Interview with a Data Scientist
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Interview with a Data Scientist

My name is Jessica Kirkpatrick and
I am a data scientist at Hired. I also write for several women in science blogs and
I’m a mentor with Chick Tech. I chose to become a data analyst
because after I finished my PhD in the astrophysics I was trying to think
of ways that i could apply my technical skills and my data skills. But in a way that was a bit more
down to earth than astrophysics. So i see my role as a data scientist or
a data analyst is to basically help other people
in the company make decisions and prioritize their work by using
the data that we collect. So that could mean helping someone on
our marketing team figure out if one of their campaigns is working. That could mean helping a product
manager decide whether or not they should ship a product change. So I remember when I first started
trying to learn how to code, it was really overwhelming. And what I spent a lot of time doing
was looking at existing code that was out there on the internet or
examples of analyses and using those as a basis for
me to try to expand on. So there’s a lot of really
great examples online. I’m kind of constantly searching on
google for how to do various things. And stack overflow has a lot
of really awesome examples of algorithms in particular that you use
and data analytics and data science. So for me it’s a lot about using
worked examples to help me work on whatever project I’m working on and
building on those. First and foremost, it’s important to
learn basic math and statistics skills, because you’re going to be using those
a lot in whatever analysis you’re doing. Then in terms of technical languages,
it’s very important to know SQL, because most data sets are going
to need to pull using SQL or some SQL-like language,
like Hadoop or MapReduce. Then I would recommend learning
some sort of statistical package that will help you do further analysis
and further modeling of your data. You can use R,
that’s one package that’s popular. I like to use Python,
that’s another package that’s popular. But just anything where you can
take your raw data and then do more advanced statistics and modeling
and numerical analysis on the data. What excites me about being
a data analyst is getting to be able to solve different
puzzles every day. Every day is different, every day I am
working on a new area of the business. And I’m helping people do their jobs
more effectively by using data. It’s really fun,
it’s always changing and it uses tons of different parts of
my brain in problem solving skills.

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