I’m a Data Science Consultant – What even is that?

There has been a lot of talk about “the sexiest job” of… I think it was back in 2012?! I’m talking about the role of Data Scientist. So a few people know what that is about. But what then is a Data Science Consultant?!

Since I have been recently hired in such a role, let me try and shed some light.

First: what it is NOT

Consultants are not necessarily freelancers or have their own business. Being hired in a consultant role also does not mean that you have it all figured out and are giving advice all day long right after starting the job.

I’m definitely not doing either of those things right now. So what do I do?

Rough Overview of IT consulting

I work at a company providing IT services and consulting. That means the company is paid by other companies to create an app for them, to build up their database, analyze their data to generate more income or set up their servers. Often, the specific task the client needs done isn’t even clear (“we have data and we want to use it to make more money”) and that’s where the consulting comes in.

The range of services I just listed is quite big. Obviously us data-people just focus on building databases, collecting data and analyzing it to help the business strategically. The company as a whole just has a few different departments.

Why does the paying company not just do it themselves?

Well, either they don’t have their own IT staff or their IT team is too small for the specific task or they simply need more specialized know-how. Often times, you only need an app once every 2 years and it’s not sensible to hire a full team for that when you won’t need them anymore after the app is done. So instead you hire a consulting business.

Consulting as a fresh graduate

Now obviously I’m not running around telling businesses what to do with their data and money. However, my more experienced colleagues can indeed provide this advice.

And after it has been decided what route we want to go in with regards to the clients data problem, there is a lot to do. Data needs to be collected and merged, it needs to be cleaned, different statistics and forecasting models need to be created and finally the results need to be presented to the client. These are all tasks that can fully or partially be done by a recent Computer Science graduate like me.

And over time I will slowly learn more about the business decisions underlying all of these decisions. Or at least that’s the plan…

My current experience

Given that I only started in this role last week, I’m not gonna pretend like I’ve got it all figured out. I still got a TON to learn and it’s quite overwhelming right now (Imposter Syndrome? Yes, 100%. Just today I asked myself why I got even hired, I felt so useless). But we’ll get there 🙂

I will update once I learn more and have more experiences to share, but I needed to clarify my job title a bit before people accuse me of ruining businesses left and right 😉

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