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'Data Science' Is Dead

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the data-however-is-the-lucasian-chair dept.

Stats 139

Nerval's Lobster writes "If you're going to make up a cool-sounding job title for yourself, 'Data Scientist' seems to fit the bill. When you put 'Data Scientist' on your resume, recruiters perk up, don't they? Go to the Strata conference and look on the jobs board — every company wants to hire Data Scientists. Time to jump aboard that bandwagon, right? Wrong, argues Miko Matsumura in a new column. 'Not only is Data Science not a science, it's not even a good job prospect,' he writes. 'Companies continue to burn millions of dollars to collect and gamely pick through the data under respective roofs. What's the time-to-value of the average "Big Data" project? How about "Never?"' After the 'Big Data' buzz cools a bit, he argues, it will be clear to everyone that 'Data Science' is dead and the job function of 'Data Scientist' will have jumped the shark."

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Bedwetting Liberals Hate This So Much! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46408639)

Blacks are inferior as a group.

Look at the way [waff.com] all of the blacks just go apeshit so to speak [myfoxatlanta.com] over a bunch of fucking sneakers of all things [wdrb.com] !

Then ask yourself why white people don't riot over the latest Apple gadget even though they gather in large crowds waiting for them. I mean an objective person might think whites are more civilized!

Oh does anyone remember when the blacks rioted like crazy [scotsman.com] after Hurricane Katrina? Isn't it JUST A LITTLE STRANGE the way white people in Colorado banded together and helped each other [usatoday.com] when they were hit with a natural disaster instead of rioting and looting [usatoday.com] like the blacks did? I mean an objective person might think whites are more civilized! [blogspot.com]

Oh and blacks are responsible for nearly all the murders in Marion County [blogspot.com] ! That is what you would expect from a violent tribal uncivilized race.

Interesting when a black man admits blacks are to blame [vdare.com] for the hellhole that is (86% black) Jackson Mississippi? Quote: "Look at recent history, like in South Africa, when apartheid was abolished,” Lambus said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “Blacks went on a crime spree.""

It goes on and on. Probably no point in posting this since people who are objective already understand the destruction and violence and cost blacks bring anytime they are abundant. It is not just USA. All over the world black-governed nations are hellholes. But objective people knew this. It is the people indoctrinated to believe that acknowledging FACTS is somehow "racist" who just can't admit it. None are so blind as those who will not see.

Re: Bedwetting Liberals Hate This So Much! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409261)

Maybe that is true, maybe not. If it was, we are also seeing blacks trending away from this behavior with each generation. What about the Irish? They are all Irish. China, Tibet, Russia, Ukraine. This not generally a race (cultural issue) and more if a lack of education and maybe luck where and when you are born.

data scientist (5, Informative)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#46408659)

Call yourself a statistician or database engineer and I promise there are still jobs around. And contrary to the summary, they are highly valuable jobs.

Re:data scientist (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#46408711)

indeed, and who cares if someday this alleged "fad" goes away, "get it while the gettings good. and then get out!"

Re:data scientist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46408741)

indeed, and who cares if someday this alleged "fad" goes away, "get it while the gettings good. and then get out!"

so it's like your moms asshole that becomes more and more gaping over time as more and more nigger cocks expand its horizons

Whooaaaa!!! Hold on there, big boy! (2)

MickLinux (579158) | about a year ago | (#46408761)

You can't do that, unless you can figure out how to make and file TWO resumes. Different ones, I mean.

Man, these data scientists are all pipe dreams.

Re:Whooaaaa!!! Hold on there, big boy! (4, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#46409071)

no pipe dream, my employer has those people, making big money

and what's this nonsense and misconceptions about resumes you have between your ears?

in my career, I've held engineer, science and IT positions. I have "IT-flavored" version of my resume for when I'm seeking an IT focused type job, "engineering-flavored" one, etc. All the resumes are true, no innacuracies and all experience can be verified by contacting previous employers or talking to former coworkers or reference. So the point is of course you can have different versions of your resume with different focus on duties and skills.

Re:Whooaaaa!!! Hold on there, big boy! (4, Informative)

SQLGuru (980662) | about a year ago | (#46409461)

You should have a different resume for each job you apply for......

Keep a master resume with all of your details. When you apply for a job, copy the master and pare it down to the information most relevant to the job you are applying for. Then edit the result so that you look like the perfect candidate.....update project descriptions to emphasize the same buzzwords in the job listing, etc.

If you only have one resume that you blast out to a ton of different job listings and they'll probably focus on the projects that are meaningless to their situation and weed you out more often than not.

Oh, and BI (business intelligence) is still going strong at the company I work for......(not my area, but there's still tons of work under that label).

Where have you been? (2)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about a year ago | (#46409839)

You can't do that, unless you can figure out how to make and file TWO resumes. Different ones, I mean.

Man, these data scientists are all pipe dreams.

Well, it is not rocket science to have more than one resume. You have one work history, but you will use more than one resume format to present it in different (but veritable) ways according to the situation.

See, you are supposed to have multiple versions of your resume (which are true and accurate of course) according to job postings or fields of concentration. If you have a varied work experience, or you are contemplating lateral moves, this is a must.

Consider the following situation I had to deal with recently. After doing some C++ (and other programming bestialities), I switched Java/JEE in the commercial. I did that for about 11 years at several small and large firms (Sony, Citicorp, Motorola, etc.).

