Data Science Venn Diagram





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Created date

August 3, 2016

Critical Commentary

This Venn Diagram was drawn up during a breakout session on Teaching Data Science at a half-day unconference in preparation for O'Reilly's Strata Conference. Drew Conway notes that the discussion questioned where a data science course would fit into a university. The diagram here was drawn to represent the interdisciplinary skill sets that Conway believes should be cultivated in a data scientist. Note how he describes the "Danger Zone!": "Finally, a word on the hacking skills plus substantive expertise danger zone. This is where I place people who, "know enough to be dangerous," and is the most problematic area of the diagram. In this area people who are perfectly capable of extracting and structuring data, likely related to a field they know quite a bit about, and probably even know enough R to run a linear regression and report the coefficients; but they lack any understanding of what those coefficients mean. It is from this part of the diagram that the phrase "lies, damned lies, and statistics" emanates, because either through ignorance or malice this overlap of skills gives people the ability to create what appears to be a legitimate analysis without any understanding of how they got there or what they have created. Fortunately, it requires near willful ignorance to acquire hacking skills and substantive expertise without also learning some math and statistics along the way. As such, the danger zone is sparsely populated, however, it does not take many to produce a lot of damage." See: for data science boundary work

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