What Skills Do I Need Now?
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New technologies require new skills.
The bad news is that new data science skills are not taught in appraiser education. The good news is that the new technologies are things an appraiser can sell. Let’s look at the good news!
Data science skills include the ability to:
- Identify the relevant data.
- Turn the data into useful knowledge.
- Express the analytic flow to a customer.
Who can best collect, analyze, and explain an analysis? Well, it takes someone who understands the subject (the market), the analytics (algorithms), and communication (visuals and summaries). Machines can do some of these things. They are called AVM’s (automated valuation models). Which is better?
Well, machines do some things better. While humans are better at other things. Machines (computers) are really good and really fast at calculations and doing what they are told to do. Humans are really good at seeing patterns, visualizing, and explaining things. Machines are good at handling masses of data. Humans are terrible at handling data beyond five or six data points.
Machines do not know how to interact with the human brain – until some human brain explains to the computer how to communicate with other human brains. Simple huh? So, who is good at telling computers how to interact with human brains?
Aha! That’s the need. Someone who knows the subject matter (say asset markets), and also knows how to get the computer to compute and show things to other human brains. What human brains are involved? There are two types of human brains needed to understand computed data:
- One brain is that of the analyst (the appraiser);
- The other brain is that of the user (the decision maker).
Are there two types of software? It appears so. Some software helps the analyst analyze. Other software helps the analyst transmit and communicate to the user brain. Who has to know these two different uses of software? It’s the analyst. The appraiser.
Analyst software focuses on analysis – sorting, classifying, comparing, and associating data to turn it into useful information. Presentation software focuses on the user-human understanding. And today it also must focus in convenient or seamless input into user software – like underwriting and risk and management and regulatory audit.
Who makes the ‘automated’ decisions for the analyst? There are two major kinds in the industry:
- Forms software, primarily used by residential appraisers; and,
- Spreadsheet software, mostly used by income property appraisers.
With forms software, the problem is the original programmer/marketer made analytics decisions. With spreadsheets, the problem is that the spreadsheet is designed for accountants, not analysts.
We have a problem. The problem is software with algorithmic decisions made by those selling software.
We need software which enables and empowers the appraiser to showcase market knowledge, analytic expertise, and communication skills. Today’s software is designed to sell software: canned appraisal forms, or spreadsheet add-ons which make impossible what is needed.
Appraisers can apply software they control, instead of the software controlling them! The Community of Asset Analysts (CAA)© and Valuemetrics education and open-source software empowers the appraiser. Join us toward your future. Join us in service to the public trust. We care!