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What Makes a Data Scientist?

The data science profession is still in its infancy and so we should explain what we think makes a data scientist. A data scientist is an explorer: They need to solve complex technical problems but they themselves need to define which problems should be solved. A data scientist takes raw data and marries it with powerful analysis to bring value to our clients. This requires many skills: mathematics, a deep understanding of algorithms, empathy for human behaviours, industry knowledge and great presentation skills. Because of the breadth of skills and the diversity of the challenges which our clients present to us, strong team skills are vital.

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Do you have what it takes?

It is not necessary to be a programmer to be a skilled data scientist. Traditional IT systems are built to process a flow of transactions correctly. The data scientist is not interested in the transactions and looks at the resulting data holistically. This means that different tools and languages are used for data science than are used in mainstream IT. JTA recruits from a wide range of disciplines. We have mathematicians, engineers, bio scientists, economists, physicists and computer scientists. We value problem solving abilities far higher than the ability to program a computer.

How do you become a member of the team?

If you come to JTA for an interview what should you expect? Be ready to be challenged and be prepared to think on your feet. In one of our meeting rooms, in front of a select team of JTA experts, you will be presented with some challenges; they will require you to use some basic mathematics and the way to solve them may not be immediately obvious. What if you can’t cope with the mathematics in the heat of the moment? Well. Don’t panic. Our interviews are about problem solving so try something innovative. Try to be different and challenge us back.
If you are lucky enough to pass the problem-solving challenge you will be given a further challenge to work on at home that you will bring back and present to JTA. These challenges may test your abilities with common tools, such as R or Java, or, if you are not yet versed in these technologies, we will give you an algorithm to study and present on your return. The challenges and presentations are all done in English.
If getting a job with JTA sounds like a lot of hard work, we don’t disagree with you. It is tough but it is worth the effort. As a junior data scientist, you will learn by being immersed in existing client projects. You will soon get to grips with agile development, project management, client meetings and some of our common tools. The choice of tools and techniques is so diverse that we encourage our staff to specialize and to concentrate on an industry.
Regular overseas travel is a strong possibility for our high performers. Recent recruits and interns have enjoyed time in London, Seattle, New York, Helsinki and Stockholm engaging in both client work and business development activities. Our remuneration packages are competitive and flexible and can include benefits such as a company car and bonuses.

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