More Views on the Data Scientist

Amid all the talk of big-data, no doubt you come across the newfangled job title "data scientist." Various definitions, purposes, and forecasts of this line of work blanket headlines daily. I found this in-depth interview with data scientist consultant John Hooks helpful to identify what the role actually entails: big-data predictive analytics.

In other news, Information Management's trend no. 7 in "Big Data Talent War: 10 Analytics Job Trends" revealed that Scott Sorensen,'s Senior VP of Engineering, is beefing up his team with data scientists. Sorensen offers his definition of a data scientist as someone "skilled in taking a statistical approach to algorithm development." He says: "Many times they're statisticians, and they understand how to create statistical models that allow you to use massive amounts of data to develop algorithms."

Of course, as with anything new, there are obstacles. "One of the challenges our industry faces is we presume access to large amounts of data also comes with a button that says 'Insights,' " says Alexandra Drane in this slideshow featuring nine data scientists. Will the data scientist ensure insights are found through appropriate technologies and (sometimes controversial) organizational change?

I asked the following six industry experts whether they thought organizations were moving toward emerging roles like the data scientist:

  • April Wilson, Digital Analytics 101
  • Bill Franks, Teradata
  • Dean Abbott, Abbott Analytics Inc.
  • James Taylor, Decision Management Solutions
  • John Elder, Elder Research
  • Richard Boire, Boire Filler Group

Here's what they said:

What is your perspective on the data scientist?

Anna Brown, Editor, SAS Business Analytics Knowledge Exchange

As an editor on the SAS External Communications team, Anna identifies and develops communications strategies to generate awareness of the SAS brand and products. In this role, she produces various editorial campaigns to convey the company's value across industries. Prior to SAS, Anna served in account management and business development capacities at Gibbs & Soell Public Relations for the health and life sciences industry, conducting B2B and B2C corporate and product publicity. She also managed pharmaceutical business for advertising agency Rockett, Burkhead & Winslow.

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Re: Great Resource re: Data Scientists
  • 8/29/2012 9:51:47 AM

@BigDataGuru, I'm glad to share your interview - it gives an in-depth look at what a data scientist offers.

Also important to note is the growing demand for data scientists. Organizations have to be competitive to attract and keep this special breed of talent. The United Nations Global Pulse points out its advantage saying, "Many data scientists want to work for institutions that are doing something to help society and the world at large."

What else appeals to a data scientist when choosing where to work or who to work for?

Re: Great Resource re: Data Scientists
  • 8/28/2012 7:08:08 PM

Here you go, Beth: I appreciate the opportunity to have this shared. - @BigDataGuru

Re: Great Resource re: Data Scientists
  • 8/28/2012 6:16:38 PM

@BigDataGuru -- do you have a link? I'd love to share it, but a quick look around turned up empty!

Great Resource re: Data Scientists
  • 8/28/2012 4:31:54 PM

This blog is an excellent resource for those looking to get more depth around a hot topic.  I hope my "day in the life" of a data scientist Job Interview on and the other expert feedback here will help clarify the role and how it benefits clients and practitioners of predictive analytics alike. - @BigDataGuru on Twitter