Tracking the Data Science Talent Gap

March 25, 2016   Alex Woodie If your company is looking to hire data scientist right now,…

Georgia (Mar 28, 2016)

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March 25, 2016


Alex Woodie

If your company is looking to hire data scientist right now, good luck. Five years after Harvard Business Review first shone the spotlight on the data scientist shortage, the gap between data science supply and demand remains substantial. In fact, the gap may be getting bigger.

How big is the data science skills gap? There are several ways to attack that problem, and a number of smart people at renowned organizations have attempted to put numbers to the problem….

Down on the Farm

American universities have been ramping up their postgraduate data science programs ever since the data scientist shortage was first identified and DJ Patil and Tom Davenport labeled data scientist “the sexiest job of the 21st century.”

Today, there are a dozen or so PhD-level data science programs around the country, and another dozen or so established computer science programs with an emphasis in data science, according to Kennesaw State University Professor Jennifer Priestley, who is credited with forming the country’s first formal data science doctorate program.

“I think we have a short-term misalignment of what academia can provide to the marketplace and what the marketplace is demanding,” Priestley tells Datanami. “That’s what’s driving the buzz right now. Nobody can find the talent because the farm program can’t do it right now. But I think that’s changing. We’re seeing more PhD program in data science, and heaven knows we’re seeing an explosion in masters-level data science programs, and I think that’s a good thing.”

Priestley is currently going through the second round of applicants for the KSU data science program, which has five openings for a two-year program. Like the data science talent crunch felt in the marketplace, the interest in the KSU program exceeds supply.

“I have never been so popular,” Priestley says. “I wish I had had this much attention in high school. My phone rings all day long and I probably get an email every six hours from somebody somewhere on the planet who either wants to apply to our PhD program or can’t because we’re not online.” …


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit