Filling the big data talent gap

Some IT departments may struggle to find one person that fits that bill, which is why many of them are creating teams of data scientists within their organisation.

"Ideally, that team should include a combination of analysts, business users, developers and marketers," offered Dunleavy.

There is massive demand, but not enough people with experience.

This is a view partially shared by Nick Halstead, chief technology officer and founder of social media analytics firm DataSift.

He said, rather than concentrate on recruiting graduates to fill the data scientist position, many firms will already have the skills they need in house.

"There is massive demand [in the IT jobs market], but not enough people with experience. However, there is an opportunity for existing business-orientated functions to take on a wider role [as data scientists]," explained Halstead.

"For example, web analytics specialists have a mix of skills that could be used [to fill the role] of a data scientist in the enterprise."

The financial services industry is also a rich hunting ground for candidates that fit the data scientist profile, claimed Halstead.

"The banking industry was one of the first industries to realise the benefits for big data and data science, and it has become a breeding ground for the skills needed to analyse and understand both data trends and business impact," he said.

"The collapse in the financial services market means that the UK is in a strong position to take the skills from that sector and apply those to big data problems in any industry."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.