data highlights cloud growth in several areas, which means data scientists will need to grapple with new workloads from AI, analytics and IoT devices. Access to data in the cloud is critical to today’s data scientists, as they need a centralized and accessible platform across all teams — especially data science teams. 

Additionally, with stronger information, privacy and data protection laws coming into effect in Kenya and other parts of the continent, businesses operating in Africa must think again about where and with which providers they host their cloud enterprise data and applications. 

As digital transformation drives more companies and industries around the world to the cloud, there is a constantly growing need to capture and manage both new and legacy data. As long as a data scientist has easy access to this data, he or she is already equipped with the skills to analyze the growing volumes through cloud technology to turn information into insights that can transform businesses and industries. The problem is, there’s just not enough data scientists to handle current, let alone future demands. 

According to the “Worldwide Semiannual Big Data and Analytics Spending Guide” from International Data Corp., global revenues for big data and business analytics will grow from $130 billion in 2016 to more than $203 billion in 2020. More than half, or $95 billion, of all big data and business analytics revenues will come from the U.S., according to IDC. The second largest geographic region will be Western Europe, followed by Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and Latin America. The two regions with the fastest growth over the five-year period will be Latin America and the Middle East and Africa.