12/31/2012

Data Scientist vs Astrologers

Business Intelligence is my life.

No, really, it's my job.

And that's great.

Because data exist everywhere.

And if you have the right tools and access, you too can work with data.

You can get data 'into' the database.

Or you can get data 'out' of the database.

You can aggregate the data.

Or show the details.

You can create Dashboards and Key Performance Indicators.

Or you can create cool visualizations.

Any way you slice it, the data is there waiting for you to do something with it.

Now if you spend enough time in school, get your PhD, and know your way around statistics, then you may become a 'Data Scientist'.

Perhaps that definition is to extreme.  Maybe a data scientist works with Big Data.  Hmmm.  Maybe not.

Perhaps a Data Scientist is someone who's a master at working with data, who understands and comprehends the business, the processes, the industry as well as the data and the tools necessary to process it.  One who can derive meaning from it.  Perhaps someone gifted in the art and science of turning data into information.

Hmmm..  That sounds more appropriate.  Because I really don't have time to go back and get a PhD at this point in my career.  And maybe the decade and a half experience I have isn't wasted time.

I'd go a step further.  What do you think an Oracle does, one who interprets Tarot cards or Astrology.  They view the patterns of the stars, how they are aligned, the relationship to other objects, and can produce probabilities based on that.

Now some people say that's hogwash, their results are so vague and can be interpreted the same for everyone.  And they are a bunch of con artist taking people's money for telling the future.

I'll be honest, I went to see a psychic and they said I'd meet someone named 'Crystal'.  This is no lie, I met 3 people named Crystal and I was programming in Crystal Reports at the time.  Coincidence?

Some people don't believe in electricity because they can't see it, so go ahead and touch that light socket and let me know if you still don't believe in electricity.

So what I'm basically saying is this, are Data Scientist just a new derivative of the ancient Astrology readers from 2000 years ago, who read the intestines of animals to predict the future?

Sure makes you think about if from a different perspective.

And what level does 'Intuition' play in the game of Data.  Do you not think the decision makers use practical business experience and gut instinct applied against the known facts, the result of the data insight, just in case the data has false positives?

I'd say intuition still plays a huge role, regardless of what the industry says.

Facts are great, if they're correct.  But I wouldn't bet the entire farm on them.

And that's what I think.


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