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I am a data scientist with an education company in Irvine, CA; Ask Me Anything!

Kate Ta
Aug 28, 2017

This will be my second AMA about data science! Data science was my natural fit career due to my background in statistics & business. I would love to answer questions about the impact of data on business as well as how to maintain if not qualify the data using data science skills! Please ask me what data science is also if you do not understand it; it is very important to me to let people know what are the benefits & responsibilities involved with data science.

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Conversation (60)

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What is it that you love about data science?

Aug 28, 4:14PM EDT0

What would you class as data exactly?

Aug 28, 7:18AM EDT0

Yikes, everything that is considerably relevant to my business question. I would not store the information on Ikea chairs & their form factor if I was trying to answer about a business's expense sheet. Maybe if I was trying to predict the hype cycle of Ikea's products compared to my own products. 

Aug 28, 11:59AM EDT0

Thanks for your answer Kate

Aug 28, 12:14PM EDT0

Have you got a link to a FB or Twitter page I could follow?

Aug 28, 7:15AM EDT0

I have a Twitter : @ktbernoulli. 😉

Aug 28, 11:55AM EDT0

Thanks

Aug 28, 12:17PM EDT0

What is the difference between a data scientist & a data engineer?

Aug 28, 4:21AM EDT0

A data engineer combines their knowledge of data storage with data maintenance. A warehouse of data storage is what you desire then a data engineer is who you need to buy it / maintain it. Once you're happy with the data you've been able to collect, now you want to analyze it for information? Come talk to the data scientist.

Aug 28, 11:57AM EDT0

I get it thanks, so you basically analyze data in terms of specific trends, correct?

Aug 28, 12:30PM EDT0

Is data science something used by supermarkets & retailers when figuring out what to stock by their app/sales data?

Aug 28, 4:16AM EDT0

Before, no, sometimes grocers / big retail have sort of company tracking inventory that will automatically tell them when the next time to buy is approximately, or they have some kind of subcontract that allows them to buy only at a certain time. After, the game changes because regardless of which of the two scenarios they are in, I'm sure after data science, they will not only know how much to buy, but how much to sell, how long to sell, how often to stock on shelves, etc. etc.

Aug 28, 11:55AM EDT0

Who uses your service mostly?

Aug 28, 12:38PM EDT0

How can a business gather useful data about their target market?

Aug 28, 4:10AM EDT0

The only problem with collecting data on your target market is there will be an instance where your target market is not the supposed target market for your product. You can definitely start with who has been historically buying your product over the time that you have been offering it as well as simultaneously seeing if the current customers are the same as the previous ones. What's really interesting is someone who was completely outside of your supposed target market buying your product. That is the person you should really analyse to see why they did not fit your predictions & how would you able to capture more customers like them.

Aug 28, 11:52AM EDT0

Ah ok. Do you think everything can be analyzed and how big is the margin of error?

Aug 28, 12:51PM EDT0

How long has data science been around?

Aug 28, 4:01AM EDT0

I've been inaccurately told that data science is just some machine learning repackaged over the years, but it's pretty wrong in my opinion. Those who do not know the full scope of what a data scientist can do should respectfully sit down & consider when they have ever been considered for a recommendation systems project or incorporated image data in their studies. So quite frankly, five years.

Aug 28, 11:50AM EDT0

Ok, so it is a fairly new job then. Are there any courses or how do you train to become a data scientist?

Aug 28, 12:38PM EDT0

What should business owners be measuring exactly?

Aug 28, 3:36AM EDT0

You should consider your customers as the first line of data you should be consider collecting on. It sounds like privacy issues, but as long as you are getting extremely specific like 'how many times did Bob walk into my store this past week?' kind of situation then most customers would be delighted for personalization of their experience with your product.

Aug 28, 11:45AM EDT0

Ah ok. Does it not take up quite a lot of time and for a small shop is it really worth it in your opinon?

Aug 28, 1:25PM EDT0

What is involved in your job?

Aug 28, 2:52AM EDT0

As a consultant, either bits & pieces are given to me to finish in a project that is my specialty or the whole project end-to-end. Both reuqire the same amount of dedication because I personally have a bare minimum in quality before I even let it be considered viewable.

As an educator, I am always flexing the material to better suit the students to really help them both understand data science & realize that their industry needs it. 

Aug 28, 11:48AM EDT0

I understand you gather a lot of facts which you subsequently analyze but how accurate is the analysis when you are dealing with the unpredictiveness of human behavior?

Aug 28, 1:06PM EDT0

What is data science research & what is it used for?