Then switched back to C/C++, for embedded systems and communication technology (and a bit of hypervisor research) with a defense contractor. The opportunity was there, after doing e-commerce/enterprisey stuff for so long, this looked very interesting (and more engaging of my CS background) and the money was good, so why not I said.

Then just recently when I tried to go back to Java, and all of the sudden my resume was being sent to the garbage can and job agencies were not submitting me to Java openings I was well qualified for.

Why is that? Well, apparently since I did C/C++ for nearly 4 years (ZOMG! no Java in 4 years!) somehow I became a retard who wouldn't know how to code EJBs, access a database, run an ant or maven build script or put a fucking dynamic web page together. 11 years of Java experience (and 18 years of software engineering) meant shit. I mean seriously?

But such is the world of HR drones and employment middlemen. You can't live out of it, and you have to work with it (or cut through it) in any way possible (otherwise you end up with a shitty job as a neophyte.)

So what I did is that I kept multiple versions of my resume. For a C++ job, I highlighted my recent work describing it in appropriate detail right of the bat, with all the different projects and positions on the first page. This would be my "default" resume.

For a Java job, I would reduce all my C++ work to two lines and bring as much past Java work experience as possible on the first page. Why is that? To ensure the HR drones and staffing middle men would see all the right Java buzzwords on the first page.

There was/is no false information at all on my resumes. I simply omitted work I already did to stress another one. How fucked up is that, that you have to remove some of your recent work history just to get contemplated by human buzzword scanners?

In the end, it worked (sort of since I was able to get a Java position via personal reference and passing the necessary technical interviews.)

But regardless. One should always try to make her case directly to the technical people in charge of hiring. But this is a very rare (and blissful) event. More often than not, you will go through HR or a staffing agency.

That is the general case. And for that general case, you better have your work history in more than one resume format, stressing items according to the desired job position (without lying of course or claiming that you have done shit you have not, of course.)

Companies might be desiring software engineers. But in practice, by accident and plain stupidity, they don't hire for software engineers. They hire for savantism, for autonomous, one-trick-pony drones that operate precisely along the lines of magically selected buzzwords. 10+ years of X, 5+ years of Y and 8+ years of Z. Mix and shake.

Imagine if we were to hire carpenters like that:We seek a master carpenter with 10+ years of experience using a Husky hammer, 8+ years using a HDX philips screwdriver, and 12+ years using a Black & Decker circular saw. Oh, and the brands must be Husky, HDX and Black & Decker, otherwise you are a fucktard who doesn't know how to use a hammer, a screwdriver and a circular saw.

That's how companies hire software engineers in general, and if you are not prepared for that (by knowing how to present your work history in different ways), you will eventually get burned at some point.

Whooooshhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46411653)

He was joking. Of course people have more than 1 version of a resume.

Re:Whooooshhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46411841)

Not to mention, that if a data scientist can't handle more than one resume, WHAT'S HIS ACTUAL QUALIFICATION?

Clearly, those with any sense of the ridiculous have left the building.

Machine Learner ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46408837)

When it comes to sorting data, true salvation may lie in automation and other next-generation processes, such as machine learning and evolutionary algorithms; ...

Just call yourself a "Machine Learning Scientist" and an "Evolutionary Algorithm Engineer"

Re:data scientist (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409371)

As the author of the article, I'm happy to encourage people to call themselves statisticians, database engineers, etc. These roles are definitely in demand and will never go away when the bubble for "data scientists" pop.

I'm just concerned about the recent spate of large companies trying to hire data scientists to "save" their expensive big data projects that arent producing actionable insight. Those jobs are a dead end.

Re:data scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409427)

You ought to have a PHd to represent yourself as a scientist of any sort, unless your an accomplished amateur. Almost like the time I interviewed somebody who wanted to be hired on as a 'distinguished engineer' while only very recently acquiring a MSEE after 6 years at UCSD. Suppressing my laughter I discussed it with him and discovered what he really meant was a 'principle engineer'. This was a 3 letter fortune 500 company he was applying to.

Re:data scientist (1)

mikojava (112773) | about a year ago | (#46409567)

lol isnt it "Principal Engineer"? But point taken, it seems like "Scientist" is being bandied about quite a bit by just about anyone.

Re:data scientist (2)

mikael (484) | about a year ago | (#46410653)

To me, a research scientist used to be the person that did experiments, made notes, maintained a log book, drew conclusions, and published papers.

Now, when I see the job adverts, the research scientist is now the one writing research grant applications, visiting sponsors, making presentations at world conferences, leading a team, drawing up budget requests.

Data scientist seems to a combination of AI programmer and database programmer.

Re:data scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46411717)

The classical definition of scientist is a trained individual who produces "new" knowledge. As modern academics look at scientists today, its someone with a command of knowledge in the field he specializes in, knows how to do background research, so they can properly credit previous peoples' work (and not duplicate it), and understands the standards and operating conventions of research and publishing.

That's why scientists should have attained a PhD before being referred to as a scientist; for the same reason you refer to a medical doctor as doctor, and don't refer to a nurse practitioner as a doctor. Even a talented amateur is not going to know all the details of publishing standards, or peer review.

More DICE.COM market "insight" ?? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409833)

I don't know about you but I am sick and tired of DICE's attempts to
channel and steer the employment market through astroturf postings
to Slashdot, which they also happen to own. Most of what the talking-heads
at DICE churn out regarding employment is simply untrue. Not 'not-the-truth'
as that they don't know any better, but telling lies as in spreading deliberately
misleading information, as in telling a mean-spirited lie.

