And yet another article that perfectly crystallizes why data “science” is not science and it’s practitioner’s are not scientists. With the exception of communication (which ironically enough is considered a weakness) not a single skill listed has anything to do with the learning or practice of actual science. In the case of actual science the resources recommended to invest in one’s communication skills could be helpful in a general way. However, there are very specific methodologies and practices for communicating scientific ideas (e.g. the results of testing/experiments or research) and these resources would be of almost zero help with that. Since data “science” is not science it makes sense that these sorts of generic communication resources would be proscribed.

The in demand skills listed are all specific languages, libraries, and/or technology tools. At base they are all essentially tools. Tools used for data analysis. Nothing wrong with that, but mastery or use of tools for the analysis of data is not science or even a science. What about the skills/knowledge actual practicing scientists need such as: principles of experimental design (DOE) — design of experiments, hypothesis generation and testing (statistical hypothesis testing is not science btw either. This is why there are no statistical scientists and statisticians do not call themselves scientists), repeatability/reproducibility of results and the principle of falsifiability, recording of experimental work in a format understandable by other scientists practicing in the field, the information that needs to be kept in a laboratory notebook (Of course I recognize that most data scientists and many actual scientists do not work in labs. However, the principles of lab notebook keeping guide scientists and ensure that their work is understandable by others and reproducible among many other things), publication of work in journals read by others in the field, etc.? These are apparently not in demand, and they would not be since data science is not science it does not need these skills or use them.

As I have said numerous times, this is no value judgement and I do not suggest data “science” is somehow less valuable or worthy as a pursuit and occupation than science. I simply state a matter of fact. It does do a disservice though to all practicing actual scientists when persons who are not scientists claim that title for themselves. It dilutes and weakens the community of scientists and confuses the lay public even more as to what it means to be a scientist and practice science. This bothers me greatly and is why I continue to hammer on this point.

See this infographic I created (with the help of a data “scientist”) for more on this

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