jobs

Is data science still among the sexiest jobs of the 21st century?

It was in a 2012 Harvard Business Review article that data scientist was declared “the sexiest job of the 21st century”. Is it still true six years later?

I’ll spare you the torment and give you the answer, which (naturally) appears at the end of the article:

The role of data scientists is and will remain a sexy profession for some time, partly due to its relative exclusivity, and the field of data science itself will no doubt remain an exciting space.

You may find the middle of the article a little more useful, as it lists qualities of good data scientists:

A good data scientist should be:

  • Adaptable: Data scientists must be willing to constantly upskill themselves to master advanced machine learning skills such as deep learning. While technical skills are fundamental for data scientists, it’s crucial for them to master communication skills too so they can easily interact with domain experts or business developers. Data scientists will need to develop a better understanding of the overarching business strategy and business challenges in real-world scenarios to create solutions for real problems.
  • Statistics at the heart: Data scientists must have quantitative capabilities to figure out multifaceted trends within a data set that may entail more than one million rows.
  • Detail-oriented: Data often have errors and discrepancies, and data scientists must identify and correct incomplete, incorrect or inaccurate data. It’s critical that data are clean, high-quality and unbiased to ensure the best output upon which to make business decisions.
  • Good programming skills: Programming skills, together with statistics, are critical. For statistical analysis to happen, data scientists need to know programming languages (such as Java, SQL, and Python) to break down the data set in more digestible formats.
  • Business knowledge: While it is important for data scientists to be technically capable, they must also be business savvy and understand the organisation’s business goals and objectives, so they can analyse the data to support business success.

The most in-demand skills for data scientists

Here are the two key graphs from the article:

From the end of the article:

Based on the results of these analyses, here are some general recommendations for current and aspiring data scientists concerned with making themselves widely marketable.

  • Demonstrate you can do data analysis and focus on becoming really skilled at machine learning.
  • Invest in your communication skills. I recommend reading the book Made to Stick to help your ideas have more impact. Also check out the Hemmingway Editor app to improve the clarity of your writing.
  • Master a deep learning framework. Being proficient with a deep learning framework is a larger and larger part of being proficient with machine learning. For a comparison of deep learning frameworks in terms of usage, interest, and popularity see my article here.
  • If you are choosing between learning Python and R, choose Python. If you have Python down cold, consider learning R. You’ll definitely be more marketable if you also know R.

Four Ways the Data Scientist Has Evolved in the 21st Century

These four ways are:

1. Data science is more applied than ever. What can be built and fit over a real-life scenario has the dreadful requirement of mattering. Modeling for modeling sake is no longer a thing, and best-fit diagnostics are less important than best-fit for the situation. If a model goes unused, it serves no purpose. We can no longer tolerate or afford the luxury of building models purely for R&D purposes without consideration of utilization.

2. The skill of computer use seems to have taken over the knowledge of applied statistics. Understanding the interior workings of the black box has become less important, unless you are the creator of the black box. Fewer data scientists with truly deep knowledge of statistical methods are kept in the lab creating the black boxes that hopefully get integrated within tools. This is somewhat frustrating for long time data professionals with rigorous statistical background and understanding, but this path may be necessary to truly scale modeling efforts with the volume of data, business questions, and complexities we now must answer.

3. Data scientists are not weird anymore. We’re seen as strategic inputs to the decision-making process, and our craft is becoming much more understood. This trend is evidenced by C-level positions at large companies, vertical alignment and paths for data scientists, and inclusion at the highest levels, as well as the many academic programs and emphasis now available globally. This appreciation and positioning can sometimes make the field appealing for what seasoned data scientists might call the “wrong reasons” such as corporate fame and value. I would argue that we really want professionals in the field with a thirst for the truth – the science should be about empirically answering questions, and powered by truth-seekers at their heart.

4. Data Science is becoming more widely recognized as both art and science. Understanding the importance of the human – machine integration and complementary decision-making skills from each appears to have made its way more squarely into our field of understanding.

Statistical Significance, the Null Hypothesis and P-Values Defined & Explained in One Minute

And finally, some material that’s more than just hand-waving: a quick explanation of what the null hypothesis and p-values are, all done in a minute, courtesy of One Minute Economics:

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Ruby Job Fair in Toronto Tonight!

by Joey deVilla on February 10, 2012

Ruby Job Fair Poster

Don’t forget: the Ruby Job Fair takes place tonight at Unspace headquarters (342 Queen Street West; it’s the door just to the right of Lululemon)! If you’re looking for work that involves Ruby programming or if you’re an employer looking for Ruby developers, you’ll want to be at this event, which is more cocktail social than career fair. Yes, there will be a bar.

The event takes place from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.. DO NOT show up early! They’ll either be wrapping up the day’s work (remember, Unspace is a development shop) or prepping for the event. If you plan to show up fashionably late, please note that the employers are doing their three-minute “soapbox” spiels starting at 6:30.

There’s a small registration fee to help cover the costs of holding this event: it’s $5 for people looking for a job; $15 for employers looking for Ruby developers. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck at this event. Click here to register for the event, and do it before the tickets run out!

