“What excites me about data science are the sheer possibilities. It’s like solving a puzzle, but a puzzle that’s meaningful and that has real world implications, and that…can really help change the world,” says Artificial Intelligence Luminary: Andy Veluswami. More and more businesses around the world are realising the value of data science in aspects like recruitment and product development. We’re seeing major developments in the healthcare industry due to insights derived from data science. In this article, we look at three predictions on the future of data science.
What is data science?
Data processing. Algorithms. Computer science. Machine learning. If you were to ask a data scientist what their job entails, the answer might be a combination of those elements. To the layman, it may be a challenge to sift through the tech talk, so for those of us who like to keep things simple, here’s how TechTarget defines data science: “Data science is the study of where information comes from, what it represents and how it can be turned into a valuable resource in the creation of business and IT strategies.”
A practical example of this in action would be Buxtunco, a data science company that records what certain customers are doing at certain locations. By using this kind of data, Buxtunco can help businesses choose the most potentially profitable location for their stores on the ground. Another example would be how data is being used by hospitals, to determine why certain people are readmitted. Some of the answers data can provide include whether there are correlations between, “readmission and socioeconomic data points like income, addresses, crime rates, and air pollution.”
Prediction #1: Diversification of data science job titles
Right now, the job title of data scientist is an umbrella term for a range of different jobs, including data engineering, full stack data science, jobs that entail running reactive SQL queries, research and as one Quora contributor puts it, “100 other things.” In the future, job titles may diversify to describe more accurately what each “branch” within data science entails. This diversification will enable better recruitment processes and hiring accuracy because companies will be able to narrow skills down to a specific position and recruit for that particular set of skills in a streamlined way.
Prediction #2: Learning on the job
Executive recruitment company, Burtch Works predicts that the data scientists of the future will be at the forefront of the world’s technological progression. Big data in a sense, is the key to decoding human behaviour, and the more we understand about ourselves and the world around us, the “smarter” the world will become in terms of the innovations that humans can catalyse. For this reason, the data scientists of the future will need to be ongoing learners. Data science is not a two-step, learn-and-apply process. It’s a learn-apply-repeat process, and the most influential scientists in the industry will need to ensure that their skills and knowledge remain up to date and marketable in today’s evolving society.
Prediction #3: Greater focus on ethics
As Artificial Intelligence Luminary: Andy Veluswami explains: “Teaching a machine how to do mathematics, we’ve done that. But teaching a machine good manners, we haven’t done that yet. Once we start getting there, and we already are, we’re going to start making a lot more progress.”
Ethics is going to play a major role in the future of data science. Issues around privacy, free will, and freedom of movement and speech continue to spark debate in the field. The world is just discovering the impact that big data is having on everyday life and realising its potential for the future. The truth is, it can bring about a lot of good but it can also have the opposite effect – Who makes the rules, who regulates them, what role will data scientists play in predicting the human behaviour of the future? These are the questions we will be looking to answer.
There’s no doubt about it – this is an exciting time to be alive. Data science itself is an evolving field, driven by insights and research. We are still discovering its potential. It’s become so much more than crunching numbers – today scientists are using data to solve problems in a way that is powerfully impactful.
Interested in becoming a data scientist? Our Data Science Bootcamp is a great place to start. In 3 – 6 months you could learn the skills you’ll need to earn up to R100 000 per month (or over $10 000 per month in the US). Now we’re talking.