female data scientist, woman leading team

Why women should consider analytics as a career path

female data scientist, woman leading team

Louise Lunn, Vice President, Global Analytics Delivery, FICO discusses why building a career in analytics will lead to purposeful engagement, meaning and motivation.

There has never been a better time for women to be part of the technology industry.

Powered by advancements in computing and AI, there are now huge opportunities to solve interesting problems at a global scale. This opportunity, combined with the momentum to build a diverse workforce, makes it a truly exciting time to be part of the analytics industry. In fact, the data scientist has been called “the sexiest job of the 21st century” by Harvard Business Review.

The coronavirus outbreak caused widespread concern and economic hardship for consumers, businesses, and communities across the globe. It also accelerated digital transformation, the use of open banking data and the adoption of AI in financial services.  The focus within the financial services industry switched to digital transformation programmes. The use of data and analytics by businesses was also expanded to improve understanding of customer circumstances through both good and bad times, with the aim of winning loyalty and achieving profitability.

Data science teams play a fundamental role, responding to the critical need for banking systems to make excellent decisions in an automated fashion. For example, banking scams have been climbing during the pandemic, due to the growth in real-time payments from debit accounts. FICO data analysts used AI and machine learning to develop analytic models that specifically focus on identifying abnormal payment transactions in real time, to help curb fraud.

Creating a positive experience and prioritising customer experience and personalisation is so important in the current climate and analytics teams are fundamental to this function to ensure relevant and non-conflicting offers, treatments and messages are sent. And the growth of data means the door is pushed even wider for those looking for a career path in this field.

The job functions that build an analytics team vary from data scientist, data architect, data analyst, to data engineer. Within these roles you’ll find a whole host of specialties, such as:

  • The Algorithm Guru – understands the variety of choices for the breadth of tasks
  • The Architect –ensures that the infrastructure can manage large-scale datasets and ensure things run fast!  Strong computer science and software knowledge.
  • The Data Modeler – building the models
  • The Deep Diver – analyse the data/models to extract key insights
  • The Storyteller  – is needed to articulate the insights (from the cutting-edge analysis)
  • The Cat Herder – keeps everyone together and on track with where they should be

For anyone thinking about data science as a career route, the opportunities are immense. These roles are an offshoot of several traditional technical roles, including business domain expertise, mathematicians, scientists, statisticians, and computer professionals.  All these different jobs fit into the disciplines of a data scientist.

With large-scale data within organisations and growth within analytics teams, there are so many elements that make working in analytics feel purposeful. I feel grateful to be in a position to attract and retain the stars of the future in analytics and software. I enjoy giving people the opportunity to grow and develop, and then watching them go on to achieve great things. My role allows me to cultivate engagement, meaning, and motivation with my team and clients as we solve problems through data and analytics.

Within FICO we have an excellent support network through groups such as [email protected] – a community available to women at all levels, designed to enable structured information/experience sharing, education, and professional networks.  Led by a steering committee of women leaders representing our various business units and geographies, it gives us many opportunities to get involved and further our network globally.

The key thing for women looking to take the first step into analytics or for those looking to develop their roles is to try working in different areas within the field and seize any opportunity to acquire a new skill or programming language.  Stay determined, work hard and never be afraid to voice your opinion. FICO creates an environment that fosters learning, improvement, and success, and I’ve always appreciated that!

Louise LunnAbout the author

Louise Lunn leads FICO’s created Global Analytics Delivery organization. Based in the UK, Louise oversees teams of data scientists worldwide who develop custom analytics solutions and exploratory analytics projects for the world’s top banks, as well as retailers, telecommunications firms, insurance companies and other businesses.