Shopify logo

If you’re looking for Ruby work at one of the most successful startups around, you might want to consider Shopify. I’ll be there tonight as Shopify’s representative – find me (I’ll be the guy with the accordion) and we’ll talk.

If you’re looking to find out more about Ruby Job Fair, check out the Ruby Job Fair site as well as my earlier article on the Fair.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.

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Twitter’s So-Bad-It’s-Good Recruiting Video

by Joey deVilla on January 31, 2012

At Twitter, The Future is You! is a funny recruiting video. It reminds me of Microsoft’s internal training videos.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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ClearFit’s Looking for a Rails Developer

by Joey deVilla on November 8, 2011

Clearfit [hearts] Rails, GitHub and Amazon Web Services

My friend Robert Nishimura’s looking for a Rails developer for his company, ClearFit, which is based in uptown Toronto. He sent me some details about the position he’s trying to fill; I’ve posted them below.

If you’ve got the skills and if the position sounds interesting to you, you should drop him a line at robert@clearfit.com!

Company Information

ClearFit is changing the way small businesses hire. Most people know that ‘fit’ is the most desirable attribute for employees and employers — that intangible sense that can’t be found in a resume and is difficult to glean from a job interview. It’s a huge problem — employers spend billions every year on staffing in Canada alone.

Most small business owners don’t know where to even start when hiring a new employee. Ask around for referrals, “pay and pray” with a job board or deal with an avalanche of resumes from Craigslist? 

We have built the system that some describe as “an eHarmony for jobs”. We have over 2500 registered employers and tens of thousands of registered career seekers which barely scratches the surface of a multi-billion dollar market. All this and we just completed our first round of investment so we are poised for stellar growth.

We are located in the Yonge/Eglinton neighbourhood, strategically situated between 3 Starbucks and 3 minutes from Bulldog Coffee. We’re also upstairs from Copacabana Brazilian BBQ.

Skills & Requirements

Skills:

  • Minimum 2 years experience coding in Ruby on Rails
  • Minimum 2 years experience with HTML/CSS
  • Experience with Javascript (Prototype, JQuery)
  • Experience with Postgres SQL
  • Experience with Ubuntu/Nginx
  • Experience with GitHub

Bonus points:

  • Experience with Amazon EC2
  • Experience integrating with other web apps
  • Photoshop and front-end web development skillz
  • iOS development experience

What ClearFit Offers

  • Salary between $80K and $100K based on experience
  • Snacks and drinks in our kitchen
  • Wicked awesome coffee from our new Nespresso machine
  • 15 days paid vacation per year
  • Full group benefit plan which includes vision, dental

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, contact Robert Nishimura directly at robert@clearfit.com

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Airplane wing

Some of the Shopifolks are travelling this weekend to some interesting events.

rspec::table, a.k.a. The Ruby Job Fair (Friday, May 20th)

Rspectable employment

If you’re in the Toronto area and looking for a job, you might want to drop by rspec::table employment, otherwise known as the Ruby Job Fair. Our friends at Unspace are holding this event, where Rubyists seeking employment can meet with potential employers.

It’s the third such event put together by Unspace, and it’s specifically aimed at those programmers who’ve eschewed more mainstream programming languages and frameworks for the Ruby, Rails and other Ruby-related goodies because, let’s face it, they’re fun. And hey, we believe that if you’re going to spend your working life — half your waking existence — doing something, it had better be fun, don’t you think?

Have you considered developing for Shopify? Think of it: we’re growing start-up that’s actually profitable, and that was before we secured that Series A funding. We’re in the business of helping people sell stuff online, a field whose growth is strong and steady. We’ve got some killer coders in the shop; I feel like the dumbest guy in the room when I’m around them (I’m okay with that — it has its advantages). The perks of working here are great, from the people to the gear and welcome swag to the location — not some soul-draining industrial park, but in Ottawa’s ByWard Market: central, and the liveliest part of town.

If you’d like to get a job with us and in on some of this action, come on down to the Ruby Job Fair this Friday, May 20th at Unspace’s office (342 Queen Street West, Toronto, east of Spadina, above LuluLemon) from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and say hello to the Shopifolk who’ll be there: Brittany, Edward and Julie!

To find out more about the Ruby Job Fair and the after-party, visit the Ruby Job Fair site.

BarCamp Oregon (Friday, May 20th – Saturday, May 21st)

BarCamp Portland logo

Shopify is one of five startups that makes up the BarCamp Tour, a group helping sponsor BarCamps all over North America. Thus far, we’ve been to BarCamp Boston and MinneBar (a Minneapolis-based BarCamp serving all of the state of Minnesota). This weekend, we’ll be at the third BarCamp on the tour: Portland, Oregon, affectionately known to some as Portlandia:

BarCamp Portland is an unconference: a conference whose topics, sessions and schedules are determined by the attendees. On the start of the unconference day, people will propose session topics and set up a schedule, after which the unconferencing will begin. We’re expecting geeks of every sort to show up: not just the hackers, but artists, engineers, hobbyists, writers and poets, jokers and journalists, entrepreneurs, cooks and bakers, people who till the land or help neighbourhoods take shape, and anyone else who likes create.

