As we’ve discussed previously here at the APEX of Innovation, citizen data scientists are becoming an increasingly integral part of enterprise analytics efforts. A recent article by Paul Mah in CDO Trends offers tips for companies looking to train more knowledge workers on data science best practices, including: 

Engage With Employees 

Mah quotes TIBCO’s data scientist definition, “A citizen data scientist is a knowledge worker without formal training in advanced mathematics and statistics that uses applications to extract high-value insight from data.” If an organization hopes to identify more individuals who might fit this bill it follows that the company must first engage with these potential citizen data scientists to gauge their interest and aptitude. From there, it’s important to start small as employees are also juggling other responsibilities in tandem with getting up to speed on basic data science elements. Mah suggests companies begin by assigning fledgling data scientists tasks such as validating data quality, merging data, or identifying data sources.

Democratize Data Science 

If data is stored in siloes or disconnected repositories, citizen data scientists are unlikely to be very successful. That’s why ensuring effective data integration and democratizing access to this information is another important step in training more citizen data scientists. Companies should invest in modern business intelligence platforms that make it easy for employees to perform relatively sophisticated analyses via low-code or no-code tools. As this happens the company’s culture will naturally become increasingly data-driven, which in turn will encourage more data-savvy employees to seek out citizen data scientist opportunities. 

Focus on Strategic Projects 

Mah references a recent HBR report which found that citizen data scientists efforts were most successful when applied to problems with long-term strategic importance, rather than focusing on areas with the largest amount of available data. The article also encourages companies to focus on projects with the highest likelihood of success and look for small data projects where citizen data scientists can make a lasting impact.

Head over to CDO Trends for more of Mah’s suggestions. And if you’re interested in further reading about the importance of the citizen data scientist movement, check out more of our previous coverage of the topic here.