FirstEval-Melissa Kovacs


Defining Data Scientists

Recently, “Data Scientist” has been coined the “sexiest job of the 21st century.”  What makes a job sexy?  Some argue that it is when demand is greater than supply, resulting in nothing less than high wages.  In that sense, Data Scientist jobs are truly sexy.

As with any job title, exact definitions vary, but some factors hold true when defining a data science position:

  • Strong swimming skills – swimming in seas of data, that is. A data scientist mustn’t panic when underwater in a dataset, and, frequently they enjoy the immersion.
  • Curiosity – what questions can the data answer?  Will one answer lead to another question?  Data scientists, like any scientists, must be observant of their data-filled surroundings and open to new questions that pop up along their analytical paths.
  • Clarity – data scientists must be able to see through the fog of big data to find correlations that signal a relationship.  In turn, they must make their findings easy for all to digest, such as business leaders and policy makers. 

While fluency in today’s technical toolbox (like R, STATA, and SQL) is crucial, a colleague put it well when he said “if you are curious about finding meaning in big data, then you are a data scientist.”  Well said.

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