How Russia can go from lagging behind to international data science leader

Data science is a relatively new industry in Russia. And with great demand for data scientists (especially those involved with machine learning), there is a significant shortage of qualified individuals in the market. Moreover, there has also been a significant shortage of qualified individuals to lead research and educational initiatives in the space. That is, until recently. With the importance of the space becoming more and more clear, there have been pushes to develop a full industry around data science. Yet at the same time, we tend to hear about “catching up with the rest of the world” in this industry. But instead of focusing on “catching up”, there needs to be a concerted effort for Russia to become a leader, at least within some certain subsectors of the industry (e.g. particular types of applications, certain areas of research).

To do this, there needs to be a systemic change in culture. Russia not only needs to lead in terms of education, research and practical application, it also needs to become a much more active participant in international spaces such as high-profile conferences. This will help make Russia an international center in the space, attracting many more highly-qualified individuals as well as a great level of international investment. Russia has the potential; now it just needs the drive.