Data Roles: Which is the right one for you?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Data Roles: Which is the right one for you?

The world of Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is so vast and varied, that it becomes necessary to define different profiles. Throughout this post we will describe each of these roles, explain their functions and what type of knowledge is necessary to carry them out successfully; and explain what part each role will play in a data-driven project. 

The first two roles, Database Administrator and Data Architect, are both in charge of where the data is (making sure it is in the right place) and if it is in the correct format. On the other hand, there are also those in charge of exploiting the potential the data has, unleashing its power and putting it to work. This is the task of the Data Analyst and Data Scientist. 

Figure 1. There is a lot to choose from when it comes to Data Roles, which is the one for you?

Database administrator, DBA
Definition: The one responsible for the design (physical and logical) of the management and administration of the database
Functions: Security, optimization, monitoring, problem resolution, analysis, and forecasting of present and future capabilities 
Requisites: This is a very technical role, and requires profound knowledge of SQL, and over time, more knowledge of noSQL databases. Likewise, management skills may be necessary to design policies and procedures for the use, management, maintenance and security of databases.

In short, their function is to make sure that "the machine works".

Entreprise Data Architect, EDA
Definition: They are responsible for creating the capture infrastructure, and access to the data. Define how the data moves.
Functions: Design of the environment for the use of the data. How they are stored, how they are accessed and how they are shared / used by different departments, systems or applications, in line with the business strategy.
Requisites: It is a strategic role, for which a vision of the entire life cycle is required. Therefore, you should consider aspects of data modeling, database design, SQL development, and software project management. It is also important to know and understand how traditional and emerging technologies can contribute to the achievement of business objectives.

In short, their function is to ensure that "define the global vision."

Data Governance Manager
Definition: They are in charge of defining and organizing the process of collection, storage, and access to data, guaranteeing at all times its security and confidentiality.
Functions: Define and verify compliance with policies and compliance with standards. Manage the life cycle of the data and make sure that they are guarded in a safe and organized fashion and that only authorized people have access to. 
Requisites: For this role, it is necessary to combine functional knowledge of how databases and other associated technologies work, with a deep knowledge of the regulations of each particular industry (financial, pharmaceutical, telecommunication, etc.)

In short, their function is "Define and ensure compliance of the rules that define the flow of data ".

Once we have a system in which the data is well organized, accessible and securely guarded, what interests us is to take advantage of them, extracting from them those valuable "Insights" or keys about patterns of behavior that, applied to our processes of day by day they make them more efficient and innovative. This is the moment when two new roles come into play.

Data Analyst
Definition: Is responsible for analyzing statistical techniques (among others) historical data of the organization to make better informed future decisions (from how to avoid the flight of customers, to the definition of pricing strategies).
Functions: Analyze historical data to detect patterns of behavior or trends. (Descriptive and / or predictive analysis)
Requisites: For this role, knowledge about statistics, together with critical thinking skills are fundamental. Communication skills are also of great importance.

In short, their function is "Understanding what has happened in the past to make better decisions in the future."

Data Scientist
Definition: They are in charge of carrying out a prescriptive analysis of the business data history, so that he/she can not only anticipate what will happen in the future and when, but also give a reason why. This way they can suggest what decisions need to be taken, to take advantage of a future business opportunity or mitigate a possible risk and showing the implication of each option on the result.
Functions: Build and apply Machine Learning models capable of continuing to learn and improving their predictive capacity as the volume of data collected increases.
Requisites: For this role, it is important to have advanced knowledge of mathematics in general (and of statistics in particular), as well as knowledge of Machine Learning, and knowledge of programming in SQL, Phyton, R or Scala is necessary.

On occasion, the Data Analyst can be considered a Data Scientist "in training". Therefore, the border between the tasks and functions of both roles is sometimes not so clear.

In short, its function is "Modeling the future".

Finally yet importantly, we have left a fundamental role for the end, the Chief Data Officer (CDO)

Chief Data Officer (CDO)
Definition: They are responsible for directing, planning and controlling the digital transformation of any brand. For this reason, they are most responsible for the areas of Data Governance, Information Management and Security.
Functions: Establish the strategy that guarantees the digital growth of the company in a sustainable way over time, able to adapt fluidly to the continuous changes in the digital landscape. They should also encourage the internal and external relations of the organization, attract the best talent, lead teams and solve with diplomacy the potential tensions that may arise between the different departments of the company.
Requisites: For this role, it is very important to have a great experience in the digital world, strategic vision, communication skills for teamwork and creativity. The CDO must be innovative, sometimes even disruptive, and have decision-making power and resources. For this reason, it is usually under the orders of the CEO.

The CDO role can have some "overlaps" with the figure of the CIO ("Chief Information Officer"), but in the case of the CDO, this role combines the aspects of technological innovation, with a clear marketing component aimed at exploiting "Digital Assets".

Now that you know more about all the different data roles, with which one do you identify most? 


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