DICE is not a platform for you and me to find lucrative jobs. Instead it is the
other way around, DICE is a platform for employers to find cheap labor. The
people who in THE END PAY DICE (that is those who use their system to
recruit and those who advertise on DICE.COM sites), they are not interested
in hooking you up with a $150,000 job when you could also be working for

I'm not a Data Scientist myself, but I work with a bunch of them and from what
see they are working on I know I'd have to go back to school for that. It also
explains why they are worth so much and hard to get.

Re:data scientist (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#46409869)

Indeed, the job of doing serious data analysis is not new, 'data science' is really only a temporarily independent field while we try and sort out some of the technical problems that arise from working with large datasets. Once solutions for large datasets become mainstream, reliable and agreed upon (and inexpensively vendor bought) we'll go back to just having scientists who are specialized in whatever area.

And that's perfectly alright.

Maybe (4, Insightful)

stephencrane (771345) | about a year ago | (#46408661)

But this general domain in the realm of contemporary giant data sets is the basic science research of our times. To say that 'data scientist' roles are dead in the near future based on a ROI analysis is to suggest that all these huge data sets aren't likely to pay off for a corp in the near future. And that doesn't sound right at all.

Re:Maybe (1)

gnick (1211984) | about a year ago | (#46408999)

I hold a Master's in EE specializing in Information Theory. That seems to sound like a "data scientist", but I've never met anyone that presented themselves as one.

Maybe I should modify my resume to include my years of experience as a "nocturnal ergonomics specialist" or "cinematic purveyor".

Re:Maybe (1)

mikojava (112773) | about a year ago | (#46409589)

Lot's of people are up in arms here thinking im against data, queries or even information in general. LOL

I think guys like you are going to be in serious demand, and yes data is piling up hugely. The winning organizations will have serious, smart and well trained people who know how to manage it.

And yes, I think "nocturnal ergonomics specialist" is the career of the future =)

Re:Maybe (2)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#46409317)

To say that 'data scientist' roles are dead in the near future based on a ROI analysis is to suggest that all these huge data sets aren't likely to pay off for a corp in the near future. And that doesn't sound right at all.

I think what's really going on here is that lots of organizations have jumped on the Big Data bandwagon expecting that it will be easy, and hired lots of people who don't really know what they're doing (because they also saw an opportunity). There's lots of value in large corpuses of unstructured data, but teasing it out requires more than just a desire and some computing resources. As the field matures and builds up a well-known set of techniques which can be packaged up and on which people can easily be trained, it will be very effective. But right now, it really is research, and you really do need data scientists, not hacks who took a couple of classes on machine learning and a bit of statistics. And if there are ten thousand job openings for first (or even second) rate thinkers in a new field... well, all but a couple of dozen of them are going to get filled with hacks

Re:Maybe (1)

mikojava (112773) | about a year ago | (#46409409)

I'm not against big data sets.

I've just noted that a lot of big data projects hyped by vendors are misguided, and that there will be very large and visible failures coming up. this is just a bubble and the "data science" guys will be in trouble.

The long term prognosis for large scale data analysis is good, and machine learning will probably yield good results. Also the pendulum will swing back to structured data.

Strong claim (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46408679)

That's a very strong claim, I'll need to consult my Data Scientist to see if it actually fits the data.

How appropriate (5, Insightful)

Micklat (986895) | about a year ago | (#46408687)

No data has been cited during the creation of that blog post.

Opinion is fine, but when the observations are so weeping, just a little bit of substantiation is nice to have.

Re:How appropriate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409421)

weeping or sweeping?

Re:How appropriate (1)

mikojava (112773) | about a year ago | (#46409463)

LOL I really like "weeping" it's pretty awesome in this context.

FUD (5, Funny)

aBaldrich (1692238) | about a year ago | (#46408691)

How to prevent more people from flocking into your field:

1) Write a Slashdot article
2) ???
3) Profit!

Re:FUD (5, Informative)

aBaldrich (1692238) | about a year ago | (#46408793)

According to this guy, Mathematics is not a science because you don't conduct experiments. The key error is this:

Science creates knowledge via controlled experiments

Which is false. Science checks hypotheses and tries to prove them, or makes repeated experiments that show the failure to disprove them.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46408889)

Well mathematics isn't a science.

Mathematics is more of a "technology".

Re:FUD (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#46408977)

Science creates knowledge via controlled experiments

I think astronomers will be very surprised to learn that they aren't scientists.

On Science, Actuaries, and FUD (4, Insightful)

ZahrGnosis (66741) | about a year ago | (#46409145)

"Science" lacks a robust definition, but clearly the OP's definition is overly simplistic and narrow. Stephen Hawking has a lecture somewhere (found it: http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-origin-of-the-universe.html) where he talks about the idea of the "positivist" approach defined on the ability to predict outcomes, and I like to apply that definition to Science (Hawking doesn't, directly, but it's sort of an underlying theme). That is, Science becomes the observation and experimentation required to form predictions or cause changes in predicted outcomes.

So Social Science can be a science in so far as it actually informs usefully on how people will behave or provides useful ways to affect and improve the behavior or state of society's future. Computer science is a science insofar as it is required to make computers function as expected (as predicted) -- if you want something to perform faster, you must do the research and experimentation to cause the outcome to be faster. Even archaeology can be a science by this definition in that discoveries are added to a general model of the past that predicted all sorts of things -- ancient society's behavior, glaciation, geological events... "predict" may be a stretch there (except when archaeological finds help predict the future), but in this case the method of building a model of how the world worked based on observation to describe and generalize behavior (of the earth, of ancient religions, or what have you) is a form of prediction; it's just after the fact.

