Why being a Data Scientist is so Cool

Data scientists are the next generation of analytical experts, having evolved from statisticians and data analysts in response to the growth of big data storage, IoT devices, cloud computing, and improved algorithms. It’s a marriage, consisting of the IT and business realms.

Early in my career, I became a Six Sigma Black Belt and learned early the importance that data could have on helping solve some BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).  By becoming a Black Belt, you are required to understand a multitude of statistical tools that enable you to decipher anecdotal from impartial. However, at the time, terms like “Big Data” and “Internet of Things” had not yet entered the lexicon, and as a result, predictive algorithms had not yet reached the level of accuracy we are witnessing today.

What is a Data Scientist?

A data scientist must possess in-depth knowledge in the fields of science, mathematics, and coding. A data scientist is known to possess analytical skills, an insatiable curiosity, and a toolkit that allows them to interpret vast amounts of data to help test hypotheses that can improve a business’ bottom line. Think of them as a scientist without the lab coat, but with a t-shirt and sneakers.

 Scientist – Lab Coat + T-Shirt + Sneakers = Data Scientist

Of course, that is a broad generalization of the individual and overview of the hard skills required for the profession. But not entirely wrong.

A data scientist assists a company’s operations to help them gain a formidable edge over the competition. Analyzing digital data streams in a company’s website, improving upon existing data collection procedures and creating systems to track anomalies are all examples of the duties of a data scientist.

Why Being a Data Scientist is So Cool

There is a huge demand for Data Scientists these days. In fact, demand has surpassed supply putting the median base pay for a mid-level data scientist at $128,000. Not only are Data Scientist well compensated, Glassdoor recently named it the Top Job for 2019 in America, with job satisfaction scores of 4.3 out of 5.

A Challenging Profession

Although the skills necessary to succeed in the role are lengthy, attaining a thorough understanding of the job is not an insurmountable feat. In my experience, a good data scientist not only needs to comprehend the methods to mine data, wrangle data, visual data, and model data but also possesses the communication skills necessary to work with their business partners to deploy models that will have the largest impact on the organization.

Is Data Science for You?

The skills mentioned above may seem daunting; however, it’s more of a matter of learning the skills as opposed to being born with them. If you are always analyzing situations and calculating the odds in a game of chance, this might be a great career for you.

However, I will caution anyone that is considering this career path; it requires continual self-learning. Data Science is a new discipline, and there are often multiple ways to solve the same problem. The tools, resources, algorithms, and programming languages are in constant flux. And although there are countless educational paths available for people interested in learning these skills – there is no governing body or one formal path to certify your education.

And as I mentioned above, a fully underestimated skill for any successful Data Scientist is communication. The ability to work with multiple functional areas of a business and tell a story with data can be a differentiator for you.

If you’re committed to lifelong learning, and you find joy in the process of developing your skills, the challenges and opportunities faced in this field could be right up your alley.

Have you considered a career as a Data Scientist?

If so, what is preventing you from taking the plunge?

 

Resources:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-50-best-jobs-in-america-for-2019-according-to-glassdoor/

https://datasciencedegree.wisconsin.edu/data-science/data-scientist-salary/

 

 

Top 5 Qualities of a Successful “Intrapreneur”

There is a growing trend in the business world of a new and unique type of entrepreneur. These individuals may never have run their own independent organization, but they are exceptionally skilled at navigating the waters within your company. Dubbed “intrapreneurs,” these professionals have gained the skills necessary to meet and often exceed expectations by applying the techniques and methods of entrepreneurship to innovate your company as opposed to striking out on their own.

Intrapreneurs behave and plan as though they have an ownership stake in the business, but they may not be compensated beyond their existing income. So what sets an individual apart as an intrapreneur? Furthermore, how do you recognize and continue to develop the characteristics that have served your budding intrapreneurs so well already? There are 5 essential characteristics to any intrapreneur, and developing these characteristics is a surefire way to improve the overall health of your business now and in the future.

