data scientist

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Building an effective data governance framework
Contributor(s): Nicole Laskowski

A data scientist is a job title for an employee or business intelligence (BI) consultant who excels at analyzing data, particularly large amounts of data, to help a business gain a competitive edge.  

The title data scientist is sometimes disparaged because it lacks specificity and can be perceived as an aggrandized synonym for data analyst.  Regardless, the position is gaining acceptance with large enterprises who are interested in deriving meaning from big data, the voluminous amount of structured, unstructured and semi-structured data that a large enterprise produces. 

A data scientist possesses a combination of analytic, machine learning, data mining and statistical skills as well as experience with algorithms and coding. Perhaps the most important skill a data scientist possesses, however, is the ability to explain the significance of data in a way that can be easily understood by others. 

See also: Director of First Impressions

This was last updated in September 2011

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Great definition! I heard a interest quote from IBM director of big data products that data scientists are "part analyst, part artist" and that they were like storytellers of big data. Definitely though, I believe data scientists get companies a competitive edge, we need more of them.


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