Data Science is very much science in this form; the job of a data scientist is almost universally to predict what the data will say about the future given what it has said in the past. This is invaluable to businesses and while the name may fall into disfavor, in the same way "actuary" which means something very similar already has, the abuse in this article is unwarranted, unfounded, and inaccurate. I will only agree that many who sport the "Data Science" moniker may not actually be doing science by any definition, but that's the individual's fault, not the concept's.

Re:On Science, Actuaries, and FUD (1)

mikojava (112773) | about a year ago | (#46409623)

thanks for your thoughtful post. I agree actually that the word "Science" is a bit elusive in definition, and that certainly just because a field of inquiry is not a science by one definition does not mean it's without value.

Also, I accept that there are multiple definitions of the word and some may include fields like Computer Science and Social Science, which of course are all legitimate fields of inquiry.

Re:On Science, Actuaries, and FUD (1)

hendrips (2722525) | about a year ago | (#46411073)

I think your post makes good points mostly, but I have to ask, since when did the phrase "actuary" fall in to disfavor, and when was anyone going to tell me?

A P&C actuary

Re:FUD (1)

TheSouthernDandy (2730503) | about a year ago | (#46409663)

Trying to prove a hypothesis is fraught with danger--witness the use of complexity as a "proof" of intelligent design. Failure to disprove is about the best that science can do while maintaining its objectivity. That's not to say that working scientists don't get attached to their ideas and try to "prove" them, but they're not supposed to. If the idea is sound, you can hammer on it all you want, it'll stay standing.

Re:FUD (3, Funny)

tomhath (637240) | about a year ago | (#46410195)

According to this guy, Mathematics is not a science because you don't conduct experiments.

He's obviously wrong. Try this experiment - it proves addition:

# python

# print 1+1

# 2

Not-scientist about science (5, Insightful)

sega_sai (2124128) | about a year ago | (#46408699)

The author of this piece clearly have never done actual science, as confirmed by his resume, and his opinions on what science is and that somehow some observational sciences are "soft" are very questionable at best.

Re:Not-scientist about science (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#46409111)

I especially liked the bit where he described the following as "buzzworld-filled", then launched into the unsupported assertion that people doing this aren't doing science:

develop and investigate hypotheses, structure experiments, and build mathematical models

agreed... Re:Not-scientist about science (2)

Fubari (196373) | about a year ago | (#46412165)

Agreed. I wanted to learn something; turns out it is just a lame opinon piece.
From TFA (emphasis added):

Yes, by this standard, Astronomy and Social Sciences are also not sciences. I have no idea what Computer Science is, but no, it’s not a science either.

*sigh* RTFA was a waste of time.

Big Data is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46408707)

It was just a myth to sell you storage clusters.

Re:Big Data is dead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409561)

"Big Data is like teenage sex: Everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it too." from http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Big-Data-is-like-teenage-1814785.S.5796554060756692996

While I won't argue if 'Data Scientist' is or is not a bullshit title, the fact remains that a lot of people just don't understand what they (or someone else) mean when they say things like 'Big Data' or, worse, 'put it in the cloud'. I think the IT world has gotten saturated with too many buzzwords and people don't want to acknowledge or make evident their lack of knowledge on a particular subject or technology that they just roll with it.

In private conversations I'm constantly calling out a coworker of mine when he throws out crap like "we'll make it go viral", "it's like a social network for the internet of things", "it's all in the cloud", "it's like a SaaS on top of a PaaS...so we need and IaaS" and so on. He's actually a smart guy, but has trouble putting his thoughts into words, and when surrounded by other people they nod as if they understood what he's saying... it just propagates the problem.

Where's the argument? (2)

myNameIsNotImportant (592769) | about a year ago | (#46408717)

shouldn't there be a link to an article or a more in-depth argument presented than just "b/c i think so"? Perhaps, say, explain who the hell Miko Matsumura is, or provide greater context?

I get it though, nobody reads the articles on slashdot... :/

Re:Where's the argument? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46408799)

shouldn't there be a link to an article or a more in-depth argument presented than just "b/c i think so"? Perhaps, say, explain who the hell Miko Matsumura is, or provide greater context?

What they provided was enough to get you to log in, read at least the summary, post comment(s), and generally drive up the page view count that advertisers care about.

Why would Dice Holdings work any harder when you are giving them what they wanted? Think about it.

100% disagree (5, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | about a year ago | (#46408719)

In my career I have worked for boring banks and boring monolithic enterprise software giants.

If there is one thing I know for certain it is that big enterprise will ALWAYS have a huge appetite for quantification of data. It almost doesn't matter if it actually does anything for you, executives at giant corporations have to DO SOMETHING have to REVIEW SOMETHING. Large scale data aggregation and reporting (one of the many things that go by "big data") might not have sciency uses, but any time a V level can provide a C level with "something" that says "We are doing stuff" there will be a huge market for it.

Basically what I am saying is, even if "Big Data" is nothing but a placebo, like say "HR Training", "Wellness programs", "performance reviews" or "teambuilding" it is a permanent fixture in the big, boring, high paying, stable job providing corporate world.

