What the industry needs is a new type of person: the data scientist. According to Pat Gelsinger, president and chief operating officer of EMC Corp., the giant U.S. data company, this isn't an unprecedented problem. "IBM started a generation of Cobol programmers," he said, referring to one of the first dominant programming languages. "Thirty years ago we didn't have computer-science departments; now every quality school on the planet has a CS department. Now nobody has a data-science department; in 30 years every school on the planet will have one."NC State is already staking out a leadership position in big data. The MS in Analytics has been a huge success. The Center for Innovation Management Studies in the Poole College of Management is doing big data research in conjunction with NC State's computer science department. Stay tuned.
Hilary Mason, chief scientist for the URL shortening service bit.ly, says a data scientist must have three key skills. "They can take a data set and model it mathematically and understand the math required to build those models; they can actually do that, which means they have the engineering skills…and finally they are someone who can find insights and tell stories from their data. That means asking the right questions, and that is usually the hardest piece."
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