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Credited to R blogger Drew Conway

A great graphic depicting the interesting mix of qualities in data scientists.

via The Data Science Venn Diagram.

In my experience, most data scientists aspire to a career path that includes interesting work, valued by their organization that makes a difference.  They mostly do not grow into managers or expand their scope of authority.  On the one hand, executives don’t necessarily need to worry about creating a full career growth path for these unique employees.  Secondly, there simply aren’t many management roles in this narrow operating area.

On the other hand, it can be problematic in how these individuals fit into the overall human resource model.

Confirm with your own data scientists what their desires and career expectations are.  I submit that most of them do not want to manage but do want a span of control concerning analytics that count.

There is a technical level of leadership you should honor within the team.  More experienced and seasoned scientists naturally have some control over more junior staff. That leadership is important, even if the technical leader does not formally manage his or her team members.