Re:100% disagree (1)

sahuxley (2617397) | about a year ago | (#46408979)

I agree with you, but I think there's merit even in those quantifications that turn out useless. This sort of science, at least the way you describe it being done, is really shooting in the dark. Sometimes you find an interesting and meaningful correlation or analysis, but more often than not you're juggling and sorting numbers to no useful end. People will always pay to keep taking shots.

Re:100% disagree (2)

Anrego (830717) | about a year ago | (#46409029)

100% agree (with your post).

The argument made in article is ridiculous, but even if we grant it and companies suddenly lose interest in their data, the skills used to analyze it can easily be rebadged and applied in other fields. Not like all the large scale infrastructure, data management, and algorithm skills are only specifically applicable in the "big data" realm, that's just the most profitable place to apply them at the moment.

IT isn't a job where you learn a skill then make money from it forever. You adapt to what people are willing to pay for and bring as much experience from the last thing as you can.

Re:100% disagree (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409033)

Yep, managers and bosses love widget counting even if your business has little to do with widget production. You'll always have a job if you can give your boss some table or graph to wave around in meetings, meaningless or not; kept me employed for 20 years.

Re:100% disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409165)

Absolutely agree with you. Ignoring large companies, there will always be some interesting conclusion that can be made by sifting through gobs of data sent by your users. Imagine being an ISP and seeing where your users all tend to go, particularly with respect to a lack of net neutrality? Guess they should avoid hiring people to sift through that information because it is a waste of time and money, right?

The only thing that this entire article showed me is that Miko Matsumura is incompetent, and he clearly has no business writing articles about technology.

Re:100% disagree (1)

mikojava (112773) | about a year ago | (#46409439)

fully agree, data and big data will always have a home, and corporate behavior is very much how you describe.

Just thinking that the pendulum is going too far from structured data and that people are getting a bit ahead of themselves with respect to vendor hype in this area.

Job titles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46408745)

Reminds me of "Devops Engineer" on someones CV I saw. Had to chuckle at that one.

Re:Job titles (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#46409393)

A "Devops Engineer" is an engineer working on the operations for a development environment. In other words, he's the guy who says "hey, our team needs better communications with the QA team, so let's set up a proper ticketing system, rather than just emailing problem reports".

Chuckle all you like, but ideally every dev team would have such a person. We've all heard the horror stories [worsethanfailure.com] of developers using Word for source code, not keeping backups, and relying on a wall of Post-It notes for bug tracking.

Re:Job titles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409921)

no, devops is turning ops into devs and devs into ops. It's programmatically maintaining your infrastructure using tools like chef/puppet/cfengine/ansible. Instead of the bad old way where developers did dev and ops did ops and neither knew anything about the other and ops did everything by hand very slowly and nothing was reproducible or translatable from dev/testing to production and getting new developers on board took weeks to setup environments, etc...

Who is this guy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46408805)

Seriously. Who is this guy and why does his opinion matter? Either he has credentials or he backs up what he says with some evidence. Neither seems to be the case.

TFA is BS (4, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#46408829)

Unfortunately, unless this is structured data, you will be subjected to the data equivalent of dumpster diving. But surfacing insight from a rotting pile of enterprise data is a ghastly process—at best.

Sounds like this Miko Matsumura has no idea how successful Big Data projects actually work.

To refine his analogy, unstructured data is much like processing recyclables. Everything that might possibly be good gets thrown into a large bin, and several sorting processes run to extract individual relevant (though messy) pieces. While those pieces alone aren't pure enough to be useful, there's enough meaningful information in them that statistical analysis can separate the good from the bad, and that's where the insight comes from.

With a typical RDBMS, insight is readily apparent. A hypothesis that 75% of a user's purchases were widgets is simple to verify. In a non-relational database, as is often used in Big Data projects, that would be an inefficient computation (though it can be done). Rather, those databases are more aligned to produce a whole list of correlations between user demographics and purchasing habits, showing for example that users who buy widgets have often already bought foo bars. The "Data Scientist" didn't have to ever look specifically at statistics for widgets or foo bars, but the correlation is presented in a nice and accessible form, gleaned from millions or billions of independent data points.

Miko Matsumura is a Vice President at Hazelcast, an open source in-memory data grid company.

This is a SlashBI article written by executives for executives, with little basis in fact. Lovely.

Re:TFA is BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409305)

Ah, Miko has no clue what unstructured data looks like. Someone explained it to him and he interpreted it as a bunch of random files with random data that each will require custom parsing on an individual basis.

It's scary that he is a VP anywhere--let alone a company like Hazelcast. Looks like they're hiring incompetence at the top levels and is a good reason to avoid their software.

Buzzwords (5, Insightful)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about a year ago | (#46408901)

Since "Data Science" is dead, do we go back to using the old buzzwords? Or do we have to wait until some marketing MBA whiz-kid comes up with a sexy new word for "Analyst"?

Re:Buzzwords (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#46409125)

hardly dead, analytics and data analysis are still huge and growing field with high salaries for those with formal training. my employer has department of such people.

Re:Buzzwords (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46410055)

One of those old buzzwords is "librarian." There is even a documentary on the subject called The Librarian.

Computer Scientists in lab coats (2)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year ago | (#46408937)

The term reminds me of "Computer Scientist". I remember a TV commercial from the 80s for a digital watch that mimicked analog watches. The announcer would declare that the watch had been designed by "computer scientists" while an actor was displayed wearing a lab coat and looking at the watch under a microscope. The first time I saw it I was afflicted with fits of laughter.

