“We are moving slowly into an era where big data is the starting point, not the end.” –Pearl Zhu, author of the “Digital Master” book series
What is Data Science?
It is a field that blends scientific methods; applies Business Analysis, Math, Programming, and Statistics skills; and makes use of modern story-telling techniques to transform data collected into a formats that are more understandable and applicable for real-life incorporation.
“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.” –Carly Fiorina, former executive, president, and chair of Hewlett-Packard Co
Data Science is a relatively modern field. The first time that the term “Data Science” appeared was back in 1996 at the International Federation of Classification Societies (IFCS) in Japan. The topic at that time was about “Data Science, classification, and related methods.” A couple of years later in 2008, we have Jeff Hammerbacher (Facebook) and DJ Patil (LinkedIn) bringing forth the term “data scientist” out into the world. This buzzword has stuck ever since.
What do data scientists do?
A data scientist stands at the center of this beautiful overlap of job descriptions. This “sweet spot” requires individuals to be tenacious and have unwavering commitment. Data Science is not just something you fall into by accident. It involves intentional work and skills acquisition.
“A data scientist is that unique blend of skills that can both unlock the insights of data and tell a fantastic story via the data.” –DJ Patil, Data Science team founder at LinkedIn and the first chief data scientist of the United States in 2015
RESEARCH WORK - By fulfilling the research objectives of specific projects through the right blend of Programming, Math, Statistics, Communication, creativity, and grit.
CREATIVE WORK - By transforming data into more understandable and digestible information and finding applications for their findings so that more people can have a glimpse into the world of data and appreciate its beauty.
CONSULTATION WORK - By providing valuable information and helpful insights that are neatly packaged and ready for industries and businesses to use in their decision-making processes.
DEVELOPMENT WORK - By interacting with data to create frameworks, systems, software, and products for various sectors or by serving as the leader in managing a project’s data-based foundation.
Though Data Science is still not completely known and understood by all, it’s fascinating to witness its growing popularity. There’s no denying that data will be the darling of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (aka “4IR” or “Industry 4.0”) characterizes this time we live in now as a period where new digital technologies, biological discoveries, and physical innovation converge more aggressively.
There is so much information to process now. In an age where so much can be done and so many connections can be made, it is easy to get too excited or—unfortunately, it does happen—overwhelmed. Today, it is reported that Google processes 70,000 searches per second on average. Across the world, we generate “50 times more data than in 2011.”
It is good to go searching for progress, but we would also need to move forward systematically. It’s not just about pursuing projects and initiatives on a whim.
Let’s ask ourselves:
- What are the world’s needs right now?
- What can be done to make things better?
- What can be done to improve the things that are going wrong?
Mastering data will help inform our present and future decisions. Now more than ever, we need Data Science.