Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Data Science


 (Venn Diagram by Drew Conway)

Below is a great article on the rise of data science. Given my background in applied economics, and my current work experience in hacking and data mining, I find this article very interesting and accurate.


"Data scientists don't have to be hard-core computer geeks, says Conway, but they do have to know their way around the IT landscape because that's where the data lives. Hacking abilities are important because data tends to reside in multiple locations, and in multiple systems. Finding and retrieving data sometimes requires the skills of a burglar -- even when the data is in the public domain, owned by your organization, or owned by another organization that has agreed to let you use it."

"The trend is toward a multi-disciplinary approach to extracting value from data. It's not just about math anymore. You also need technology skills, but what ultimately separates the analyst from the scientist is the dimension of artistic creativity. It's the soft skills that make the big difference."

The Venn diagram "is useful, but I don't think that one person can do all of this," says Elashoff. An interdisciplinary team, however, could possess the skills depicted in the diagram. "It's pretty hard to be an expert in all these areas."

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