I have recently published a piece on what it means and what it takes to be a data scientist. I want to add a further consideration, which lies at the intersection of science and psychology.
I. Data Scientists’ Characteristics
There is no scientist exactly alike another, and this is true for data scientists as well. Even if data science seems to mainly be a field run by American white male with a PhD (what I inferred from King and Magoulas, 2015), this is not conclusive at all on the ideal candidate to hire. The suggestion is to value the skills and capabilities more than titles or formal education (there are not many academic programs so well-structured to signal the right set of competencies to potential employers).
So far, in order to become a data scientist, the paths to be followed could have been unconventional and various, so it is important to assess the abilities instead of simply deciding based on the type of background or degree level. Never forget that one of the real extra-value added by data science is different field contaminations and cross-sectional applications.
But there is also another relevant aspect to take into account in choosing the right candidate for your team, and that is Psychology.
II. How …
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