Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Technology Tuesday, Data Edition

I'm the only female data specialist in my department. I thought it was a statistical fluke--our group is small.

But, perhaps, it is a symptom of a bigger problem.

Did you read the Atlantic Monthly's article in which all the data scientists in the photos are men?

The analysis of data is too important to leave to only a thin and homogenous slice of our population. Actually, any job is too important to be left to a homogenous group.

Why?  Because people with different experiences and perspectives can see things that others might miss.  The contributions of a diverse team, testing the data in different ways, without the same assumptions, gives me more confidence in the results.

I read this last night to learn how other women got into data*.  All 15 of them come from the business intelligence or advertising realm.  Their advice range from mindless rah-rah (cheerleading) to the genuinely helpful.  It's short; it's free.

Download your own free copy of Women in Data here.

I work with many female graduate students, post-docs and assistant professors from around the world.  If you need data and data consulting for weather and climate research (that includes journalism and industry), we have a small but very able staff of data experts to help you.  Best of all, our services** are paid for through tax dollars via the NSF (National Science Foundation).

You may not need to pay expensive data scientists to answer your questions.  If you are willing to roll up your sleeves, you can learn to do it yourself.  No super-computer required on your end.

* I explained how I became interested in modeling and data analysis in the introductory chapter of my PhD thesis.  Although I wrote that half a lifetime ago, it still applies.

** There are exceptions for users who need very specialized data products tailored exclusively for them or data rescue services.

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