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5 Ways to Tell if You’re a Citizen Data Scientist

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By Alisha Martin, Digital Strategist

As technology advances, employees like you are asked to do more with fewer resources. You likely work with data in some capacity, and data may even be an integral part of your daily work. In the year 2020, there was an estimated total of 14.59 million data professionals in the US. Clearly, the need for citizen data scientists is on the rise. But how are they defined? And should you consider yourself one?

What is a Citizen Data Scientist?

Stack of Data Analytics Reports From Citizen Data Scientists

The most significant difference between a citizen data scientist (also known as a citizen data analyst) and a traditional data scientist is their primary focus. Data scientists’ primary job function is, as it sounds — working with data to uncover important business insights. Citizen data scientists engage in much of the same work. However, data tends to be a supplement to their primary duties rather than their main focus.

Traditional data scientists tend to have specialized degrees and formal training in data analytics. In contrast, citizen data scientists are most often business professionals who learned to incorporate data and use analytics throughout their careers.

With advanced formal training in data analytics comes a higher price tag. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average data scientist’s salary is $100,560. A citizen data scientist’s familiarity with data and processes can often fulfill the need of a data scientist at a fraction of the cost. Aside from salary differences, a citizen data analyst can often offer more contextual valuable insights that might’ve gone unnoticed in a traditional data scientist’s role.

Are you a Citizen Data Scientist?

Here are a few questions you can ask to find out!

1. Do you work with data regularly (and does that work include more than running a report)?

If your everyday work consists of pulling the same reports to share with stakeholders, you might not be a citizen data scientist. But if your job includes delivering reports that vary based on a variety of data points and stakeholder requests, that’s the first sign that you might be one after all!

2. Do you use (or could you benefit from) analytics software?

If you find yourself spending large amounts of time in Microsoft Excel or Access sorting through your data and manually preparing it for reporting, you are most likely ready for the next step up! Software that automates routine data prep and even makes it easy to build predictive models is a critical tool in the citizen data analyst’s belt.

3. Do you often find yourself working with data even though your background isn’t in data science?

You might not have a formal background or degree in data science, but that hasn’t stopped you from jumping headfirst into data every chance you get. Citizen data scientists tend to gravitate towards more data-heavy positions regardless of their background due to their love for analyzing complex problems and finding unique solutions.

4. Are you interested in learning about data science and machine learning?

This ties into #3 — you are drawn to data and statistics, and you are amazed by all that it can accomplish. Some may see three doors to choose from; you see the Monty Hall problem. Whether it’s diagnostic, descriptive, predictive, cognitive, or prescriptive — analytics fascinates you.

5. Are you an advocate for data-informed decision-making?

Being an advocate for data-informed decision-making can be an uphill battle at times, but you march on regardless! Some organizations are hesitant to change the basis of business decisions from gut feelings to data points. Still, you work until the 11th hour to highlight the benefits that a new, data-informed perspective brings.

So You’re a Citizen Data Scientist. What’s Next?

If these five examples resonated with you, it’s likely you’ve been acting as a citizen data scientist at your organization.

As time passes and more organizations see the benefits of data-informed decisions, the need for repeatability, automation, and efficiency will become even more critical. While your work may vary depending on the industry and role, any citizen data scientists’ work improves when they have the right tools. Rapid Insight offers analytics software that is easy to use, intuitive, and quick to implement.

To learn more about Rapid Insight’s analytics software, click the button below to request a free personalized walkthrough!


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