Hiring the right data scientist for your business

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The demand for data scientists in Thailand has risen exponentially in recent years. Julian Meissner, IT Manager at Robert Walters Thailand, shares his insights on the growing need for data scientists, and how companies in Thailand can attract the talent they need.

The growth of data science

We see an increasing number of companies exploring data science and its applications. This is driven by two main reasons. Firstly, companies are seeking to leverage the large amount of data they have available to generate insights that inform decision-making. This is why we see companies recruiting data scientists who can manage and turn the raw data into useful information that can help accelerate the business.

The second reason is that technology has advanced significantly and the traditional ways of data processing, such as visual basic for applications (VBA) and excel macros, no longer suffice. This is particularly so in a digital world that is looking to technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to predict consumer behaviour, equipment malfunctions and more. To ensure that they stay ahead of new technology trends and market movements, companies are turning to this group of specialists to help them manage the data. 

A shortage of skilled talent

The demand for data scientists is growing substantially, but the number of highly skilled talent is very limited. It has been estimated that there are only approximately 250 full-fledged data scientists in Thailand. Data scientists need to be proficient in the two main programming languages used in the data world, R and Python, and related platforms such as Hadoop.  At the same time, they are not just programming or number experts. They go beyond theory to generate insights that can help solve real-life business problems. To do this, they need to be knowledgeable about the business and industry to ensure the insights are relevant for business units such as HR, finance and logistics.

We see companies facing challenges in identifying candidates who have the right skills and experience, as what is written on a resume may not truly reflect a job applicant’s skill level. Assessments can help companies filter out candidates who do not have the necessary skills, streamlining the recruitment process. Robert Walters uses an online assessment tool and we have found it particularly useful in providing detailed reporting, analysis and accurate test results, which is why we’ve included it in our recruitment solutions to help companies make more informed decisions about their placements.

Looking elsewhere for the right talent

Given the shortage of data scientists in Thailand, we see companies expanding their sourcing channels, to hire from abroad, or work with recruitment consultancy firms to tap into a larger pool of available talent. 

We also see more companies providing training for their data analysts, equipping them with the skills and knowledge required to become data scientists. One reason for this is because their data analysts already have a strong understanding of the field, the company data, and what is required to generate meaningful information for the business. Additionally, since local cultural understanding is required to manipulate and interpret data in a meaningful manner, local talent would, in the long-term, have a better grasp of the information. Finally, local talent is often looking for opportunities to grow, which means that training is a worthwhile investment. 

This article was first posted as “Demand for data scientist” on The Nation.  

To find out more about hiring the right IT talent, please contact Julian Meissner at julian.meissner@robertwalters.co.th