John Pletz on Tech

John Akred knew just where to look when his Silicon Valley startup needed more data scientists—Chicago. Though Silicon Valley Data Science has been based in Mountain View, Calif., since he co-founded the big data consultancy in 2013, there aren’t enough data scientists to satisfy demand. So in November, Akred set up an outpost on Michigan Avenue, where it now has seven data scientists. “It’s about access to talent,” says Akred, a Chicago native who had worked at CBOE Holdings and analytics firm SPSS before joining Accenture, which transferred him to Silicon Valley a few years ago. “I knew how deep the pool was here.” Demand for data scientists is skyrocketing as mainstream companies such as Caterpillar, General Electric and IBM get serious about harnessing the massive amount of information available…

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