Data science: What does it mean and how is it best applied? | #CDSUSA

Editor’s Note: Recently, at the Chief Data Scientist, USA, we had the pleasure of being joined by @SiliconANGLE Media, Inc. (theCUBE) to interview some of our attendees about the world of Data Science. Watch the video below. This article written by Gabriel Pesek was originally posted on SiliconANGLE blog.

While data science (along with its associated tools, utilities and applications) is a hot topic in the tech world across innumerable facets of industry, there’s still a large degree of uncertainty as to just what data science means, and how it can best be applied.

At the Chief Data Scientist, USA event in San Francisco, CA, Assad M. Shaik, head of Enterprise Data Science for Cuna Mutual, joined Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick), co-host of theCUBE*, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, to talk about data science as it’s commonly seen and as it really is.

Improving understanding

As Shaik explained, his focus at the event was to clarify what data science actually is. Noting “a lot of confusion” about whether it’s a new name for analytics, advanced analytics or something else entirely, his goal is to speak frankly and clearly enough for attendees to gain a better understanding of the challenges and goals encountered by data scientists on a daily basis.

As part of this examination, he’s looking at both the experiences encountered by customers and the revenue growth that can be gained by applying analytics to those customers. He’s also providing some insight into the new skill expectations being encountered by data scientists and the reasons behind those changes.

In Shaik’s estimation, sales skills and a grasp of marketing have become “essential” for a data science group to find success. He attributes this mainly to the development from “IT and the business, if you just go back a few years,” to a centralization of data teams by other organizations in the search for additional value within their data.

Solving real problems

One of the biggest questions savvy data science groups can ask, in Shaik’s mind, is: “How can we help you meet the corporate and the business area goals using data science?” By looking for concrete problems to which the team can apply their tools and research, more informative conclusions can be drawn from the experience.

In a similar development line, Shaik shared his thoughts on companies such as Uber and Airbnb, which are using data science to evolve from traditional models. To him, the most important part of these companies is the way that they’re applying their data to the problems of an existing industry standard and leading the rest of that industry along with the need to innovate and keep up with the times.

As the conversation came to a close, Shaik also shared how much he enjoys the conference. In his experience at the event, “The biggest thing is the networking. I get to meet the people from the different industry sectors, with a similar background in the data science, and understand how they are doing what they are doing in the data science field, [while] sharing my perspective with them. It’s a fabulous event.”

Watch the complete video interview below:


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