"We project a need for 1.5 million additional managers and analysts in the United States who can ask the right questions and consume the results of the analysis of Big Data effectively." What the industry needs is a new type of person: the data scientist. [snip]
Hilary Mason, chief scientist for the URL shortening service bit.ly, says a data scientist must have three key skills. "They can take a data set and model it mathematically and understand the math required to build those models; they can actually do that, which means they have the engineering skills…and finally they are someone who can find insights and tell stories from their data. That means asking the right questions, and that is usually the hardest piece."Good at math, engineering, finding insights, and telling stories...if the data scientist is not the Übermensch, then he or she is at least someone who needs to have high SAT scores all around.
The late Isaac Asimov foresaw this future over a half-century ago. His science fiction novel Foundation introduced the notion of psychohistory, in which future events could be predicted by applying statistical analysis to societal data on a vast scale. When Asimov wrote his novel in 1951, the computational technology to make psychohistory a reality seemed out of reach. That day is now here.
If the Graduate were re-imagined today:
Mr. McGuire: I just want to say two words to you. Just two words.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Big Data.