  1. Money Is Not Their Endgame

One of the most common shared characteristics of intrapreneurs is their recognition of the concept that money is not the be-all, end-all of any business endeavor. Obviously, they are working for money and most likely recognize both its importance and value as an economic driver and a resource that leads to success. Where they differentiate themselves is that they put the work in and apply themselves in such a way as to demonstrate that they are indispensable. This proves a sharp contrast with many non-intrapreneurs who are always looking to showcase the non-economic value they believe they add, as opposed to actually demonstrating the economic contribution of their work. Intrapreneurs recognize that you don’t get measured on the effort, you get measured on the results.

  1. Self-Motivation Is A Core Value

It is rare for an intrapreneur to wait around to be told what to do: they find things that need doing and get them done. They come in every day to a list of what needs to be accomplished, and before they leave, they have tomorrow’s list ready to go. They possess intrinsic motivation to succeed, and they generally need very little in the way of supervision or direction. They embrace the challenge of innovation and the creativity necessary to execute.

  1. Possess Extraordinary Creativity

In addition to being highly motivated, intrapreneurs love to suggest new ideas and help develop ideas contributed by others. There is nothing they love more than being a part of creating something different, compelling, and innovative. Not only do they delight in creating new ideas and concepts, but they also delight in the hard work that makes those nebulous abstracts into concrete reality.  It is not uncommon for intrapreneurs to learn new skills or tools that will enable them to more effectively develop these creative ideas (at times learning externally).

  1. Masters of Balancing Multiple Projects Simultaneously

A defining characteristic of intrapreneurs is the ability to be intellectually and organizationally “light on their feet.” They know how to prioritize various tasks without assistance, and they are experts at keeping things moving on multiple lines of thought through multiple protocols and processes that govern their responsibilities and projects. They are on their “A” game at all times when it comes to keeping everything working at maximum efficiency and efficacy.  This is especially important if innovating falls outside of their normal duties or they have been given this responsibility as a stretch assignment.

  1. Understand the Value of Failure

Similar to entrepreneurship, bouncing back fast from a misstep in judgment or a bad call on a decision is at the heart of intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurs can assess what went wrong objectively, accept their responsibility for their part in the failure, and then get back to work making it right. Rarely does an intrapreneur meet with a setback they cannot recover and learn from independently. However, it is imperative for an organization to recognize the risks taken by these individuals and reward rather than penalize the endeavor.

Final Thoughts

Identifying the intrapreneurs in your company is key to your organization’s long-term health and success. Find and develop your people who are treating their work as their personal success depends on it and help shape them into the intrapreneurs that will secure your company’s future.

Are you identifying these “intrapreneurs” within your organization?

Are you giving them the skills needed for them to innovate?

Are your processes and systems geared to impede them or propel them?

Resource:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-5-qualities-successful-intrapreneur-frank-mendoza/?published=t

 

The 4 Benefits & 4 Steps to Become Intrapreneurial

In the world of business and startups, most of us already know the term “Entrepreneur.” An entrepreneur is a person who is motivated to start a new business and propel it to success through innovation, hard work, and long hours (a lot of long hours).

However, one idea that is quickly spreading through the ranks of many high-profile companies is the term “Intrapreneur.” Rather than being a solo enterprise, the intrapreneur is part of an already-established business and leverages some of the same tools and techniques to introduce new products, services and/or processes that disrupt the status quo.

Because this idea is becoming so pervasive and disrupting the current corporate climate, we wanted to understand how it works, why it’s becoming so popular, and how it can benefit your company.

What is an Intrapreneur?

Having been both an intrapreneur for most of my career and now an entrepreneur, I know firsthand that you cannot equate the two. The most obvious difference centers on support structure and capital. Without going too much into the details, an entrepreneur often does not have the support structure or capital to pursue their idea; hence, the long hours mentioned above.  An intrapreneur, on the other hand, has the backing of the company for which they currently work. This process is different and unique compared to something like research and development on a new product line.

Intrapreneurs are encouraged to develop new ideas that could potentially become alternate businesses for the company. Whether it’s a brand-new product that can be sold outside of the current business model or a new app that can be branded and identified separately from the parent corporation, ideas that are fostered through intrapreneurship are often independent of anything else going on or disrupt how companies operate daily.

Why is Intrapreneurship Popular?

Technically speaking, this idea has always been around (Gifford Pinchot III coined the term back in 1978), but lately, it’s been gaining popularity due to the sexiness of entrepreneurship in our society. The concept of a go-getter who challenges the norms and standards of a company is nothing new; it’s just becoming more widespread, and companies have recognized that these individuals differ from their average employee.