Re:Computer Scientists in lab coats (1)

cyberhooligan77 (2612877) | about a year ago | (#46409277)

Lets get rid off the "Dexter Lab Coat" stereotype.

Many people, kids or adults doesn't really like to use "lab coats" & prefer to use the clothing they use on the school or street.

Re:Computer Scientists in lab coats (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about a year ago | (#46410033)

Although there's noting like a good serious apron if you're working working on stuff. Lab work? Painting? Engine rebuild? Cleaning the basement? Grilling up a mess of bacon? Wear an apron.


Re: Computer Scientists in lab coats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409497)

That is good science! I always look at my computer under a microscope when programming. That is simply to prevent pixilation.

Every good scientist has a pocket microscope. Or what the gen y kids call a 'poke-mic'.

Resume padding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46408955)

Position Held: Data Scientist (formerly Sanitation Engineer)

Job Duties: Collected and anonymized data packets received from homeowners, each of whom on a weekly basis provided data samples for city agency to process and sort. Also lifted containers weighing up to 75 pounds. Became proficient driving 18-ton vehicles hauling 12+ tons of data at a time.

You gotta be kidding me... (2)

jonkinch (3564251) | about a year ago | (#46408971)

Sometimes I think slashdot should really do a better job of filtering these types of things, or at least highlight that this is an opinion and the person writing it has no clue what they are really talking about. I work in the BI space and do everything from Analysis, Architecture, Dashboards, Reporting, ETL, and any other job that fits into that space. We do have a data scientist here and he does nothing close to what this article talks about. In fact, I would argue that if you do the types of jobs this article talks about you're not actually a data scientist, you're a DBA, BA, or something of the sort. A Data Scientist is something very different, and typically they don't have the IT background to create SQL or do anything in the back-end. They do know stats, various algorithms, and can actually take meaningful numbers and explain what they mean, find new trends, and even identify correlations between attributes that the business never thought to look at. They are used to determine what's going on and maybe even why, and not necessarily used to answer a specific business question.

Re:You gotta be kidding me... (1)

cyberhooligan77 (2612877) | about a year ago | (#46409363)

Data Scientist, may sound Statistics to some of us, and Data Base related to others. Maybe you are right, and we are wrong.

Could you provide a link to a web site, where Data Science could be described ?

I do believe that concepts like Data Statistics, Relational Algebra, SQL, could be consider part of a Data Science diploma, but, none of this concepts should be consider individually Data Science, by themselves.

Maybe, a new proposal for a Data Science diploma, could be created from this post.


Data scientist is like an IT janitor (4, Interesting)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about a year ago | (#46409021)

90% of what a data science expert do is what people like to call data-juijitso (data reconfiguration). Which basically means getting data out of your RMDBs, SAP, Twitter, Facebook, random text (.csv, etc) file dumps, random Excel/Word Files and legacy databases and into some place you can actually generate conclusions from (like inside a HDFS Hadoop cluster). Plus during this process you need to normalize all your data so you can apply the same algorithm no matter where the data came from.

All this means is that you will spend countless hours trying to connect to the client legacy stuff and then countless hours trying to get the data out (without impacting production systems!), so you can then spend countless hours formatting this data around to be able to spend countless hours trying to get this data into your Big Data(tm) solution so you can finally run some algorithms and create results. Now multiply all that by the number of different kinds of databases the client has and you get the idea.

As an IT professional you really do not want to work in this field. No organization keep its data in a clean uniform way, data scientist is like an IT janitor.

Re:Data scientist is like an IT janitor (1)

chthon (580889) | about a year ago | (#46409313)

So, just basic BI and data warehousing, but without the lessons learned in the past?

Re:Data scientist is like an IT janitor (1)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about a year ago | (#46410479)

Well technically the data science part is what you do after the data reconfiguration, but most people just use some kind of tool for doing that, so it is also very boring (you have to learn the tool and configure it to your data format).

It's data, and it's a science, so... (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | about a year ago | (#46409065)

Um, I'm a calibration scientist. My job is to pick through data and look for errors, which I then correct. I'm a scientist, not an engineer, because the data and its errors are from real physical processes. (The data I work with comes from multispectral satellite instruments.)

If I can't call myself a 'Data scientist' on a resume, what term should I use? Approximately zero jobs are available for a 'Calibration scientist'.

Re:It's data, and it's a science, so... (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | about a year ago | (#46409107)

As an addendum, the day I put 'engineer' on my resume is the day my career is over. My degree is in theoretical physics. I have zero engineering background or training. I'm a scientist, and I can't compete with engineers for engineering jobs, nor do I want to. I've spent decades keeping the word 'engineer' off my job title and resume despite stupid managers trying to tack it on.

Re:It's data, and it's a science, so... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#46409375)

I once had to fight to keep 'software engineer' off my job title.

I kept explaining that I was not an engineer, that engineering was a specific regulated profession, and that to call me an engineer would be illegal and incorrect.

It took a long time for our Personnel Management Engineers (HR) and the VP (who thought it sounded cool) to understand why it had to be otherwise.

In some cases, companies like it because it sounds cool. But they have no idea that you can't simply call yourself an engineer any more than you can call yourself a lawyer or a doctor -- they actually mean something specific, and aren't just to be thrown around because you like them.

Re:It's data, and it's a science, so... (1)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | about a year ago | (#46409495)

Its a problem with the computer sciences in general. They keep cannibalizing terms and changing he meaning, like engineer and scientist.