Shopify, along with our partners on the BarCamp Tour — BatchBlueGrasshopperMailchimp and Wufoo — isn’t your typical event sponsor. Yes, we’re each throwing in money to help BarCamp organizers hold their events, but we’re also there at the conference, actively participating, joining in the discussions, providing food and drinks, and even helping carry stuff or clean up. We’re also there to promote our companies, but not in a hard-sell way — we’re there to meet people who want to use our software and services, have questions and get to know the creative, inventive, ambitious people who attend BarCamps!

I’ll be there, helping out, facilitating sessions, answering questions about Shopify and playing accordion (of course). If you see me, please say hi!

To find out more about BarCamp Portland, visit the BarCamp Portland site.

If you’re interested in finding out more about BarCamps, watch this video, taken at one of the first BarCamps in San Francisco:

This article also appears in the Shopify Blog.

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Help Wanted: News Editor at GigaOm (San Francisco)

by Joey deVilla on April 18, 2011

gigaomMathew Ingram’s been putting the word out that GigaOm – the technology blog started by Om Malik – is looking for a news editor. If you’ve got the knack for running a virtual newsroom and coordinating the activities of bloggers who are scattered all over the globe, this could be the job for you!

somaSOMA: Your work neighbourhood, should you get hired.

Here are the details, as they appear on their LinkedIn jobs page:

Job Description

SOMA/Financial District (San Francisco Bay Area)

GigaOm is looking to hire a News Editor to manage the edit flow for the team. This person will work on east coast time and will be the main assigning editor for hitting news stories. Working very closely with the Managing Editor, the NE needs to stay on top of everything happening in the (virtual) newsroom and focus everyone toward the same goals. It is a fast-paced, collaborative online newsroom, and the NE duties change every day but they include:

  • Manage the editorial team’s day to day work, including assignments based on current news, scheduling, editorial guidance, and final edit on stories before they go live;
  • Manage story budgets;
  • Maintain the balance of news and long feature pieces on the sites;
  • Work with editors to align and direct news and feature coverage across all channels, crossposting materials as much as possible;
  • Community management including tweeting and general interaction with the community, as well as approving comments on GOM;
  • Assign, review and edit guest columns for weekend and holiday content;
  • Coordinate event and breaking news coverage as the point;
  • Regularly review the online stats and work to shift focus to increase traffic;
  • Bring in and review new freelancers and story ideas.

This position is full-time with full health, dental & vision benefits, vacation and sick time, and a competitive salary. There is room in the SF office but someone working remotely on the East Coast could also successfully fill this position.

Everyone at GigaOM is busy doing their thing, so the hiring process for this position is being managed externally. Please submit your resume, cover letter and relevant clips or links to Emma Logan via LinkedIn or email emmalogan.hr (at) gmail (dot) com; direct applications to GigaOM may get lost in the shuffle.

Desired Skills & Experience

The ideal person will be/have:

  • Passionate about technology and the changing media landscape;
  • A head for news;
  • An engaged management style with experience handling a remote team environment;
  • Google Analytics or other stat evaluation software experience a must;
  • Hard-core organizational skills;
  • Relevant experience at a comparable online company;
  • Engaged, eager, optimistic, realistic, and flexible;
  • The ability to juggle, negotiate, charm, and let water roll off your back.

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Congrats, “Mudge”, on Landing the DARPA Gig!

by Joey deVilla on February 10, 2010

imageI met Peter “Mudge” Zatko at the Cult of the Dead Cow’s hotel bungalow at DefCon 8, the 2000 edition of the notorious hacker conference. My coworker at OpenCola, Oxblood Ruffin, was a member of the the “cDc” and introduced me and the other OpenColans to him and the other nicknames in the group: “Sir Dystic”, “Dildog”, “Deth Veggie”, “Night Stalker”, “Grandmaster Ratte” and many other black-clad, charmingly oddball characters far more interesting than the characters in the movie Hackers. I think I learned more about security in the hour-long group conversation with him than I’ve learned from countless corporate security training videos and training courses. Later at the conference, the cDc would hand out more copies of Back Orifice 2000, a tool that would cause much heartburn to many people at the company where I now work.

He’s now got a big gig: Program Manager at the Strategic Technologies Office at DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the R&D office for the Department of Defense. His area of focus? Security, naturally.

Mudge was responsible for the early research into buffer overflow attacks and published one of the first papers on the topic. In 1998, he and others from L0pht Heavy Industries (a.k.a. “The L0pht”, a hacker think tank) testified before a Senate committee, saying that they could take the internet down in 30 minutes. L0pht was acquired by the security company @stake in 1999, and in 2000, the company where I worked, OpenCola, hired them to do some security consulting. He’s met with President Clinton to talk about DOS attacks and worked at BBN as a division scientist.

I’m curious to see what Mudge can do with government gear and a big budget. In the cnet article, he talks about actively responding to threats. "I don’t want people to be putting out virus signatures after a virus has come out," he says. "I want an active defense. I want to be at the sharp pointy end of the stick."

Do not mess with his pointy end! Congrats, Mudge!

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