Career Round Table: With Demand for Data Scientists at an All-Time High, Top Experts Offer Sound Career Advice

By Lori Cameron
Published 09/30/2020
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IBM has predicted that the demand for data scientists will increase 28 percent by next year with average salaries topping 100k. Furthermore, data science is one computing domain with almost as many women as men (41 percent vs. 59 percent).

Opportunities abound for anyone wanting to enter the field.

We asked leading big data experts to tell us what graduates and job-seekers can expect in the coming years as big data experiences massive growth.

Here’s what they had to say.

AI and Neuromorphic Tech To See ‘Big Growth’

Jens Jelitto

Jens Jelitto: Advances in artificial intelligence towards self-learning systems and enabling technologies such as neuromorphic computing, new forms of big data analytics and machine learning, data analytics on encrypted data, and so on will see big growth in the coming years. There are many areas where data analytics can create new insights and dramatic improvements over the current state of the art, but, at the same time, data privacy becomes more relevant than ever before. A good example is data analytics for healthcare from much-improved clinical trials all the way to data-driven diagnosis and personalized treatment, which at the same time is an area with very high privacy requirements.

Jelitto is a research staff member at IBM Research—Zurich. His research interests include digital signal processing for wireless LANs and magnetic recording, as well as novel techniques for big data storage systems. Jelitto co-authored the article “Cognitive Storage for Big Data.”

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Big-Data Engineering: ‘There Are Tons of Opportunities’

Martin Petitclerc

Martin Petitclerc: I think demand will emerge for everything related to big data from user experience design to the creating, storing, and streaming of algorithms. The question one should ask is, “What am I interested in about big-data engineering?” Because there are tons of opportunities, choose something that aligns with your strength and passion.

Petitclerc, former senior software architect for Watson Analytics at IBM Canada and current data scientist for Coveo, is an expert in areas such as matrix, relational, and hybrid online analytical processing (OLAP); the OLAP calculation engine; and advanced analysis using data mining. He was featured in the article “Three Experts on Big Data Engineering.”

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Demand for Data Scientists in Numerous Fields

Naren Ramakrishnan

Naren Ramakrishnan: With this space maturing, demand for data scientists will grow in technical areas like deep learning, as well as in fields such as healthcare, the Internet of Things, economy, finance, manufacturing, educational innovation, sustainability, and forecasting. You can keep track of what’s going on in data science forums such as KDnuggets.

Ramakrishnan is professor of engineering and director of the Discovery Analytics Center at Virginia Tech University—about big-data career opportunities. Ramakrishnan’s research interests include mining scientific datasets in domains such as systems biology, neuroscience, sustainability, and intelligence analysis. He co-authored the guest editorial for Computer’s April 2016 special issue on big data.



About Lori Cameron

Lori Cameron is Senior Writer for IEEE Computer Society publications and digital media platforms with over 20 years technical writing experience. She is a part-time English professor and winner of two 2018 LA Press Club Awards. Contact her at Follow her on LinkedIn.