I am an aerospace engineer that specialized in fluid mechanics. Guess what? I know more about computer programming, linux, unix, memory architectures, compiling environments, programming language, etc. than most computer "scientists/engineers".

But I need to know about all those things because I take the theory and discretize it for solution on whatever architecture my company owns at the present time. I can't ask an computer science major to do it.

You need more than some certification to be an engineer or scientist and a lot of computer science degrees are simply collections of network certs.

Re:It's data, and it's a science, so... (1)

mikael (484) | about a year ago | (#46410865)

It does get confusing especially with job adverts... I see titles like "software consultant", "freelancer", "programmer" (for visualisation work), "scientific programmer" (for parallel processing research into fluid dynamics), member of technical staff, test engineer, compiler engineer, software engineer, senior software engineer, principal engineer, architect, as well as data scientist (with "Big Data", R, Java/Hadoop and Reduction).

The main different between a programmer and an engineer was that the engineering work involved more consultation work with other engineers than actually coding, while the software consultant, freelancer, programmer concentrating on being given a specification from a single client.

Re:It's data, and it's a science, so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409615)

If I can't call myself a 'Data scientist' on a resume, what term should I use?

How about "Multispectral Satellite Instrument Data Corrector"?

Re:It's data, and it's a science, so... (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | about a year ago | (#46410545)

...and the only place that will hire me with that description is the place I'm working at now. Very few private subcontractors are flying remote sensing satellites.

Re:It's data, and it's a science, so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46410757)

Sounds like what you do is not part of the hype and it sounds quite valuable. I'm not sure what the appropriate title is. A good post below compared the term "Data Scientist" to "Webmaster"... you dont really see many people claiming to be that anymore.

sorry I dont have any better suggestions.

The Article Is Misinformed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409153)

Unfortunately the article is over-responding to the hype that currently surrounds 'big data'.

It's true that many companies are jumping on the band wagon and starting projects that have little potential for any return. The same happened with Web technologies in the 90's.

It's also true that many 'data science' projects are extremely beneficial to the companies that initiate them. Many companies that executed Web technology projects in the 90's saved / made significant amounts of money from them, and some of them are now the largest companies in the economy.

Big data projects have to play by the same rules of any other technology investment -- defined goals backed up by ROI analysis to justify the expense. And if you are going to outsource your project to consultant you have to thoroughly vet their skills and experience, just as with any other technology consultant.

Saying that data science is dead just because it's popular is more harmful than helpful.

Theory vs Real World (1)

cyberhooligan77 (2612877) | about a year ago | (#46409241)

There are several subjects disscused in this post.

* First, wheter there is a "Data Science" career. Since, I discover how math can be applied to handle data, when learnt Relational Algebra, & Data Normalization, in Collegue, I realized there could be a "Data Science" school diploma. And include OLAP, Key-Value, NoSQL, Statistics data handling, with their respective math theorical support.

* Second, like any other career, there is a diference in how is taught in school, & how is applied in business.

What about the Data Analysis software, the employers require a job candidate, to know before. Reporting Software, OLAP, SQL, other.

* Third, how interesting could be this job positions for a Mathematician, or Data related Programmer ?

I have received several Data Statistics or Data Bases, or Data Analysts, job offers, all of them, just boring, no future, dead end jobs. Sometimes, well paid, sometimes not.

* Extra Point.

Data Programmer, here, that has some knowledge on Human Resources, & Psychology. I have applied for several (Data related) Programming & Analysts jobs, where I had to solve some (Data or Statistics) Math Evaluations. More than 10 years in the field, & didn't pass them. Many of these H.R. tests are complex, and not related to real world experience.

* Summary. Data Science is not dead, in fact there are two kinds of Data Science, the one that is taught in school, and the one that employers expect.

Just my 2 cents.

Re:Theory vs Real World (1)

mikojava (112773) | about a year ago | (#46409507)

this is a good and rational perspective. I think if there is a formalization of the concept of Data Science including academic certification, maybe it could become more credible.

definition (never gets old) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409247)

Big Data: the belief that as the size of a pile of shit increases, the probability of finding a pony approaches one.

Re:definition (never gets old) (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#46409809)

Y'know, once your pile covers a large enough area of land, there's bound to be a pony in there somewhere.

Synergized leverage of 5,000 mile view (1)

sinij (911942) | about a year ago | (#46409345)

Synergized leverage of 5,000 mile view with a stakeholder buy-in increases both capacity and bandwidth of core clientele and creates engagement with the low-hanging fruit.


Shut up, and code.

Big data == bad engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409633)

Yeah, move the data to the processing. That's the way to do it...

If you are trying to sell:
Storage devices

Move the processing to the data. Turn it into small data.

False (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46409653)

In every large organization I have worked almost every example of egregious waste had its roots in lack of data. Good data is essential for making good management decisions. Without good data all you are doing is guessing at best, and with inaccurate data you may be making catastrophically wrong decisions.

The other universal truth is that management HATES objective data with a passion. It almost invariably conflicts with their management philosophy or ideology, which causes them to reject or ignore the data. The results are predictable in every case, but humans as a group are too stupid to learn from past mistakes.

Ask UnderArmor (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about a year ago | (#46409683)

UA, a Baltimore company hosts data science meetups. Why? Because UA is data science driven. All company decisions are made based on data. So it seems that the OP is complete BS, because it is effectively creating results, and those results are highly successful for a major corporation.

Re:Ask UnderArmor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46410671)

lol... this argument is weak. Because of this one data point, the OP is "complete BS"

Re:Ask UnderArmor (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about a year ago | (#46411345)

It's called a counter example.

