Big Data Debates: Individuals Vs. Teams

Gregory Piatetsky recently ran a poll on his popular KDnuggets website where he asked his readers to vote for the preferred way to build data science capabilities in their organizations. The poll was prompted by the strong reaction to a post by Michael Mout in which he advised employers not to advertise for “data scientists” but rather to hire computer scientists, statisticians, and database administrators and combine them into a data science team.
Piatetsky’s respondents were equally split between those favoring “Seek and train versatile Data Scientists that have all (or most) of the needed skills” and those opting for “Build a data science team where each member mainly focuses on one skill.” Some of the respondents favoring “individuals” were thinking about the limited resources of smaller companies. A more substantive argument for individuals was the fear of specialists being not “well-rounded” professionals.

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