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Analytics Magazine

Inside Story: Sexy job, sense of humor, slogan

November/December 2013

analytics decision scientists data

They already have the sexiest job of the 21st century according to a Harvard Business Review article by Tom Davenport and D.J. Patil. Now, it turns out, data scientists also have a great sense of humor. Who knew?

Those wild and crazy guys (and gals) at FICO Labs figured they deserved a slogan to complement their sexy job, so they held a contest to determine the “Top 10 Ways You Know You’re a Data Scientist.”

Here’s their list:

  • No. 10: You think … “So much data, so little time…”
  • No. 9: You know what heteroscedasticity is.
  • No. 8: Your best pick-up lines all include the word “moneyball.”
  • No. 7: You look at your grocery bill and try to predict what you will buy next.
  • No. 6: You think data scientists are cool… and you have a theorem to prove it.
  • No. 5: The numbers talk back.
  • No. 4: Counting sheep keeps you up at night.
  • No. 3: You know where all the insights are buried.
  • No 2. You have a Kolmogorov-Smirnov hangover.

And the No. 1 reason you know you’re a data scientist …

  • No. 1. You crunch numbers for breakfast.

The winning entry, “Data Scientists Crunch Numbers for Breakfast,” will be made into a bumper sticker. Now all a data scientist needs to complete the revenge-of-the-nerds saga is a nice car to put the bumper sticker on and an entourage to drive around with.

However, before we notify the paparazzi and get too carried away with this data-scientist-as-nouveau-rock-star narrative, let’s consider the words of Dhiraj Rajaram, founder and CEO of analytics giant Mu Sigma. In this month’s “Executive Edge” column, Rajaram draws a clear distinction between data scientists and decision scientists, who, Rajaram says, “are truly rare, much more rare than data scientists.”

To find out the difference between data scientists and decision scientists, and why Rajaram holds the latter in such high esteem, click here. While you’re at it, check out the entire issue and decide for yourself what’s the “next big thing” in analytics (besides, of course, Big Data).

— Peter Horner, Editor
peter.horner@mail.informs.org

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