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Should I be a management consultant or a data scientist?

So you just got your degree, and you are currently at a crossroad as to your next career choice? On one hand, you value the prestige of walking into a nice office dressed in corporate outfits, working as a management consultant. On the other hand, you also love your space & time, and are looking for a flexible possibly remote opportunity. Something working as a data scientist would easily avail you. I understand the difficult thoughts, the long “career calculations and permutations”, and the advices that seems to never stop. While a management consultant is well sought after, as a result of their expertise and astute business advice, data scientists are usually analytical data experts possessing technical skills to solve complex problems. But don’t be fooled by this sweet definition, only you know what is important for you, what skills you currently possess, and your long term goals. Your choice should therefore be based on which of the careers you are more suitable for. If a major objective towards your career choice is flexibility and longevity, I would absolutely recommend choosing data science!

A Really Tough Choice?

Making decisions is one challenging task we all take, and this is because it takes time and our energy to weigh the options available. There is also the fear of making wrong decisions that make most people paranoid, consequently making them shy away from this challenging task. 

Behind every decision, there are some fundamental factors that shape the way we think and act. Having a clear understanding of these factors can make decision making more comfortable to overcome. Making a career-based decision would mean you have to weigh some fundamental factors. These factors range from the cost of education/training to enter a career path, career expectations and duration, to the salary structure.

Your decision would also be affected by the skills and expertise required of the career, together with the amount and quality of information would be needing. Left to me, If I were to be deciding on choosing a career in management or data science, I would properly weigh the pros and cons of each career path and then make my best choice!

Why Data Scientist? 

The companies that compete most successfully are those who have data as an integral part of their business model. This availability allows the company to use analytics to identify customer’s needs, and use AI to optimize & automate the speed and quality of their decision making. It is recognized that any organization wishing to stay ahead of its contemporaries must have data scientists!

More and more organizations in this age of the world are creating analytics as a department, just like how Finance, HR, Sales, Marketing, etc. are all separated into departments. This grants an exciting prospect for all those who are at the forefront of this revolution, helping to create units in the company that are functional, creating a system & processes that cut across departments, and enabling companies to utilize the full power of data effectively.

The impressive part of data science or analytics as a profession is that one can pursue a more technical/SME (subject matter expert) based career depending on one’s interest, or also seek a more consulting career path (converting data to insights and strategies), which are both rewarding. 

Thriving As A Data Scientist 

Data science is a field where constant growth is necessary. The field welcomes progress, and to ensure this is evident in a data scientist’s lifestyle; one has to be on the constant path of always learning. As stated earlier, every organization needs (or will want) a data scientist. Still, an unskilled and stagnant one won’t be employed, they require skilled ones, a specialist in the markets they cover, who can bring them real business value from the enormous availability of data now at their disposal. However, for professionals seeking to establish themselves, you would need to evolve regularly. Another way a data scientist can improve, is by digging into alternative data, to try to perhaps understand more about how customers interact with your company and its products. Data will always contain valuable insights, you should therefore be willing to source them at great length!


Made A Decision Yet?

A data scientist’s importance in a workplace cannot be overemphasized! Allowing for optimum growth, a big reason for my preference, is being a data scientist is a massive opportunity! Also, as the world is constantly evolving, I am of the strong opinion that, eventually, management consultant would be needing knowledge on data science, and with the present reliability on data, how could one not prefer data-supported strategies and advise?! Like how Philip Rowland, who is an OC&C partner, stated

‘Data analytics provides richer insight into what is really going on, and allow decisions to be targeted and fact based, rather than directional and approximate.’

Philip Rowland, OC&C partner

If management consultants will therefore still require knowledge of data science, why bother going for it? Why not join me in my world?!

About the author


Damola is an ardent lover of technology. He obtained a degree in electrical engineering and currently works as a data scientist. His major interests are in data engineering, computer vision and business intelligence.

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