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Data Scientists: Who are they? What do they do? How do they work?

About a decade ago, professionals specialized in the management of large volumes of information started to join the ranks of companies. While data analysis specialists had already existed, they were minor players in the business, both concerning the scope of their investigations and in the transmission of their contributions throughout overall operations.

This study analyzes the evolution the role of the Data Scientist has undergone these past few years, gaining more and more weight in organizations that see the value data analysis can contribute: where they come from, their skills and background, what tools and work processes they use, or how their work gets evaluated.

Over the past few years, the Data Scientist’s professional responsibilities have come to the forefront. Beyond just dissecting information or making recommendations when it’s time to make strategic decisions, the Data Scientist has assumed responsibility for helping improve the company’s performance.

Today, the Data Scientist’s mission can encompass the following tasks: identifying the data’s origins, preparing them for analysis, performing the analysis, visually summarizing the results, and then relaying their findings. To do so, the Data Scientist must have a set of technical and soft skills. And the Data Scientist’s work culminates with bringing light to new business opportunities that arise from the exhaustive examination of the data.

The base of our research was a series of interviews with academics and professionals in the world of Data Science.

  • Alejandro Rodríguez, Associate Professor at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
  • Álvaro Barbero, Chief Data Scientist at the Instituto de Ingeniería del Conocimiento (IIC).
  • Bosco Aranguren, Chief Marketing Officer, Microsoft Iberia.
  • Esteban Moro, Associate Professor at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
  • Felipe Ortega, Assistant Professor at ETSIT.
  • Fuencisla Clemares, Country Manager Spain & Portugal, Google.
  • Manuel Marín, Data Analytics Manager, PwC.
  • Marcelo Soria, Partner, Tramontana.co.
  • Pep Porrà, Business Performance Director, King.com.
  • Richard Benjamins, Director of External Positioning & Big Data, LUCA: Data-Driven Decisions.

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