What is Data Science?
Data science is a term used to describe the process of acquiring, analysing and making predictions from large amounts of data.
Data can be collected from various sources including people, machines, the environment and outer space — all depending on the project. The methods used for collecting data can range from questionnaires filled in by people, to information gathered from the sensors of Internet-connected (think IoT) devices. Collecting and working with large data sets is referred to as “big data”.
Once data is collected, it is organised and analysed using statistics to make sense of the information. This might involve establishing the means, medians and modes through descriptive statistics, or recognising patterns and trends within the data though inferential statistics. This information can then be used to better understand the sample and to draw correlations and make predictions.
Following that, the information is often compiled and tailored for presentation to a particular audience. Data visualisation is a common method for presenting the data so that it is more relatable than mere numbers on a page or screen. Graphs, tables, charts or moving images can be used to make the data more appealing and interesting.
Data science has proven to be invaluable. Large data sets about genetic material can be analysed to help develop cures for certain cancers, for example. Alternately, a company’s finance team might utilise data science to predict financial outcomes given a certain scenario like a pandemic. Coupled with machine learning, data science can also be used to perform predictive analytics to enable a machine, like a self-driving car or autonomous robot, to learn about its environment and respond to changes accordingly. Further, data science has even been used to analyse and predict people’s behaviour based on their social media activity.
Since data is all around and within us, data science is considered to be a multi-billion-dollar industry. It is therefore no wonder that data scientists are in such high demand. Universities all over the world offer courses in data science to allow more people to be trained in this area. Data scientists are normally skilled at information collection, database utilisation, statistics, and programming in languages like Python or R.
In summary, data science is the process of making sense of large amounts of data using scientific method. Data science has proven to be invaluable by allowing people to make informed decisions in a wide variety of domains. As such, the vast amounts of data in the world means that data scientists are in increasingly high demand.