“Analyzing the Analyzers: An Introspective Survey of Data Scientists and Their Work” by Harlan Harris, Sean Murphy, and Marck Vaisman; O’Reilly Media

Data science is a hot topic at the moment, especially when it comes to ‘big data’. Many organisations are looking for data scientists or data specialists to help them analyse their business data or to produce software and tools to help them optimise their businesses. The problem is that data science represents a broad variety of skills, technical know-how, and practitioners from a wide variety of backgrounds. There is a lack of common terminology and understanding of the role leading to problems communicating what data scientists do, what problems they solve, and the requirements for business and within organisations. This book provides an insight into the backgrounds, skills, and activities of data scientists based upon a recent survey of people identifying themselves as data scientists. The book attempts a classification of the different types of data scientists based upon the work they do and the skills that they bring. As well as a diversity of skills across the participants, the depth and breath of the skills across the different data scientist types is discussed.  The book also compares the work of the authors with surveys from other researchers. Recommendations are provided for data scientists in how they might want to develop and pitch their skills to business when looking for new opportunities, and how businesses might try to find data scientists appropriate skills for their particular requirements and support their staff in those roles.

The book is basically an extended academic paper with details of the authors approach, findings, and recommendations that is an interesting read for people who consider themselves data scientists or who are looking to bring data scientists into their teams or businesses. The book also contains links to related material and a questionnaire so you can identify the type of data scientist that most closely represents your role and skill set.

For more information see the O’Reilly product page.


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