APEC Data Science & Analytics Key Competency #4: Domain Knowledge and Application

According to the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Advisory Group, Domain Knowledge and Application is one of the key competencies of a Data Science & Analytics professional working in the region.

By definition, a DSA professional can apply domain-related knowledge and insights to effectively contextualize data, achieved by practical experience (e.g. apprenticeships) and exposure to emerging innovations.

In my own experience, I knew Wells Fargo data like the back of my hand, but my domain knowledge would have easily allowed me to the same great things with other big banks. When I toyed with the idea of moving into the health services industry, it was obvious my skills would be useful but I had a lot ot learn about the domain knowledge of healthcare data.

Since, domain knowledge represents knowledge and insight that is unique to the organization or industry and that analysts need to consider when conducting any data project. Without this knowledge, analytics solutions may not entirely address the real business problem.

In my experience, domain knowledge about the data being analyzed can sometimes be acquired through exploration of the raw data.  Often, good analysts become subject experts just by playing with the data and asking questions to domain experts about the data.

Given the dearth of analytics talent in many areas, reality will dictate that a lot of data projects will have to be done without sufficient domain knowledge. However, most experts would agree the best results come when the ones using the data, know the data.

So, it behooves companies to invest more in educating and enabling internal resources then looking outside for DSA talent. My solution to this is to introduce apprenticeship programs where subject matter experts train current staff with high DSA affinity who are currently working in other roles.

As an example, there are likely thousands of current call center agents who have the aptitude to be analysts an data scientists, but never had the opportunity to of into DSA. Given they are already employees with proven track records of success, they would be much more likely to have the domain knowledge needed.


Analytics Training – DMAIPH offers a wide range of analytics centric training solutions for professionals and students via public, in-house, on-site, and academic settings. We tailor each training event to meet the unique needs of the audience.

If you need empowerment and skills enhancement to optimize the use of analytics in your organization, we are here to help. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation to learn which of our DMAIPH analytics training solutions is best for you.


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