As a part of our theme Analytics Hiring Scenario In India, we had a chat with Ashmeet Kaur, Manager, HR, at Cartesian Consulting. Ashmeet gives us insights about the multifaceted analytics industry and how it has become one of the most opted for professions among the younger crowd in India.
Analytics India Magazine: It’s often quoted that “Data Scientist is the sexiest job of the 21st century ” what do you think about that?
Ashmeet Kaur: The excitement about data scientist jobs is not only financially rewarding but also intellectually rewarding. The reason why I say this is because many of the candidates for this job profile — be it software engineers, physicists or statisticians — feel that this is the next level for them. The other reason is data science has less repetitive work and focuses more on a person’s intellectual ability.
AIM: There is a lot of buzz about analytics, big data and AI around the industry. Do you think these are mere buzzwords or are we actually seeing an analytics revolution in the IT industry?
AK: Buzzwords come and go, but AI and analytics are here to stay. AI, especially, is a revolution in which is here to live. It will not only change the way we look at things, or the way we work but also change our lives for the better.
AI and analytics could be related to hiring scenarios in the current industry. Most of the companies are making changes in the recruitment process. Now, recruitment is being seen as a transformation in the industry where AI is helping automate processes, optimise costs and save time.
AIM: Do you think Data Scientists are expensive and hard to find?
AK: Yes, of course. It is because the kind of skill sets which are required is pretty intense. Industries look for people who are good in programming, quantitative analysis and business skills which help become a better data scientist. Also, the demand for data scientists is too high.
AIM: How does the analytics hiring scenario in Indian companies look like?
A: The hiring scenario in the analytics industry looks quite positive. Many of the big companies are looking forward to setting up an independent analytics department, and many startups also want to use AI and analytics as major services. Many top-tier institutes are ramping up their curriculum in analytics and bringing new analytics programs, which definitely gives us the sense that analytics is on the rise.
AIM: Do you think there is an imbalance between the available talent and required skill set in the analytics industry?
AK: Yes, because AI and analytics are being used in every decision-making process now. I feel there is a gap between talent and skill sets which are required for analytics jobs.
AIM: What are the skill sets that companies are mostly looking at while hiring analytics talent?
AK: Companies are basically looking at analytics skills along with logical reasoning and a creative mind. This helps a candidate understand and gather various information on different problems. The other skills companies look at, are the business skills which are very important in today’s scenario.
Business skills involve problem-solving skills, communication skills and team development skills which help a person not only be a good team member but also do a lot of client handling which again helps improve the overall work one does at the company.
The third and one of the most important skill is the technical foundation which companies always look for. These skills are mostly technical tools which a person needs to know while working on the analytics platform. Some of the tools present in the industry which are being used widely are R, SAS, Python and SQL. These help a person to work on the data and also help clients to work on various problems to find solutions for them.
AIM: Do you think a postgraduate degree or a specialization course provides an advantage for getting hired?
A: Yes, to a certain extent I feel postgraduate degrees or specialisation courses do help people in getting hired fast. This is because many companies look for mid-senior or senior level profiles with people who have postgraduate degrees or specialisation because it gives them a better understanding of the business skills which are required at this level, and it also helps to do a better team handling as well as client handling in the organisation.
AIM: What are the various initiatives that companies and educational institutions can take to set right the analytics talent flow?
AK: There are various initiatives taken in this aspect. Webinars and seminars by experienced analytics professionals, in-depth problem-solving workshops are some of them.
A lot of companies are working more on their employee brand. They promote the kind of work being done through their social media, company interactions, seminars and various analytics channels in India. It also helps the companies attract good talent for analytics.
AIM: What are the three must-have skills that you look for while hiring a candidate?
AK: Famous businessman Nolan Bushnell once said, “Hire for passion and intensity, there is training for everything else”. I truly believe in this thought. So, the top three skills which I look at is, passion, intensity and enthusiasm to achieve your goals. The other skills which I look at is, willingness to learn something new and keep going ahead.
Another point I would look at is the flexibility and adaptability with which a person can adjust to any situation. He/she would look at a problem in a positive way and then find a solution to it.
AIM: What would you advise freshers who are looking to start a career in analytics?
AK: Love and passion for data science is the most important thing to start a career in analytics. I say this because you need a positive attitude and the willingness to learn which will help you move to the next level in your career.
AIM: What is your advice to experienced professionals who are now looking to transition into analytics?
AK: Again, passion is the most important criteria for getting into data analytics because it is not easy to master data science. This requires a lot of determination, hard work and passion to do something new in the industry. Also, there are different other ways which would help you to move into this career. For example, keeping abreast of advancements in analytics and having an analytical mind of resolving real-time problems in industries.
AIM: Would you like to share any interesting experience you have had during interviewing an analytics professional?
AK: I had a beautiful conversation with one of the candidates once. He said that he had a few queries for me. I was really surprised, and the kind of questions he came up with were quite interesting. Like for example, how a typical day would be in the life of an analyst when he joins the organisation. He also asked about the culture of the organisation. Another interesting question he asked me was ‘how do you feel in this organisation and what has kept you going for the last five years here.’ All of these questions were really interesting to answer. However, the conclusion which I came through this conversation was that it’s not always the employees who choose the candidate but vice-versa — the candidate wishes to choose or not to choose the organisation on the basis of conversation or culture it follows.