Beginning Data Science in R_ Data Analysis
Oh boy! That is a difficult question. I don’t know if it is easy to find someone who is entirely sure what data science is, but I am pretty sure that it would be difficult to find two people with fewer than three opinions about it. It is certainly a popular buzzword, and everyone wants to have data scientists these days, so data science skills are useful to have on the CV. But what is it? Since I can’t really give you an agreed-upon definition, I will just give you my own: Data science is the science of learning from data. This is a very broad definition—almost too broad to be useful.
I realize this. But then, I think data science is an incredibly general field. I don’t have a problem with that. Of course, you could argue that any science is all about getting information out of data, and you might be right. Although I would say that there is more to science than just transforming raw data into useful information. The sciences are focusing on answering specific questions about the world while data science is focusing on how to manipulate data efficiently and effectively.
The primary focus is not which questions to ask of the data but how we can answer them, whatever they may be. It is more like computer science and mathematics than it is like natural sciences, in this way. It isn’t so much about studying the natural world as it is about how to compute data efficiently