Alt-Tab! Balancing Work and Life in the Analytics World

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Work-life balance is an elusive yet highly sought after prize by most working individuals. This can depend greatly upon the priorities and ethics of the individual and the firm, but it is evident that some jobs and careers provide strong opportunities for people to seek a healthy professional life combined with a satisfying personal life.  Definitely, not every “satisfied” working professional has the time to play golf for hours on end, but over the years it has definitely become important for men and women alike to make time for family, exercise, friends and vacation. 

A few weeks ago, an article by Forbes.com caught our attention. Forbes, along with salary comparison site Glassdoor.com gathered employee feedback on work-life balance in an exhaustive list of occupations over the past year. Surprisingly enough, data science seems to be the best job for the perfect work-life balance! This indeed does come as a shocker because data science is a relatively new job stream in the market.

Most data-scientists believe that the reason for the perfect work-life balance can vary from person to person and firm to firm. Naturally, while working for bigger firms, one works with whatever language and tools the company endorses. Data scientists who work for start-ups, on the other hand, are given a lot of freedom to explore data sets. However, there is a always a possibility that daily work will involve producing data-derived knowledge which is sold back to bigger companies. Thus, the choice between big and small companies and their consequent effect on work-life balance is highly personal.  As a rule of thumb though, most of us know that start-ups often mean a lot more extended work hours.  Funnily enough, working in a multinational giant isn’t going to guarantee a nine-to-five schedule.  So, there are of course exceptions to even our assumptions!

Statistics deem that most data scientists are actually fallen academics. A large chunk of these people end up being STEM grads or even PhDs who suddenly realize that they don’t want to devote their lives to academic pursuits. At that point, a career as a data scientist emerges as an attractive alternative since it is the perfect opportunity to channel their inner nerd and apply it to the real world.

Another condition that improves the general work-life balance and satisfaction of data-scientists is the fact that there is a constant demand. The world has just begun to appreciate this elite group of extremely qualified and intelligent people and the demand for their skills is only going to increase.

Needless to say, since this is only an emerging field, a formal work ethic or job-specific demands haven’t been laid out as yet. Firms are ready to let data-scientists create their own work ethics and hence, now would be a great time for you to join this stream. Despite unfavorable economic conditions across many professions, salaries for data scientists continue to be on the rise. Salaries rose 8% on average in the last year, with bonuses adding $56,000, according to a salary and employment survey released Burtch Works, a recruiter of professionals with quantitative skills.  This, coupled with Forbes’ declaration that the profession offers maximum flexibility and the best of both worlds, wouldn’t you be tempted to give data science a thought?!

Image Courtesy: Freedigitalphotos.net

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