Why non Data Scientists can lead Data Science teams

I recently discovered a LinkedIn debate over whether or not non-data scientists could lead data science teams. The debate was polarised between those arguing for technical knowledge & those who focussed on leadership skills.

As well as being fascinating and relevant, I was glad to see one voice arguing for leadership. Andy Sutton is Head of Data & Personalisation for Endeavour Drinks in Australia. He was also my right-hand man for many years, while we created and lead great data & analytics teams.

Andy is both a skilled statistician & coder, as well as a very able leader & marketer. So, he is a useful voice to hear on this debate, as he can speak from both sides of the technical/leadership divide. Over to Andy to share his experience.

My Experience of Non-Data Scientists as Leaders

I felt compelled to write my first ever article following a conversation I was part of on LinkedIn last week. To cut a long story short, I commented on a post which was berating data science leaders who don’t have a data science background.

I didn’t agree with the perspective that only data scientists can lead a data science team, but faced a number of return comments suggesting I was wrong. This got me thinking about the world of leadership, management and followership and how this relates to my own …

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