As we have a growing number of proteges who work in data and analytics roles, including quants, actuaries, engineers and others, this post explores some of the types of roles which exist in data science and analytics. Given the speed at which the analytics landscape and the technology used are evolving, it changes significantly over time, so please don’t treat these example roles as static or exhaustive. In fact, this ongoing evolution is one of the exciting aspects of such work: the opportunity to spot gaps and propose innovative ways to do things in future, including crafting your own role and career path.
More senior data and analytics professionals may also appreciate our long Routes to the Top article on C-suite roles like Chief Data Officer, Chief Analytics Officer and Chief Data & Analytics Officer.
Data and analytics roles have to some extent exploded because of the rapid evolution of technology, although they also incorporate strong statistics skills, and some feel that domain knowledge of an industry or industries is also helpful. With this in mind, here are some examples of roles:
Data Scientists or Data Analysts
Some of these roles might be done by the same person. There are also other related roles beyond these, such as experts in visualisation i.e. telling graphical stories with the data so that it supports the decisions being recommended.
We end with memorable day-at-the-beach descriptions of three data roles, courtesy of Stonefield Advisory, a UK-based data analysis & financial modelling company:
One of our professional mentors, Hafsa Daware, is an expert in tax as well as a Chartered Accountant. Earlier this year, she wrote an article on careers in the Tax Profession for the IntegriTAX section of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (SAICA) Accountancy SA magazine. She describes her profession as “lucrative, inspiring, challenging and versatile”, writing that she has “always had a passion for tax, and value[s] the breadth and depth of what I have been able to learn over the years from all the disciplines that I have been privileged to work with”. Such cross-functional collaboration is fundamental as “understanding a business from all angles is critical to effectively advise and guide it from a tax point of view”.
Read more for Hafsa’s thoughts on the skills required of tax professionals, the wider understanding of commercial aspects you can build through working on tax matters, the areas and roles tax professionals can work in, and some lessons from the business and tax authority perspectives.
In this article, we return to the topic of specialising versus generalising as a career strategy, and expand on Protagion’s previous writing to share the views of Scott Adams, Tim Ferriss, and Erik Torenberg with our readers.
Scott Adams is most famous as the creator of Dilbert*, the renowned cartoon starring an engineer in a business setting. Scott’s own career includes majoring in economics, picking up an MBA, and working at a bank and a phone company before becoming a cartoonist. He’s naturally a fan of MBAs, advising: “...Get a degree in business on top of your engineering degree, law degree, medical degree, science degree, or whatever. Suddenly you’re in charge, or maybe you’re starting your own company using your combined knowledge.”
Tim Ferriss is also likely to need little introduction. He’s a multiple-bestselling author and popular podcast host of The Tim Ferriss Show. His books include: The 4-Hour Workweek*, The 4-Hour Body*, The 4-Hour Chef*, Tools of Titans* and Tribe of Mentors*. He’s been referred as a polymath and believes “it is possible to become world-class in almost any skill within one year”.
Erik Torenberg is a venture capitalist and co-founder of Village Global and On Deck, “where top tech talent goes to explore what’s next”.
Read more to dive into the worlds of specialists, generalists and specialised generalists, including Scott, Tim and Erik’s thoughts on the advantages and dangers, and tips for combining skills. We briefly revisit our previous article (In Pursuit of Knowledge: Specialising vs Generalising as a Career Strategy) and conclude with a 6-minute video of Tim.