Another 140 character or less take (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#46409893)

OK, I wasn't going after "data science" specifically, but ad algos and how my twitter feed has become a cesspool of mental masturbation for ad algorithm people, which is the "killer app" for "big data":

1. PhD invents fantastic ad algo. 2. Guy sees ad on iPhone, takes EBT card there. 1. PhD applies for EBT card. #OneTwoPunch [twitter.com]

Wow, I can't believe I just typed that many buzzwords in a Slashdot post; but at least I had a reason and put most of them in quotes... dammit. "algos". Anyway, I wonder if everybody's twitter feed is as bad as mine lately. I think it might have to do with a former co-worker who now works in that field. Thus, I get a lot of improperly targeted ads for people who are in the data-mining/ad biz. Of course I'll never buy their product--I'm not a CxO who's looking to proactively synergize my paradigms.... but it's an interesting "fly on the wall" view of how that world works, so I'm not entirely sure if I should find a way to stop it.

Calling yourself a 'scientist' w/out a doctorate? (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about a year ago | (#46410073)

I'd think that'd be a red flag on a resume. (Sorry autodidacts.)


Re:Calling yourself a 'scientist' w/out a doctorat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46410271)

Kind of like all the "Knowledge Engineers" who didn't have an engineering degree, or even all that much knowledge for that matter.

Re:Calling yourself a 'scientist' w/out a doctorat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46410469)

I'd think that'd be a red flag on a resume. (Sorry autodidacts.) .

Take it outside, Wolowitz.

Data Scientists are this bubble's Web Masters (2, Interesting)

rockmuelle (575982) | about a year ago | (#46410175)

I've been working with big data since before it was a term and currently run a scientific software company that touches on many aspects of "data science". Many of my colleagues also work in the field. I've seen many fads come and go. Data Science as a profession is one of those.

Most people who call themselves data scientists are really just doing "big data" processing using tools such as Hadoop. They are delivering results to managers who have jumped on the big data band wagon and, not knowing any better, have asked for these skills. In 99% of the cases, the processing is simply haphazardly looking for patterns or running basic statistics on data that really isn't that big. However, there is a lot of low hanging fruit in data that hasn't been analyzed before and most practitioners who've suddenly become data analysis experts are rewarded for trivial findings. A tiny bit of statistics, programming, and data presentation skills go a long way.

Compare this to the Web Masters of the late 1990s. The Web was new and managers knew that they needed Web sites. HTML and CGI were techie things but also fairly easy to learn. A group of people quickly figured out that they could be very important to a company by doing very little work and created the position of Web Master. A tiny bit of programming, sys admin, and design skills went a long way.

Web Masters disappeared when IT departments realized that you actually needed real software developers, real designers, and real sys admins to run a corporate Web site. Sure, the bar is still low, but expertise beyond a 'For Dummies' book is still needed. And, few people can be experts in each area, hence the need for teams.

Real data science has actually been around for a long time. Statisticians and data analysts have been performing this role for decades and have built up a lot of rigor around it. It a tough skill set to develop, but a very useful one to have. "Big Data" distracted people a bit and let the current generation of data scientists jump in and pretend everything was new and we could throw out the old methods. As the field evolves, data science will necessarily transition back to the experts (statisticians) and become a team effort that includes people skilled in programming, IT, and the target domain (analysts).

That said, there's good money to be made right now, so if you have Web Master on your resume, you might as well be a data scientist while you can. ;)


Re:Data Scientists are this bubble's Web Masters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46410647)

nice analogy... not a lot of people claiming to be "Web Masters" these days lol

unwanted post. Just pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46410655)

Give that man a finger. ..posts like these are meant to create an unwanted, frivolous buzz in the town.

Somebody better tell leading research universities (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#46410675)

Because they're expanding Data Science.

Hype about Hype (1)

SkiTee94 (2984671) | about a year ago | (#46410789)

There's no question that there's a certain amount of hype around 'big data' / 'data science' at the moment, and with that comes a lot of "me too!" people. If the argument is that there's a lot of people just jumping on the bandwagon saying they can do 'data science' then I'll give the author that... but the suggestion that 'data science is dead' seems a bit hyperbolic to say the least.

I've worked with a lot of top-notch people that would likely be labeled as 'data scientists' and I can tell you that:
1) They can do some amazing things
2) They honestly don't care what you call them ('data scientists' / 'wiz kid' / 'that guy who's Linux box is secretly running our company') and are happy to let other people waste their own time arguing about titles
3) They do generate real value
4) Their employers value them and that's reflected in their pay
5) Their employers typically want more people just like them, but have a hard time finding/recruiting that talent... yes HR likes resume key words so they don't need to do any real work finding people to interview

There still seems to be plenty of data in science (1)

Shag (3737) | about a year ago | (#46411569)

Our current-generation workhorse instruments here at the telescope [naoj.org] spit out tens of gigabytes per night as it is. The new camera we've been commissioning produces something like two gigabytes per exposure. And oh, yes, that data has to be archived, reduced, analyzed, etc., using things like IRAF or IDL. (Not my job.)

body of the subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46411799)

I'm a data scientist, you insensitive nerd.

It's working well for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46411851)

I'm working independently as an entrepreneur. Read my last post "How to compete against data scientists charging $30/hour" at http://www.datasciencecentral.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-compete-against-data-scientists-charging-30-hour

Data Scientist no dead yet...

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