Home Technology 144. Why Do We Need Data Science When We’ve Had Statistics for Centuries?

144. Why Do We Need Data Science When We’ve Had Statistics for Centuries?

by Vinay Kumar
Data Science

Data science emerged as one of the new professions and academic discipline in the early years of the 21st century. A number of articles have noted that demand for data scientists races in front of supply. People with skills needed rare, especially because of the new discipline. However, the situation changes rapidly, because universities around the world have begun offering various types of postgraduate programs in data science. This year, for example, the New York University offers two new titles – General Masters in Data Science Online Training, and more specific domain masters in urban and informatics.

It’s nice to reflect on the appearance of the main new discipline. This reminded me of the appearance of computer science in the 1960s and 1970s. Like data science, computer science has its roots in a number of related fields, including mathematics, engineering, and management. In the initial years, the field attracted people from various other disciplines that began using computers in their work or studies, and finally turned to their computer science.

This happened to me. I use a computer widely when a student at the University of Chicago, where I work with Prof. Clemens Holens, one of the pioneers in computer use in physics and chemistry. As a scholar, I worked part time at the University of Supercomputer Center for the Bidar. Then he was my thesis advisor as a graduate student in physics. When the time comes to find a job, I realize that I enjoy the computing side of my work more than physics. I decided to switch fields and in 1970 join the computer science department at the Watson IBM Research Center.

Unlike current data science, computing must overcome the initial resistance of several leading academics. I still remember the meeting in 1965 with a very prominent physicist from whom I took a graduate course. He asked me what I planned to do research for my title, and I told him that I had worked with Prof. Holy for the calculation of atoms and molecular. He just said that good theoretical physics must need more than pencils and paper, than this complicated new computer. In his mind, this is not real physics. A number of physics faculties feel the same way. Changes are not easy, even for brilliant physicists.

Computer science has since become a respected academic discipline. It has grown widely since the early days and expanded in many new directions. It is possible that being in the early days of computer science and computing in general is part of the reason I am very interested in the evolution of the current data science. So, what is data science?

Data Science is an attractive profession for great logical thinkers with numbers and excel. But unless you are lucky enough to know real data scientists who are real, it is difficult to imagine what they really did Monday to Friday.

We shed light in this complex field so you can decide whether it’s the right path for you. Look at the description of typical data scientists and work environment, as well as the most use skills.

We bind everything by getting two perspectives in from one of our technical experts, and a Grad Thinkful who now works as a full-time data scientist. Find out what they do on the job, and why they like their career in the data.

What does a data scientist do?


The role of data scientists will vary based on their industry and their organizational goals. If you choose to pursue this extensive career, you can be responsible for anything from improving the application by analyzing deep customer research, to predict new drug results through machine learning.

But while the final destination varies, the basic steps to get there are the same. Here are the tasks that will be carried out by data scientists:

  • Clean and analyze data
  • Present insight into stakeholders
  • Back up the company’s decision with hard data
  • Identify and predict patterns in behavior, preferences and trends

While the average salary of data scientists depends on where you are in the US, the data shows that this field is paid well wherever you are. If you want to make a career switch to data science that includes steps or if you want to know about the average salary of your home country, we have what you are looking for.

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