Type A or B – Which Data Scientist are You?
By Aditi Bhat
Data science, data mining, machine learning and data engineering might all sound similar. However, ask a data scientist and he/she will explain you the difference between these terms. These roles may be interdependent, but they are quite diverse from each other.
Data science is a fast-evolving stream. In fact, the term was not even coined a few years ago. Today, almost every industry across the globe is aware of the power of data science and the wonders it can do for their business.
Ronald Coase, a Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics was absolutely right when he said, “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess”. And now, almost every firm is gathering data and collecting valuable insights from it. So how does a data scientist go about collecting accurate information from all the available data? His/her approach depends on his/her area of expertise.
What’s your type?
Data scientists are categorised as Type A and Type B, based on their area of expertise.
So who is a Type A data scientist? Let’s make it simple – Type A Data Scientist deals with ‘Analysis’ alone. He/she is skilled in analysing the available data and simplifying it. These professionals take care of aspects like data cleaning, classification, data visualization and so on.
Type A Data Scientists also study the most fitting ways of structuring vast data sets apart from having in-depth knowledge about their domain. They may belong to a non-quantitative background, but should be aware of number-crunching tools like R programming, SAS and SQL to name a few.
So then what do Type B Data Scientist to do? Well, a lot. Type B Data Scientists work on the ‘Building’ aspect of the available data. They build interactive data models, which usually suggest recommendations.
Remember all those pop-ups you see in the form of ‘People you may know’ or ‘Products you might be interested in’? Type B Data Scientists are responsible for them. These data science professionals may have some statistical knowledge, but their strength lies in their coding skills. Type B Data Scientists deliver business benefits and also have the ability to manage Type A Data Scientists.
There is a distinction between the kind of functions both Type A and Type B Data Scientists perform. However, it is essential for data scientists to develop or at least be familiar with the skills relevant to both these branches while being experts in their own domain.