Big data scientists need to have statistical, mathematical, predictive modelling as well as business strategy skills to build the algorithms necessary to ask the right questions and find the right answers. They also need to be able to communicate their findings, orally and visually. They need to understand how the products are developed and even more important, as big data touches the privacy of consumers, they need to have a set of ethical responsibilities.
Apart from the skills that big data scientists can learn in university, they also need to have a special set of personality traits. They need to be very curious people, who enjoy diving deep into the material to find an answer to a yet unknown question. They need to have a natural desire to go beneath the surface of a problem. They need to be thinkers who can ask the right (business) questions. They need to be confident and self-secure as they more often then not will have to deal with situations where there is a lot unknown. They need to be patient as finding the unknown in massive data sets will take a lot of time and developing the algorithm to uncover new insights will often go by trial-and-error. They need to be able to see examples in totally different industries and be able to plot that on their current problem.
A big data scientist understands how to integrate multiple systems and data sets. They need to be able to link and mash up distinctive data sets to discover new insights. This often requires connecting different types of data sets in different forms as well as being able to work with potentially incomplete data sources and cleaning data sets to be able to use them.
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