April 6, 2016

Matchmaker Vets Data Scientists as Talent Gap Widens

George Leopold

A company that creates standards for evaluating data skills has launched a matchmaking service connecting qualified data scientists with potential employers.

Addressing the growing shortage of data scientists at a time when tool vendors are striving to make analytics tools easier to use, matchmaker Correlation One said its new vetting service is based on its proprietary suite of tests. The company provides a “report card” to prospective employers to help them evaluate potential candidates. The service seeks to take advantage of the reality that data science has become a sellers’ market.

The service includes a battery of tests designed to validate a range of data science skills along with proprietary “resume analysis” algorithm. The company said its process extracts key factors from a candidate’s resume and correlates them with an employer’s requirements.

The approach allows Correlation One to function more like a fellow data scientist than a recruiter in helping clients evaluate candidates, according to company co-founder and CEO Sham Mustafa.

The company also sponsors “datathons” that allow data scientists to collaborate as a way of building a larger data science community. It hosted a datathon at New York University’s Center for Data Science in early April.

Datathons are used as a recruiting tool during which attendees can submit resumes, take Correlation One’s battery of data science tests and begin pursuing job openings.

For potential employees, the service provides scores in areas like data and statistics, engineering and communications skills along with an overall candidate rating. The data and statistics assessment includes data exploration, visualization and analysis along with statistics.

The engineering assessment covers coding efficiency, the ability generate “productionable” code, tool sophistication, data munging, or data formatting, along with data engineering.

The company currently has over 800 candidates in its pipeline and said it continues to add up to 50 candidates each week. Data science candidates get free access to the vetting platform to create portfolios, access data sets and conduct job searches.

The company estimates there are currently 150,000 data scientists in the U.S. while demand over the next three years is expected to 800,000 new positions. Demand is increasing, as is competition for top data science talent.

Correlation One is among the latest attempts to bridge the growing data science talent gap. For example, a 2014 market survey found that 40 percent of respondents considered lack of data science talent to be a top concern. Consequently, growing competition to hire top talent has driven salaries for data scientists through the roof. A salary survey conducted last year pegged the base median salary for data scientists at $104,000. In markets like Silicon Valley and New York City, starting salaries for data scientists can top $200,000, according to recent reports.

Hence, companies like Correlation One are seeking to distinguish themselves from traditional recruiters by helping prospective employers vet candidates who are worthy of starting salaries at the high end of the engineering wage scale.

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