Aug 28, 2:44AM EDT0

Data science research might as well be either research using data science or research on the future techniques for data science. Either of which needs a PhD & patience, because research itself is pure hard work along with techniques for data science being discovered are very industry specific.

Aug 28, 11:43AM EDT0

I understand, is marketing and psychology part of the subjects that are taught when you study to become a data scientist?

Aug 28, 1:41PM EDT0

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Aug 28, 2:35AM EDT0

Being able to educate those who do not have a background in data science about the uses of data science. Their eyes really open up about what they can now answer / do once they acquire the skills to do so. 

Aug 28, 11:41AM EDT0

Great to hear that you have a fulfilling job that gives you job satisfaction!

Aug 28, 1:16PM EDT0

What should every business be watching in regards to useful data?

Aug 28, 1:50AM EDT0

Useful is a very debatable word. One moment, you do not care precisely the ratio of peas in your products' soup & the next day, there is a pea shortage announced so now you have to care. It might be as slightly meaningless as that or much more serious. So in all of my experience so far, it is better to have too much data than to have too little data.

Aug 28, 11:40AM EDT0

I hear you. 

Aug 28, 1:12PM EDT0

Would you say data brings clarity?

Aug 28, 1:42AM EDT0

In all seriousness, if a person in a division that's not form your own were to come offer & crystal clearly understand what your data / how you are collecting & storing & labeling your data, then it is the clarity we all want to achieve. Unfortunately, there will be instances many instances of companies having little to no notes on why they label their data a certain way & expect outsiders to know exactly what they are saying.

Aug 28, 11:37AM EDT0

I understand. You check all the facts available and then analyze it and find the 'mistakes' so you or the company can come to a solution on how to fix it. What is the most interesting case you have seen so far? 

Aug 28, 1:05PM EDT0

What is machine learning in data science?

Aug 28, 1:29AM EDT0

Machine learning is a subdivision of data science; while the true work of data science lies in the data preparation, we only prepare data for the machine learning algorithms we will use further. But what sets machine learning apart from data science is the fact that data science then goes beyond what machine learning is & answers a business purpose.

Aug 28, 11:35AM EDT0

Is this predominantly used in governments and other large corporations? 

Aug 28, 12:41PM EDT0

How should data be stored to be of most use?

Aug 28, 1:12AM EDT0

If you are talking about database data, then databases. If you are talking about images, videos, Twitter feeds, Facebook notifications, etc. etc. then by all means necessary.

Aug 28, 11:33AM EDT0

Thanks. I guess everyone has their own system on how they handle their information as well. 

Aug 28, 1:26PM EDT0

Have you personally made any breakthroughs in regards to reading data?

Aug 28, 1:04AM EDT0

Reading data? Hm, there's the machine learning aspect that might lead you first in your analysis about the data, but physically just yourself 'reading' the data ? None, besides pure research on the data you are dealing with.

Aug 28, 11:32AM EDT0

Thanks

Aug 28, 2:32PM EDT0

What is the role of data science in modern society?

Aug 28, 12:58AM EDT0

Hm, in my perspective, data science has the role of linking the ideals of academia with the pureness of business today. A data scientist very well knows the capabilities of their skills to the world of academia, but chooses to display it / incorporate it with their chosen industry / company's issues.

Aug 28, 11:31AM EDT0

Do you believe there is such thing as over analyzing data?

Aug 28, 1:33PM EDT0

What is Data Engineering?

Aug 28, 12:52AM EDT0

To a data scientist, a data engineer is who we come to when we feel like the quality of the data that was presented to us is neither at a minimal quality nor can be fixed by us. Data engineers are in charge of both maintaining a company's data as well as keeping the quality in check.

Aug 28, 11:30AM EDT0

Ah ok, I get it. So it only really applies to big companies correct?

Aug 28, 2:56PM EDT0

How long have you worked in this field?

Aug 28, 12:50AM EDT0

I have been in the data science field for about 2 years.

Aug 28, 11:28AM EDT0

Do you work in a team or does that depend on the size/volume of data you need to work with?

Aug 28, 1:12PM EDT0

What is data science?

Aug 28, 12:25AM EDT0

Data science is a multidisciplinary field that includes programming, statistics, a sense of communication, & domain expertise. There have been some data scientist that have scrapped by without say... domain expertise because their team/industry has domain experts for them to thrive on.

Aug 28, 11:28AM EDT0

For what do you need to know programming and what programming language is usually required? Also, what do you mean by domain expertise?

Aug 28, 1:45PM EDT0