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  #11  
Old 06-24-2019, 05:22 PM
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FutureStatistician FutureStatistician is offline
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My team started small and slowly grew over time. Originally we hired people with Excel/VBA/SQL skills and now we are hiring people with Python/R/data science skills as our technology and needs have evolved. There is still plenty of work for the Excel/SQL folks, and some of them have moved into management over the data science folks and donít use hard technical skills on a day to day basis anyway.

We also offered in-house training opportunities (ex-several 3 month Python courses) to existing staff to develop their skills.

Assuming that you donít need to hire everyone now, but rather that you can slowly grow your team organically over the next few years, I would hire for current needs now and worry about future needs when you actually get there (it will likely take much longer than you currently anticipate).
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  #12  
Old 06-24-2019, 10:21 PM
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I agree with the general concept of hire for the current needs, but use the prospective work as a bonus. I think there are a lot of people with one skill set who would love the opportunity to gather the other, myself included. Most talented individuals will be happy to switch up their work opportunities.

That being said, someone who can do both would certainly be better. It's just a matter of what are you going to do to identify, attract, and maintain that kind of talent.
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  #13  
Old 06-25-2019, 08:02 AM
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for the last two.

Also, maybe you only need one really good SQL person and can cross-pollinate some. Many data science people (Python/R and the like) are at least strongly familiar with SQL in order to extract data. Might be enough to get the thing built as long as you have a strong leader to spearhead design/structure.
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  #14  
Old 06-25-2019, 01:43 PM
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maybe the people you are looking for need more of an incentive to move to Nebraska?
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  #15  
Old 06-25-2019, 06:37 PM
Sheffey Sheffey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonlnear View Post
Don't underestimate the future/ongoing need for the same data architect skills you will need to build the thing initially. From the sound of it, if things go well you will always be building. And don't trust that pushing it to IT when it's in production means it's safe to trust that they know how things should be built. The way IT gets staffed in some companies, it has the institutional memory of a proverbial goldfish.
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  #16  
Old 06-26-2019, 12:21 AM
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Regarding the replies so far: thank you for the discussion!! I'm feeling better about my chosen path seeing some of the experiences others have had.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Climbing Bum View Post
... It's just a matter of what are you going to do to identify, attract, and maintain that kind of talent.
Well put. The maintenance piece I hope is the easiest of the three. Being intentional and front-loading some of the non-traditional work, actively supporting educational development, and engagement with the Data Science community within the organization I hope all contribute to a positive and fulfilling environment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oedipus rex View Post
maybe the people you are looking for need more of an incentive to move to Nebraska?
This is at the heart of the attraction piece... I moved out here from the PNW just over three years ago. I was able to convince myself to come to the Midwest by putting an expiration date on the engagement. I've since reset that countdown as I've grown acclimated, but, I'm certain anyone else staring down the potential of fields laden with corn would feel similar misgivings. Most of my co-workers are from Nebraska, or, at least a stone's throw away. Options here then become:
  • Offering an exciting opportunity: from my perspective, an opportunity to help shape a new analytical paradigm within an enterprise complete with an expectation of learning and development sounds awesome
  • Opening the door to remote employment: I mentioned previously we're trying to centralize function and then convince a broad constituency to do their analytics differently; the right candidate might be successful doing this remotely but I worry that this might require a substantial amount of on-site relationship building
  • Providing gargantuan paychecks: this one is out of my control; contrasting personal experience with prior employers I feel like we're pretty competitive
Recognizing everyone's situation is different, and asking anyway... What might convince you to move to Nebraska? Or, probably more appropriately, what might you want to see to reassure you that you could tolerate Nebraska long enough to help something like this succeed?

P.S. I'm sorry that my replies seem to turn into rants. I can start providing the TL;DR at the top if needed.
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  #17  
Old 06-26-2019, 09:25 AM
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While I'm a fan of careful, experienced use of contract work, if you're still building your core team I think your plan to hire for current skills and have them skill up is totally doable - even natural.

After all, if Home Depot could take warehouse floor workers and cashiers and turn them into full stack developers, there's clearly some room - or even need - for a career path that encourages continuous learning.

If I were in your shoes I'd be looking for hungry people who can learn. In addition to the usual qualifications, try searching indeed for masters degrees in thing like mathematics and physics. Ex-teachers can be amazing. Be very clear in the interview that they'll be expected to learn something new every day, and if they look scared of that it's at least a yellow flag.

Then create a plan for educating them. Budget for both the educational process and their increased pay as they advance.

Regardless of what you do, I'd love to hear updates.
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  #18  
Old 06-26-2019, 10:22 AM
Sheffey Sheffey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rake View Post

Recognizing everyone's situation is different, and asking anyway... What might convince you to move to Nebraska?
I'd go, but my husband wouldn't.. so the answer is, nothing would convince us (unless there only were jobs in Nebraska and nowhere else ). I might be up for remote work though.
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  #19  
Old 06-26-2019, 12:51 PM
cincinnatikid cincinnatikid is offline
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It's all about selling your vision to candidates through the interview process and getting them excited for where you want to go. Filter on the candidates that have the requisite data structure and SQL knowledge, and find the ones that are excited about leveraging that into unlocking analytical insights.

Spend less time worrying about industry specific knowledge and exposure to future-use programming languages (R/Python); if you find talented people that are excited for where you care headed, those gaps will fill themselves.

All that said, it completely sucks to try to find that kind of person in this environment. Be patient and flexible, but don't compromise your vision in the process.
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