In Defense of Data Science

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Popular Science - Processby Angela Guess

Derrick Harris of GigaOM reports, “When Hilary Mason talks about data, it’s a good idea to listen. She was chief data scientist at Bit.ly, data scientist in residence at venture capital firm Accel Partners, and is now founder and CEO of research company Fast Forward Labs. More than that, she has been a leading voice of the data science movement over the past several years, highlighting what’s possible when you mix the right skills with a little bit of creativity.”

Harris goes on, “It was only a couple years ago that ‘data scientist’ was deemed the sexiest job of the 21st century, but that job title and the field of data science have always been subject to a fair amount of derision. What’s more, there’s now a collection of software vendors claiming they can automate away some of the need for data scientists via their products. Mason disagrees with the criticism and the idea that you can automate all, or even the most important parts, of a data scientist’s job.”

Mason told Harris, “You have math, you have programming, and then you have what is essentially empathy domain knowledge and the ability to articulate things clearly. So I think the title is relevant because those three things have not been combined in one job before. And the reason we can do that today, even though none of these things is new, is just that the technology has progressed so much that it’s possible for one person to do all these things — not perfectly, but well enough.”

Read more here.

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