Data Science and Machine Learning

Machine Learning is acknowlegded as a part of Data Science, but will it be able to replace a Data Scientist?
There have been several articles around that topic in the last few years and months. It’s true there has been some major progress in the field of machine learning and there are already articles about the beginning of automated science like Lipson and Schmidt.
During the SXSWeek there will even be a Panel concerning this topic The Data Scientist Will Be Replaced By Tools.
The main question is, will machine results replace human expertise? There are several startups that provide data science as a service, like Prior Knowledge or Platfora. These companies help to discover knowledge hidden in a company’s data. PK looks in the provided data for correlations and helps to build predictive models. Pltfora on the other hand wants to make Hadoop usable for everyone.
These companies can help discover information, but only combined with human expertise from inside the company it is possible to make the most of the uncovered information. So, in my opinion, machine learning helps making the job of a data scientist easier, because he can concentrate more on his expertise with the context the data was created in.
This may even help in broadening the access to data science to more people.

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Data Scientist: Hype or Sexy?

Data Scientists seem to be everywhere nowadays. This title has seen a huge increase in appearences in job descriptions, as Indeed.com demostrates in its data.
There are several sites and articles that even describe the job as sexy:

The combination of handling Big Data and Analytics is what makes this title so attractive. So far handling data and analytics were too parts, sometimes combined in one person, but most times not. But with all the unstructured data available and new tools to handle it, the combination is easier to handle for one person. But technical understanding is not enough to become a Data Scientist. It requires an understanding of products and customer behaviour as well as how to manage and analyse data.
Right now there is no programm that graduates with the title Data Scientist, so companies have to look for people that learned all skills during their career so far or have strong affinities towards analysis or programming with corresponding skills learned during their studies or education.
Because of the interdisciplinary area of this field, some companies try to get their hands on graduated physicist. Their studies involve a great deal of interdisciplinary themes and the affinity to both algorithms and research.
Other possibilities are Business Intelligence Analysts, Data Mining specialists or even Web Analytics manager, depending on their career so far, especially their experience with different kinds of data and their presentation skills regarding actions resulting from their analysis.
All in all this new title and the news coverage it is getting is a great opportunity for people already working in this field and newbies wanting to work with both data and analysis.

This makes this new profession sexy.

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