Of all the skills employers look for in analytics pros, curiosity came out on top in a study of the characteristics of analytics pros.
The International Institute for Analytics and vendor Talent Analytics, Corp. surveyed 302 analytics professionals last summer. I’ve written before that while tech skills can be taught, curiosity tends to be more of an innate trait.
Here’s how the authors described it in an interview at KDnuggets.com:
The Analytics Professionals in our 2012 Study are very creative and curious. They have an insatiable thirst to learn; wanting to look everything up on the Internet immediately because they simply "have to know." You'll find them at Meetup Groups on the weekends because they are so compelled to learn more. It's no wonder they're easily bored when they do nothing but data cleansing.
They won't be satisfied with their first solution and will continue searching; using their powers of imagination to continue exploring till they've exhausted all possible angles.
They are also a group of realists; calm and objective in a high-pressure situation. When something doesn't work, they'll assume there is a rational explanation and jump in to find and solve it.
Those are the folks in-house that companies should look for in developing their own data talent. Greta Roberts, CEO of Talent Analytics, is quoted at Information Management as saying:
It will be important for business to move beyond being dazzled by software skills and learn how to identify and hire analytic talent from within their own company as well – there is a lot of untapped talent already under the same roof.
As for hiring strategies when recruiting externally, it’s no surprise that the authors’ suggestions include being at those Meetup Groups.