A data specialist is a fundamental team member in any infrastructure facility. A data specialist can be a technician or possibly an operator or junior staff scientist that possesses strong analytical and problem solving skills. Data specialists have the necessary understanding, competency, expertise and skills required to navigate the cyber-sector. The basis of having such a team member on hand is for the data specialist to assess the value of data, manage that data, make the data discoverable and preserve and store the data so that it can be made useable. In essence, the duty of the data specialist is to (i) analyse and verify data; (ii) design databases or software programmes as part of the data mapping process; (iii) generate reports; and (iv) provide technical support and assistance. A summary of some of the data specialist skills are summarised in Table 5.1.
Each of the critical skills defined and described in this section for instrument staff requires an element of auxiliary discipline-specific training. This is hands-on or practical training for a period spanning 12–18 months and can be considered as an internship-type training intervention that may or may not form part of a curriculum for obtaining a formal degree or qualification. Either way, it becomes a compulsory requirement for an individual seeking to pursue a career path as a staff scientist, operator, technician, engineer or data specialist. Furthermore an auxiliary discipline-specific training programme may not strictly adhere to a strict curriculum format. Rather it provides the individual with the necessary hands on training to develop their skills set further such that they are able to operate at a highly skilled level either as a staff scientist, operator, technician, engineer or data specialist. Essential to the success of any auxiliary training programme is the appointment of a suitably qualified senior experienced staff member as a mentor to the assigned student. An example of auxiliary training in marine studies, includes (i) diving courses; (ii) skipper training or training on how to steer or sail a boat or ship; (iii) training in the use of mechanical equipment and navigational software, amongst others. The proposed structure of an auxiliary training programme, therefore, ought to focus on the following critical areas of development, with a specific focus on discipline specific research equipment training and management:
A summary of the skills set required for sustainably managing research equipment is presented in Table 5.2.