Big Data Breeds New Profession

Big Data Breeds New Profession

This piece was originally published in the August 2016 issue of electroindustry.

Cheryl Kreider Carey, CAE, Director of Operations and Administration, MITA

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What do you want to be when you grow up? We’ve probably all asked this question many times. But how many times have you heard “data scientist” in reply?

The current data-driven revolution is leaving much in its wake. Laws and regulations are necessarily adapting while new professions are emerging, all in response to the seismic effects of modern technology on society. Data scientists, following a career path born of the exponential growth of smart, connected products, make discoveries from these petabytes of data.

Data science combines data with statistical algorithms. For a definition, we look to a May 2012 tweet by Josh Wills:
data-scientist-tweet

In an October 2012 Harvard Business Review article, “Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century,” Thomas Davenport and D.J. Patil described a data scientist as “a hybrid of data hacker, analyst, communicator, and trusted adviser.” Importantly, data scientists and chief data officers translate insights gleaned from these data into specific strategic decisions at hand.

Within healthcare, the study of information and data is referred to as medical informatics. The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) promotes imaging data and analytics through policies and whitepapers. For example, MITA’s recent Cancer Cure Moonshot policy statement highlights the need for analyzing data contained in the millions of medical images as integral to the cure of cancer.

An increasing number of universities are offering curricula in data analytics. While it is perhaps not yet the dream job of today’s youth, the demand for data scientists is growing.

Read the August 2016 issue of electroindustry

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