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Why banks just can't get enough data scientists

She blinded him with data science.

The world of finance has a new in-demand weapon: data scientists. No longer are front-office banking, brokerage and wealth management professionals the sole driving forces of financial services firms’ competitiveness and profitability. Today, data scientists are transforming the industry, reinventing practically every facet of banking, from Wall Street trading and corporate banking to reward programs based on retail bank consumers’ behavior.

Armed with unique skills and capabilities, these tech-savvy business professionals possess the innate ability to take seemingly meaningless financial data and turn it into actionable insights that benefit the world around them. Thus, they are more sought-after by banks’ hiring managers than ever before.

I love it when you call it big data

Their rise in this industry makes perfect sense. Every transaction made at a bank or on a credit card is a piece of data that holds tremendous potential for businesses to improve and customize services. With nearly 72% of Americans owning credit cards and 92% possessing a bank account, plus the wealth of information related to M&A deals, the amount of untapped data available to data scientists is endless.

Given this explosion in data, the financial services industry now demands individuals with backgrounds not typically associated with banking. In fact, they are becoming increasingly reliant on the expertise of data scientists, who often have degrees in applied mathematics and computer science.

From an institutional standpoint, data scientists are opening doors by optimizing marketing strategies for banks through targeted promotions, boosting client retention and streamlining transaction processing. On the consumer side, they are using financial models of client activity to enhance fraud protection and target services based on needs.

Banks must evolve with the times

New technology will result in a true transformation of all areas of the banking system. By leveraging location data and other facts and figures that drive investment banking and corporate banking divisions’ profitability, data scientists are providing the financial sector with the tools necessary to more effectively service their clients and boost revenue. This is inherently at the heart of what data scientists do – using data for good to improve lives – and the bank’s bottom line.

It’s a good time to be a data scientist

It comes as no surprise that data scientists have taken the job market by storm. JPMorgan Chase recently added hundreds of tech and digital employees to its ranks to address overlooked data that can benefit their customers. This is the trend on Wall Street.

Generally, data scientists are the pioneers pushing boundaries of banks’ business models and shaping their future endeavors. They are the geniuses working to overcome banks’ vexing business problems.

As the potential of big data continues to remain seemingly infinite, the job market for data scientists in financial services will maintain its attractiveness. Now is the time to become a part of the revolution – to make a meaningful impact for good and shape the future of banking and finance.

Eric Haller is the executive vice president of Experian’s DataLabs.

Photo credit: ismagilov/GettyImages

AUTHOREric Haller Insider Comment
  • Cy
    25 July 2016

    Eric, great article! We are seeing an increase in businesses seeking specialized skills to help address challenges that arose with the era of big data. It is worth mentioning the open source HPCC Systems platform from LexisNexis helps to fill this gap by allowing data analysts themselves to own the complete data life cycle. Designed by data scientists, the programming language called ECL is declarative and expresses data algorithms across the entire HPCC platform. Their built-in analytics libraries for Machine Learning and BI integration provide a complete integrated solution from data ingestion and data processing to data delivery. HPCC Systems provides proven solutions to handle what are now called Big Data problems, and have been doing so for more than a decade. Their free online introductory courses allow for students, academia and other developers to quickly get started. For more info visit:

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