Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
31 May–1 June 2016: Training
1 June–3 June 2016: Conference
London, UK

Developing data scientists: Breaking the skills cap

Yuelin Li (ASI)
11:00–11:30 Wednesday, 1/06/2016
Data 101
Location: Capital Suite 15 Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ***..
(3.00, 4 ratings)

Much has been made of the skills gap—the lack of advanced numerical, statistical and coding expertise necessary to become a data scientist. ASI Data Science’s Yuelin Li discusses a related concept: the skills cap—the career limitation that is imposed on a technically skilled junior data scientist if they cannot execute effectively in a commercial environment.

Doing high-quality data science in the real world requires much more than technical skill; being a successful data scientist means actually engaging with what colleagues, collaborators, and companies are looking for. Unfortunately, processes for developing these skills—communication, empathy, and business acumen—are sadly lacking in both conventional technical education and the mindsets of those who would benefit from it the most.

Drawing from over 20 interviews with employees at the top companies within data science in London and her experience training over 100 PhD graduates to become data scientists, Yuelin offers new insight into why this problem exists, how it leads to the failure of junior data scientists, and how managers can help their data scientists overcome it.

Photo of Yuelin  Li

Yuelin Li


Yuelin Li is the fellowship manager at ASI, partnering with companies to transform PhDs and postdocs into effective data scientists. Before joining ASI, Yuelin launched the made-to-order business at furniture ecommerce startup Swoon Editions and worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. Yuelin holds a BA in economics from the University of Cambridge.