Realizing that I have probably procrastinated enough from blogging, I began hunting for relevant articles. I came across this one article from April 26, 2012 on the Wall Street Journal, “Big Data’s Big Problem: Little Talent”, that caught my eye.
The article puts the whole big data challenge back into perspective. The article touches on the realization of how powerful big data is, but as the title suggests, there isn’t enough talent. According to an article from 2011, this talent encompasses the expertise of statistics and machine learning, coupled with managers and analysts that can incorporate the insights learned from the data. This gap is data-science.
Hilary Mason, chief scientist behind bit.ly, says that a data scientist must possess three skills:
1. Ability to mathematically model and understand the models from the data set
2. Engineering skills required to actually do number one.
3. Find the appropriate insights and tell stories from their data.
Asking the right questions and possessing a great understanding of the business is what makes the last skill to be the most challenging. Finding lost nuggets as a data scientist isn’t enough. Turning the nuggets into actions is what is most important, as Donald Rumsfeld would say.
Pat Gelsinger, president and chief operating officer of EMC Corp., helps one realize the scope of big data and its impact. “Thirty years ago we didn’t have computer-science deparments; now ever quality school on the planet has a CS department. Now nobody has a data-science department; in 30 years every school on the planet will have one.”
Seeing how computer science is everywhere now, imagine the world Gelsinger suggests in 30 years. This statement seemed to have rekindled my interest in big data, in the sense of being more proactive. Having this article help one, especially in our field, bring it back to the bigger picture, one that touches on the immaturity and scope of such a new thing, brings back some of the excitement.
I found this article particularly interesting as I seemed to have gone from avoiding reading and blogging, to currently having multiple tabs open on big data waiting for me. I’m hoping this post and article can help others out there as it did me.