In the age of information,new data is generated every day. These data come from an overwhelming number of data collection points and sources as diverse as social media posts, point-of-sale transactions, video monitoring devices and GPS-enabled smart phones. New technologies have enhanced the speed, ease and efficiency of data collection. With more affordable and portable data storage options, the mountain of recorded information has grown incrementally. Scientists expect that the vastness of big data will soon be expressed in zettabytes–that is 10 followed by 20 zeroes. The new heroes of this data-driven world are the men and women who brave the unrelenting flow of information, wrangle the data to coherent form and regurgitate the input into usable bits. At Dashboard Advisor, we have noted that it is through the efforts of data scientists that even the most technology-averse demographic are given access to trending information culled from data polling and analyzed for situational relevance. Data scientists have earned bragging rights to the moniker “world’s sexiest“ for many reasons.
Data scientists go where the wild things are and manage to tame them every time
Big data is unruly and incoherent. Not too long ago, numerically-inclined persons were able to parse information using databases, spreadsheets and committee meetings. The volume, variety and the frequency of information updates calls for more complex data analytics to turn raw data into a gold mine. Data scientists are able to make sense of the mélange and deliver the output to users in an understandable format.
The exact nature of the data scientist’s job is difficult to define
Data analytics, as it applies to today’s colossal database, is a fairly new concept. The job description is still evolving as is the educational background required to join the field. The mysterious nature of this job adds allure to the title. These scientists are statisticians, data mungers and, by necessity, experts in visual presentations and communications so that the result of their work can be turned into practical guidelines for business, politics and elsewhere.
Knowledge is power, and those that can mine the data are knowledgeable and powerful
Given a set of seemingly incomprehensible input, a data scientist can sift through the data, find patterns and relationships based on data sources, assess for situational relevance and churn out information in a digestible format geared to decision-makers. Data scientists are skilled in database administration, statistics, programming and analysis. At the same time, data scientists are required to be well-versed with business processes to discern the value of certain data points with regards to corporate goals. Finding hidden correlations can yield better decisions and an advantage over rival operations.
Data scientists are trailblazers
For the most part, big data analysis is so new that the current crop of data scientists have to create their own parameters. By applying the scientific method, these data engineers have the freedom to explore and manipulate given information, find ostensibly tenuous patterns, validate their findings using updated data and draw conclusions as necessary. Companies such as LinkedIn and Facebook have successfully mined meaning from disparate data by giving free rein to their data scientists to explore given information. Their data mungers are also given a lot of latitude when it comes to finding a way to connect the dots and using the acquired correlations to establish new connections. In effect, data scientists are defining the way the world deals with big data.
Those who know the answers will rule the world
The world loves a winner, and every data scientist capable of making sense of chaotic data bits should be rightfully venerated. In the age of information, those who know how to extract the answers from a given mass of raw data have unique skill sets that go beyond data management. They know their way around predictive technologies and have a keen sense of what is useful and useable. They know the issues and are committed to finding a resolution based on scientific methods. Where politics and economy run on information, the data scientist is king.