What’s So Great About Data Science Anyway?
Data science is all the rage right now. Harvard Business Review encapsulated this sudden interest when they released the October 2012 issue containing an article named Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century. Along with this, the leader in company and job review, Glassdoor ranked it the #1 job in America for 2016 based on number of job openings, salary and career opportunities rating.
Just Getting Started
The best part about all of this is that the end is no where in sight. Despite some who say it is simply a fad or a short-lived phenomenon, data science appears to continue to grow at a rapid pace with no signs of slowing down.
Show me the Money
At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to do what we love for a living and have passion for our work. However if you can make an impressive salary at the same time then all the better, am I right? Based on over 1,000 anonymously submitted salaries, Glassdoor reports the national average income for data scientists at a whopping $113,436 yearly salary.
I’m not sure what it would be like to go to a job day after day that is centered around a niche task, discipline, or specialization. I would imagine it getting old fairly quickly. Luckily, data scientists do not have that problem. By nature, data science calls upon the a skill set involving multiple disciplines including computer science, statistics, and domain knowledge. The merging of these very different concentrations results in a fascinating field that continuously challenges and surprises you.
Let’s Get Creative
Contrary to popular belief, creativity is one of the key traits that make up a capable data scientist. When looking at data science competitions like ones available on Kaggle, it’s being observed more and more that users who do consistently well tend to “spend all their time being creative” as Jeremy Howard, Kaggle’s former president stated. Data science offers a creative outlet, whether it’s searching for actionable insight in data, coming up with unique strategies, or creating new visualizations.
Rise of the Machines
Arguably the hottest concentration within data science at the moment. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence that involves teaching computers to learn without being directly programmed. This is an extremely interesting, challenging, and lucrative area of data science. Bill Gates of Microsoft summarized this point when he stated that “a breakthrough in machine learning would be worth ten Microsofts”.
Curiosity is Key
This is what puts the “science” in data science. Through data science, we are given the opportunity to research hypothesize, to answer our questions and curiosities about life with data. This is a motivating factor for many people out there working in the field and for good reason; as few things are more satisfying than discovering something new or answering a relevant question.
Make an Impact
Many people out have the ability to effectively show off some savvy statistical or programming techniques and skills. However, this isn’t where data science is at its best. Data is an extremly powerful thing because it represents us and who we are as a population. When used correctly, data science can be more than just interesting, it can influence individuals and the world alike.