By Ida Lucente, John Snow Labs.
If you have the skills to work as a data scientist then there are lots of job opportunities waiting for you in the Data Philanthropy sector. Have you ever observed that your talent could also provide benefits to nonprofit organizations and other mission-driven companies?
If we review some facts, the number of data scientists around the world is still increasing day by day. However social organizations are not able to find these skilled people to handle their projects. The reason behind is that they are not able to provide the right platform to attract these professionals. Data scientists are more likely to get attracted by workplaces that provide better opportunities to grow their own skills. They wish to work with an active community of data scientists within an inspiring environment where they have easy access to data. But the sad truth is that very few NGOs have such kind of interactive platforms to offer.
It is time to understand that data scientists are some of the smartest people in the world and so they love to work for a greater mission. Most of these experts love to use their creativity for Data Science, DataOps and Data Analysis, beyond the mere financial gain. They want to improve opportunities in the environment by working on more challenging and purpose-driven projects. Data scientists can even do better jobs for disease analysis and they can definitely solve more pressing social issues. These innovative people love to play with massive datasets, which are for them like creative puzzles to be solved. And the great news is that social organizations have indeed many opportunities for them. It means that data scientists can think of working on part-time social good data projects after their normal 9 to 5-day jobs to achieve some impactful results for the greater good and public interest.
We should start thinking about the mechanism that can connect data scientists to social projects. Up to now, this has been achieved by many for-profit employers and companies, which make sure to translate their company mission into solid social impact. These connections can also be created by third parties via their specially designed networks. For example, Rayid Ghani who was the Chief Data Scientist for the Obama 2012 Campaign, yet he is running a useful project for data scientists with its Fellowship on Data Science for Social Good program. This platform connects unlimited Data Science experts from the University of Chicago to work on meaningful projects, collaborating with various federal agencies, local governments, and nonprofits. Another big platform for data analysts is nowadays the UN Global Pulse, which allows data science experts to address various developing nations’ social issues that can affect their growth.
More recently, we have witnessed the enormous explosion of social good Hackathons. One example is DataDives, high energy, marathon-style events where mission-driven organizations work alongside teams of volunteer data scientists, developers, and designers to use data to gain insight into their programs, the communities they serve and more. These popular weekend events, organized by DataKind, attract various expert data scientists to address social issues that nonprofit organizations cannot otherwise solve with their limited source of in-house data science expertise.
There are more great tools that can develop meaningful connections such as is the “social good conferences”, as they provide an opportunity to start discussions on data solutions for social issues worldwide. However, they often stick to limited topics so we cannot completely rely on this resource. Ultimately, the major question is how talented data science experts can get easy access to various data for good projects on a larger scale.
Now, the great news is that if you want to join the “Data for Good Movement” then John Snow Labs, with its Data Philanthropy Program, can help you to get free and easy access to curated and updated datasets within the cybersecurity, life science, and healthcare category. The Data Philanthropy Program is all about allocating the right opportunities to the right people. It can help nonprofits to get skilled staff to complete their projects as well as Hackathons and universities under its 1% pledge so that more purpose-driven and social good projects can see the light. This is the case for Finder at HackPrinceton or Request2D at HopHacks.
To advance as a society we would like to see more data for good virtual marketplaces that can help data scientists to make direct connections with NGOs so that they can find the right opportunities to suit their own skills and time. It may appear a complicated thing for some of you but if you look at the progress made by technology within last few years when an email was just a dream, then we can believe that this is also possible in near future.