Shortage of data scientists in India: National Statistical Commission Chairman


Data scientists, combining expertise in statistics and software, are much sought after in India, which is experiencing dearth in the number of such experts, National Statistical Commission Chairman R.B. Barman said here on Tuesday.

Barman said the work that individuals do in this emerging field of data science using conventional tools, machine learning and artificial intelligence is a "fertile area of research" for deeper insight on the market micro-structure, hidden in voluminous transactional data of customers.

"The numbers are not known. Only price is an indicator. There is a shortage. Today if you want to employ, there are some companies in Bengaluru, I think they pay anything from Rs 20 lakh (per annum) and above. Every year these people want a hike of 20 percent or more and they go on doing this and that means there is a gap in the supply and demand," Barman told IANS here on the sidelines of the 70th convocation ceremony of International Statistical Education Centre (ISEC) at the Indian Statistical Institute.

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Elaborating on the importance of data scientists, the Chairman said there are three challenging dimensions to the whole topic: statistics, handling the data very intelligently and understanding the business context. Barman said:

"According to one definition, a data scientist is one who knows more statistics than a statistician and knows more of software than a software expert. So if you look at this definition there is a huge demand."

He, however, pointed out that awareness is going up along with the demand and institutes are cropping up everywhere to train people in data science. "And they should ultimately understand the business. Our institutions are slowly coming up. So for example, in Mumbai where I live, all institutes are trying to change their courses from econometrics to data science. That is the buzzword," he said.


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