But what is it about intrapreneurship that’s making it more prevalent?

Part of it is that many “new” corporations don’t have decades of history behind them. Without those strong roots, they are more willing to explore new ideas and experiment with them. Think businesses like Amazon, Google, and Salesforce.

Secondly, there are a lot of benefits to following this line of thinking. By incorporating intrapreneurs into your business strategy, you are more likely to adapt to any changing landscape and increase your chance of success.

The Benefits of Intrapreneurship

If you’re new to this idea of fostering innovation by disrupting your current business model, then it can seem a bit daunting. We’ll get into the nuts and bolts of how to do this process correctly, but we should first understand why it’ll help your company succeed in the long run.

Spurs Growth

Too often, large corporations start to rest on their laurels. The brand is successful, so why should we innovate and try something new? As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, this complacency can become a problem as sales stagnate and the brand starts to underperform compared to projections.

With intrapreneurship, you are always going to foster creative solutions and expand your corporate model into new branches. As such, you are cultivating a network of growth that will keep your brand active and engaged with consumers, regardless of any changes that may be happening in society.

Creates Leaders

Intrapreneurs are natural leaders, inspiring those around them to succeed. By investing in these kinds of people in your current organization, you can benefit by allowing them to become the leaders that they were meant to be. Not only will this promote better cohesion within the company, but it will enable you to grow and expand because you now have leaders who are motivated and willing to help guide your brand to the next level of success.

Keeps Workers Engaged

Although some people are okay with doing the same thing every day for years (or decades), many of us get bored after a while and crave stimulation. By cultivating intrapreneurship, you can help stimulate changes that will keep your employees engaged. Rather than following the status quo and doing things the way they’ve always been done, you can disrupt the norms of your business and create excitement in the process.

How to Become Intrapreneurial

If you’re interested in following this change and seeing how it can benefit your brand, then it’s imperative that you do so in the right way. Rather than throwing money at the problem or letting your employees run wild, it takes some level of discipline to get it right. Before we look at the right way of doing things, let’s see some real-world examples for inspiration.

  • PlayStation: back when Nintendo dominated the gaming industry, it was a worker at Sony who realized the potential of a system that could produce more powerful and engaging games. Ken Kutaragi developed the first prototype while still doing his day job at Sony, which led to the first console.
  • Gmail: Google has always been keen on fostering intrapreneurship, and its flagship email service is a direct result of that kind of environment.
  • Facebook Likes: Another major player that thrives off of innovation and growth is Facebook, which hosts “hack-a-thons” for coders and programmers to develop new ideas. The “like” button was a direct result of one of these experiences, and now it’s become ingrained in our current culture.

So, how do you become intrapreneurial in your business? Follow these steps.

Step One: Have Open Communication with Employees

Workers who feel stifled creatively are going to develop other passion projects outside of work. However, talking to them can help you find out what they are interested in and will enable you to work with them on their next idea.

Step Two: Empower Them

In your communications, make sure that you remind your staff that their ideas are valid and worth pursuing. If they know that they can be innovative and creative within the company, they are more likely to do so.

Step Three: Engage Them Outside of Work

If employees are stuck doing the same things, they won’t get creative. However, you can stimulate their skills by providing engagement outside of their normal work parameters. If you want them to think outside the box, you have to take them outside the box.

Step Four: Invest in Their Ideas

Once you have something brewing, allow it to incubate for a little while to see where it goes. Even if it fizzles out or doesn’t work, it’s imperative that you enable your employees to pursue their creative interests along with their regular work. At some point, you will strike gold.

Bottom Line

As businesses have to adapt to a changing world, intrapreneurship is going to play a significant role in shaping the future. Fair warning, if your company culture does not embrace failure or punishes employees for taking risks, this attempt at fostering intrapreneurship will be met with disappointment.

Are you already nurturing your intrapreneurs?

Do you know the successful qualities of an “Intrapreneur”? Next week I will release a new blog on the 5 Most Essential Qualities of a Successful Intrapreneur. Can’t wait, hit me up and I will send you an advanced copy!

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrapreneurship