January 21, 2014

Frequent readers of InformationWeek's big data coverage are well aware that a successful data science program requires a team of trained experts, each with a unique skill set, rather than one unicorn employee capable of doing it all.

But knowing that doesn't necessarily simplify the task of hiring qualified data scientists. Booz Allen Hamilton's "The Field Guide to Data Science" is a 110-page primer that goes into great detail on how to build a data science team. We've summarized some salient details below.

When building your team, it's important to focus on these key qualities:

  • Curiosity: Required to "peel apart" problems and study relationships between data, including those that may at first glance seem unrelated.
  • Creativity: For devising and attempting new problem-solving approaches and potential solutions that haven't been tried before.
  • Focus: Essential for designing and testing techniques over lengthy periods (days or weeks). A tenacious attitude is important for learning from failure and trying until you get it right.
  • Attention to detail: Important for maintaining rigor and for avoiding an over-reliance on intuition when analyzing data.
  • Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek