Data scientists gather for Edinburgh talent summit

More than 200 specialists in the field of data science will gather in Edinburgh tomorrow for a summit focusing on how organisations can recruit and develop the best talent.

From left: Joshua Ryan-Saha of The Data Lab with Georgia Boyle and Michael Young of MBN. Picture: Stewart Attwood

The event, organised by specialist recruiter MBN in partnership with publicly funded innovation centre The Data Lab, will be held at the city’s Dynamic Earth, where delegates will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the economy, and how the data science sector can address the growing need for skilled workers.

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The summit has lined up industry speakers from organisations including Channel 4, Glasgow City Council, Morgan Stanley and Sainsbury’s Bank.

Mark Hunter, chief data officer at Sainsbury’s Bank, said: “It’s vitally important that Scotland continues to drive forward its data credentials and a cornerstone of this is ensuring companies not only harness data science effectively, but also that the industry works together to ensure there’s a consistent pipeline of data scientists available to support ongoing sector growth.”

The gathering comes after Glasgow-based MBN, which is headed by chief executive Michael Young and last year struck a deal to help find roles for master’s degree students on courses backed by The Data Lab, said Scotland was witnessing the emergence of a new breed of specialists, dubbed “data scientist 2.0”, who will have to be able to combine technical abilities with “soft skills” such as critical thinking and relationship building.

Joshua Ryan-Saha, skills manager at The Data Lab, said: “This event is a great opportunity to show what data science students in Scotland are capable of when placed with Scottish companies.

“We are already seeing success from last year’s cohort, with many students obtaining full-time employment within their host company.”

MBN chairman Paul Forrest added: “With intense competition for top data talent, effective career paths can play a critical role in an organisation’s ability to achieve its human capital goals.

“Only with this effective meeting of minds between corporates, academia and data scientists will we really see the en-masse arrival of the data scientist 2.0.”