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Soft skills hiring managers look for in great data scientists

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New technologies and frameworks come out every year those who don’t update their skills could find themselves less competitive in the marketplace. However, technical skills aren’t the only aspect hiring managers look for in IT professionals.

In fact, LinkedIn’s Talent Trends Study found that 91% of companies state they have issues with current and new employees lacking adequate soft skills.

In my 30+ years in IT recruiting, I have noticed the increased importance hiring mangers are placing on soft skills in potential IT candidates.

But what are the soft skills hiring managers are looking for in great IT candidates?

1. Communication

In most organizations you work for, data scientists need to correspond with clients, team members, and/or business leaders on a daily basis. It is critical for data scientists to actively listen to clients and/or team members to fully understand their problems in order to offer the best solutions. Great communication skills give business leaders peace of mind that the overall business strategy is being supported through quality analytics.

2. Creativity

Creativity is a big part of innovation for companies. The ability to think “outside of the box” (I know that is cliché, but you would be surprised how much it comes up when talking to hiring managers) to come up with unique solutions that are effective and innovative. They want employees that provide a unique insight into the data and trends.Successful companies and people are always looking for continuous improvement and creative ways to increase productivity.

3. Adaptability

The ability to think quickly on your feet, recognize patterns, and offer viable solutions are skills hiring managers look for in interviews. Being an IT professional, by its nature, means you must be willing to adapt to changing technology. A good question to ask yourself to test your adaptability is “are you one of the first people to challenge the status quo?” Being adaptable will make you a more sought after data scientist to internal business leaders and hiring managers.

4. Team work

Your ability to work with other people has never been more important for data scientists. Most data scientists rarely work 100% alone. Hiring managers express to me that they are looking for big data candidates who can work collaboratively with their team and business leaders.

5. Organization skills

Data scientists are always juggling project deadlines which often leaves documentation as an afterthought. Your ability to organize your projects and other workflows is a critical skill employers look for. Planning time for documentation and organizing into your workday is one of the key elements of effective documentation and organization.

Organization really comes down to two key aspects: planning and prioritizing.

6. Emotional intelligence

Data scientists frequently work with a team and business leaders to solve various complex predictive questions about the business. When working in a team environment, different opinions on how the project should be run will inevitably arise.

The ability to interact with others with differing opinions in a calm and respectful manner is extremely important. Consequently, emotional intelligence is a skill that hiring managers highly value in candidates that are looking to lead or manage a team.

7. Growth mindset

Having a growth mindset as a data scientist might be the most important soft skills employers look for.

The CEO of Kenik, a network analytics company, put it perfectly, “Right now, we’re in a world moving as fast as the ISP world did back in the 90s. Every few weeks there’s something new.” 

As a data scientist, it is essential to have a growth mindset to keep up with the new technologies. You must be updating your skills to stay competitive in today’s market. You can start updating your skills with the article I wrote l about the top ways that data scientists can keep themselves competitive in today’s uncertain market.

Make the change!

Soft skills are playing an increasing role in hiring managers decisions.

In fact, LinkedIn’s Talent Trends Study found that 91% of companies state they have issues with current and new people lacking adequate soft skills

In my 30+ years in IT recruiting, I have noticed the increased importance hiring managers are placing on soft skills especially in the big data space.