Data Scientist Jobs Are Decoding Big Data in Healthcare

Big data is changing the way people and companies work and interact. It can provide valuable insights to inform decision-making processes and improve operational efficiency and effectiveness. But as its name suggests, big data can be a big mess…

Today, these data analysts are largely known as data scientists, part of a discipline born from statistics and raised alongside computer science. Members of this new breed of number crunchers have been steadily scooped up by companies like Google, LinkedIn and Facebook, making the data scientist what some have called the sexiest job of the 21st century. And while data scientists and related positions in business intelligence, analytics and informatics are now common in social media and retail businesses, their presence in healthcare is still somewhat nascent…

Megan Landry, is the Program Manager for Health Informatics Programs at the University of New England (UNE) in Southern Maine. She recently helped launch a Master of Science Degree in Informatics at the university. The program focuses on both technical skills like data visualization, analytics, and database design as well as soft skills like project management and leadership training. She said all of the current students have some kind of healthcare background.

The program began taking students this past January and already the employers are calling. “They’re pleading,” she said, “for employees or interns with experience in healthcare data analytics or some variation.” She’s been contacted by health IT vendors, government, providers and insurers alike, all looking for the same thing. “Folks that can crunch data and use programs that also have critical thinking and communication skills,” she stated…

So what do Landry, Moody and Just suggest someone do if they want to get into the big data field?

First off, all three suggest the person get acquainted with several database and visualization tools, and agree that SQL is the big daddy of big data. “If you can learn SQL, you can learn R, SAS, or Tableau, but it’s harder in the reverse,” advocated Moody. “When I look at a resume, I’m also looking for someone who has picked up and mastered multiple tools and platforms so that I know they can pick up the next tool that comes along.”

And along with a baseline technical background, all suggest those interested in the field get at least some healthcare exposure. “I had a student who worked in office management for a large electronic health record company,” described Landry. “He wanted to move over into the clinical side and so he got some training and worked weekends as an ER tech.”…

Last we asked Landry, Moody and Just to tell us what was in store for big data in healthcare and what that would mean for future health information technology jobs.

Landry thinks interest in education in the field will continue to grow, and sees more informatics degree, certificate and continuing education programs on the horizon for her university and others. That’s good news for Just as he projects big data and analytics will become increasingly competitive. “We’ll need to hire the best and brightest to maintain our edge,” he admitted. But he also said he’s optimistic and feels that while there will be more employers competing for the same job candidates, there will be a corresponding increase in the number of people interested in and qualified for the field. “I see this as a rising tide to lift all boats,” he said. “We’ll be a better company for it, and we’ll have better candidates for it too.”

Source: Data Scientist Jobs Are Decoding Big Data in Healthcare