Saturday, May 4, 2013

What is a data scientist?

What is a data scientist?

“What sets data scientists apart from other data workers, including data analysts, is their ability to create logic behind the data that leads to business decisions. "Data scientists extract data, formulate models and apply quantitative analysis in a proactive manner" -Laura Kelley, Vice President, Modis.

"They can suck data out of a server log, a telecom billing file, or the alternator on a locomotive, and figure out what the heck is going on with it. They create new products and services for customers. They can also interface with carbon-based lifeforms — senior executives, product managers, CTOs, and CIOs. You need them." - Can You Live Without a Data Scientist, Harvard Business Review.

Data scientists not only have expertise in applied research and statistics, but they are comfortable doing the programming (a.k.a. hacking) necessary to shape data into a form suitable for analysis. In addition, data scientists have practical knowledge and expertise in the field or industry they work in.

Do you need a data scientist and can you afford to have on on staff? 

Perhaps you see a need for data driven decision making in your business and you want to tap someone with this talent, but you just don’t think you can justify someone on staff full time to do this. I would first challenge this notion. You may start with a few questions and answers, and some predictive modeling, but you will find there is always more data being generated, more questions, and a constant need to tweak and improve models and forecasts.  You will find that need someone dedicated to this task either in staff or via contract. Tapping data science talent may not be as difficult as you think. You might find that you can contract with someone with this skill set on an adhoc or as needed basis.

For more information:

If you feel you can benefit from the services of a data scientist or have further questions about applied econometrics and analytics please contact me for more information or feel free to visit my blog or selected works where you can find a copy of my CV.

LinkedIn Profile:  (link)    
Selected Works Profile:

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