By Guy Harrison
The rise of "big data" solutions - often involving the increasingly common Hadoop platform - together with the growing use of sophisticated analytics to drive business value - such as collective intelligence and predictive analytics - has led to a new category of IT professional: the data scientist.
At its simplest level the data scientist merges the disciplines of data processing - such as programming and database management - with data analysis techniques that previously were the province of business analysts and statisticians. The value of data can only be unlocked by someone who has the ability not just to retrieve and process the data, but also to derive meaning and significance from it. And this analysis is becoming increasingly mission critical as enterprises strive to improve their competitiveness by leveraging their unique information assets.
Data science concepts are also showing promise as new paradigms for formal scientific research, where the role of data analysis is becoming an increasingly essential ingredient as the volumes and complexities of scientific data sets increase.