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What Is Data Science Today?

David Law

Thu, 2 May, 2019


David Law

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 3 minutes

Maybe you’re an aspiring data scientist who wants to understand their prospects. Maybe you’re a seasoned pro that needs to get a global picture of the industry right now. Or maybe you’re a business person looking to get the impact of data science on your company (and do we you really need to hire a data scientist?).

 

We’ve taken all the answers about data science in today’s world and compiled them into this one post. So, whatever it is you want to know about the current situation and role of data science, you’re in the right place.

 

Let’s take an easy look at the data science scenario.

 

What is data science?

 

It’s complicated— but, in simplistic terms, data science is a combined discipline that takes raw, meaningless, formless data and extracts meaning, information, out of it.

 

Data science is made up of statistics, machine learning, computer science, and mathematical algorithms to analyze facts from the real world. It can be used to predict outcomes, define and segment audiences, streamline marketing, improve performance and profits, and oh-so-much more.

 

Why is data science hot right now?

 

Arguably, data science became an independent discipline and line of work around 2001. But its real effect across industries has only started showing up in recent years. Did you know data science has been dubbed ‘the sexiest job of the 21st century’? Go figure.

 

Imagine an endless stream of information coming in, getting interpreted by specialists, then becoming the solid, pragmatic source of your (now more effective) business decisions. That’s what data science is— a costly process, granted, but one that can radically improve your ability to solve problems successfully.

 

Data science is still emerging, so we don’t know its full potential yet. What we do know is that it’s going to be a great ride. Also, that data scientists are highly coveted professionals nowadays, as they can take a company’s performance to new heights.

 

What does a data scientist do?

 

They crunch numbers all day. Nothing else.

 

All jokes aside— numbers are a huge part of what data science is about. Still, they’re not the only component.

 

A data scientist’s job consists of diving into the problem to be solved, creating an algorithm that can navigate enormous data sets and come up with information. Then, this specialist analyzes the information and interprets it into real answers, models, and predictions the rest of the company’s decision-makers can understand.

 

Because it’s still an emerging field, the borders of a data scientist’s job aren’t exactly set. They usually vary from one company to the next and are often combined with the role of a data engineer or a data analyst. If you’re looking for a job in data science, always examine each job description in detail.

 

What do you need to become a data scientist?

 

As a data scientist, you can make life infinitely more simple for your company. If you know how to deliver new, valuable information in a clear way, you’ll be valued very high on the job market. Maybe you could end up working with one of the giants like Tinder, Facebook, or Linkedin, all of which already use data science.

 

So what do you need to be a good data science specialist?

 

To succeed, you’ll need a degree (think Master’s or PhD) in a field like Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Statistics, or perhaps Engineering. As for key skills, you need to master data mining & processing (obvs), programming, tools for analysis (including that of the statistical kind), as well as unstructured data management and intuition.

 

It’s important to remember that you’ll work as part of a company and a team. To become a truly valuable (and well paid) data scientist, you’ve got to cultivate business know-how and strong communication skills that drive home your point.

 

New technologies are highly dependent on data science and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Businesses are bound to increase their use of big data and unlock yet undiscovered potential. If you want to be part of this new era, jump on the bandwagon— the sky’s the limit!

 

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