Linda Devenney & Philip O'Dwyer Fidelity
Linda Devenney and Philip O’Dwyer, Fidelity Investments. Image: Conor McKenna

Fidelity: ‘Data scientists need to be able to tell a story’

26 Oct 2016

The data science industry is growing at an exponential rate and it’s becoming more and more important to a variety of industries, both in and out of the tech industry.

Fidelity Investments is one of the largest providers of financial services in the world. It has been in Ireland for 20 years and employs approximately 1,000 people.

Future Human

We spoke to director of software engineering, Philip O’Dwyer, and director of data architecture, Linda Devenney, about the importance of data science and the kind of skill set required to pursue a career in this field.

Devenney said data science “creates an important role these days in organisations where it provides strategic and tactical decisions using the knowledge of insights” from information.

With data science being such a broad spectrum, graduates can feel lost and confused about what a job in the field actually involves or what kind of skills they need.

Because data science is a multidisciplinary field, Devenney says it requires three core competencies: maths and stats, technical skills, and business acumen. “It’s very important for data scientists to be able to tell a story of how they approach the business problem and how they came up with the solution,” she said.

The demand for data scientists is massive, but there are currently not enough candidates with the right skill sets to fill the vacancies. Fidelity Investments are combatting this problem by developing their own internal talent.

According to O’Dwyer, they’re tackling this from two angles. “[We’re] transitioning people into new data roles and also augmenting the skill set of our existing data engineers, and we’re doing that through our own data capability training programme called Suas,” he said.

With so many jobs in data science and not enough candidates to fill them, there is a need for more specified education in the field. Dublin City University launched their BSc in data science this year, the first of its kind in Ireland, with Fidelity backing the degree.

“We see the value and importance of an innovative programme like this, which helps to fill the ICT [information and communications technology] skills gap and demands of companies like Fidelity,” said Devenney.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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