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Data Scientists: IT’s New Rock Stars

Network World (01/03/14) Colin Neagle

Data scientists are emerging as some of the most sought-after professionals in today’s technology job market.  Technology and media firms are particularly interested in hiring data scientists, and the field is garnering increasing media attention.  Industry observers advise students planning to enter the IT field to pursue data science.  The Harvard Business Review in October 2012 labeled data scientist as “the sexiest job of the 21st century.”  In addition, data science was spotlighted in a recent American Journalism Review profile of Buzzfeed data science director Ky Harlin, who is responsible for the company’s viral content insights and developed his own algorithms to determine when and why specific pieces of Web content go viral.  Harlin learned his skills at a medical-imaging company, and was recruited by Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti.  He notes that both the medical-imaging and content-publishing fields look for patterns in vast data sets.  “This is where you add real business value,” Peretti says, “where an IT person is not just running machines anymore, but fundamentally taking good information and helping the business make true business decisions so that they can adjust the business in real time based on this information.”

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