June 7th, 2013

Data Science is NOT Rocket Science

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Finding myself at 0x is a lot less like starting fresh in a new profession and more like choosing cultural expatriation – it is a whole new (beautiful) world. On my first day everyone spoke what I was relatively sure should be English, but it felt like they were actually speaking in their own dialect (which I’ve come to think of as Hexperanto).
While the language barrier and nerd-up culture is intimidating, it’s not impossible. In fact, the infinite possibility comes across in a philosophy that Sri is fond of paraphrasing as “data science is not rocket science.” 
It’s not impossible, but it is a science. Just like physics, data science is how we derive functions that describe the world around us. Not everyone is going to question the world around them – but if they do, the challenge should lie in finding the answer, not being intimidated by asking the questions.
So that’s my job here for now – to help ask questions. Because data science is not rocket science; this isn’t impossible. It’s aspirational. For me that means being able to talk about an approach to the world in language that makes intuitive sense to the curious, whether they’re rocket scientists, data scientists, social scientists, or just cultural expats (like me).  It’s my goal to be rigorous, but not exclusionary. There is a good chance that from time to time I miss the mark (or get things wrong). When that happens, I would like to do better, so send me your questions to Irene [at] 0xdata.com

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