Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century

The esteemed experts writing for the Harvard Business Review have publicly recognized a fact so obvious that it hardly needs to be said at all:  Data Scientists have the sexiest Job of the 21st Century.  Obviously. What the duh? All I have to say is: you had better buckle up, because we have 80 more years of this insane level of sexiness.

I can’t even leave my cubicle without those gold diggers trying to hold my pocket protector.

Although there is no debate that Data Scientists have a sexy dial that goes to 11, there is less agreement on what Data Science actually is. SAS (the statistical and analytics powerhouse) says Data Scientists are “part mathematician, part computer scientist and part trend-spotter” . UC Berkeley’s Data Science program clears up any confusion by saying Data Scientists “identify relevant questions, collect data from a multitude of different data sources, organize the information, translate results into solutions, and communicate their findings“. Which sounds a lot like a different, (totally non-sexy) discipline: Statistics. Coincidentally, The Board of the American Statistical Association suggests that all Statisticians are Data Scientists, but some Data Scientists do non-statistical (and non-science, I might add) activities like database management and systems administration. You cant blame statisticians for wanting to be sexy too.

Perhaps the relatively new discipline of Data Science hasn’t had time to differentiate itself yet. Or perhaps the confusion is because most data scientists began in other fields, and 66% of Data Scientists are self taught. With so many self taught, variability is inevitable.

  • Data Scientist
  • Median Base Salary: $130,000
  • Job Growth (YoY ): 4,000+ (56%)

Health Information Manager (HIM Director)

HIM Directors oversee the financial and clinical data within a healthcare organization. Unlike the related field of clinical informatics, these important professionals have a long history in healthcare prior to computing. Typically HIM Directors are more involved with the data and information (such as standards, quality reporting, compliance) and less engaged with managing the software and IT systems. HIM Directors play a large part of the revenue cycle and compliance and add value to the organization. They also:

  • Ensure accurate and complete medical record documentation
  • Work with physicians to improve the quality of documentation
  • Oversee coding staff
  • Ensure compliance with state and federal laws related to privacy, security, and record completion
  • Analyze disputes and denials from payers

HIM Professionals hold professional certifications in a number of different areas including coding, administration, and quality.

(Data) Enterprise Architect

Enterprise Architects create data models and conventions; provide leadership with enterprise data strategies; revise data dictionary definitions, governance practices, and standards.

Although this role encompasses all aspects of data management( conceptual, logical, and physical), it is often not focused on the physical implementation. Enterprise Architects often operate at a macro level consistent with the organization’s mission and vision.

Database Administrator

Database administrators (DBA) manage the databases (applications that store data) for an organization. In healthcare, most databases are commercial relational database systems (e.g. Oracle and SQL Server), but there are a growing number of open source, no-SQL, and other non-traditional data repositories. DBAs play a critical role as they maintain the integrity of all of the data across the organization. DBAs (often with the help of system administrators) back up the data in the organization in case of data corruption or loss. The DBA works closely with systems analysts, programmers, and data analyst on projects that require access to data and creation of new databases.

  • Database Administrator
  • Certifications preferred
  • Salary varies greatly. $65K – $110K

Data Analyst/Designer

Sometimes also called report writers, visualization developer, data scientist(!), or business intelligence engineer. No matter what they are called, they create interactive reports, dashboards, and visualizations to aid patients, providers and administrators make better decisions.

AHIMA has a super-cool interactive thing they call a Career Map that describes jobs and lateral moves