Data story-telling drives demand for communications skills

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Data story-telling relies on data scientists honing strong communications skills, in order to effectively relay information to the executive team.

Digital Nation Australia spoke to Dr Alex Antic, managing director of human-centred data science and AI consulting group, Dr Alex Antic Group, about why the soft skills are growing in demand.

Antic breaks down the skill set of an effective data science communicator: “Being able to write reports, develop fantastic dashboards, easily explain some of these results and your insights, but also being able to verbally describe your findings to your peers, to senior management, about what the impact of these results are on the business.

“Being able to steer away from technical jargon and very much understand the nuance of the business and actively speak in business terms so that the impact is clear and it's measurable outcomes associated with your findings,” said Antic.

While he believes that these communication skills have improved for data scientists in the last few years, this has occurred alongside greater demand for those in non-technical roles to upskill.

“On one hand, you have quite drastic improvements on technical professionals as a whole spending more time in how to tell stories with data, as we often hear, about how to communicate these findings to both technical and non-technical audiences. And on the other hand, we also have an uptake from senior management in their own data literacy capabilities to better understand what are some of the technology is that drives these outcomes.”

The most traction will be gained as management teas learn to interrogate the data and the technical solutions being provided to them, he said.

“A lot of positive movement will come as a result in the near term as more senior managers don’t just accept some of these findings but also question them and say, ‘Have you considered alternatives that can better explain to me why particular methodology was used and what are some of the ramifications on our business?'”

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