Defining “data science”

An excellent, concise look at what data science is and the required skillset…  don’t worry about the focus on US Security services.

•   Data Science in the U.S. Intelligence Community (direct link to a PDF)

Some extracts:

To begin, the term “data science” is a bit of a misnomer, but is useful when attempting to define the set of skills required to extract insight from large data.

The term “data science,” however, has emerged… recently. This has led to ambiguous and contradictory definitions, especially regarding the skills a data scientist actually needs.

…what can the community learn from observing this industry as it matures through this period of technological adolescence?

Fundamentally, the data science movement is about how the people and the tools drive innovation and promote discovery. This is what data science must be at its core…

It is difficult to narrowly define the skills of a data scientist because they are naturally interdisciplinary, yet they exist at intersections of disciplines that do not often merge.

Data plus mathematics and statistics gets you only machine learning, which is perfectly reasonable if that is what you are interested in, but it is not science.

Fortunately, near willful ignorance is required to have hacking skills… without also learning some mathematics and statistics along the way

Despite the steep curve, as the volume of data increases and the need to extract meaning becomes a permanent staple in the… cycle, the community will have to work to instill the principles of data science at all levels.


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