What Type of Data Scientist Are You?

Here at Ettrics, we are immersing ourselves in the world of data science. We are a team of individuals with a skill set that is deeply rooted within this fascinating world and we will continue to integrate new skills as time goes on. Why? Because we believe that data science will be at the forefront of technological change in the future. The more data that emerges into the universe, the deeper the discipline will become. With the emergence of accessible big data along with smarter technology to handle this data, it is becoming increasingly clear that companies must understand what data science is and how they can integrate it within their everyday operations.

What is Data Science?

It may surprise you but, the key word in data science is not data, but science. Data scientists study the structure and behaviour of data through observation and experiment. The most important thing in data science is the question. The second most important thing is the data (the data should follow the question). It was first introduced as an independent discipline in 2001 and has since seen its characteristics become more clearly defined. This has lead to a more intimate and engaging discussion within the professional communities of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Essentially, data science is about turning data into actions.

Data science is split into three main areas

You do not need to be an expert in all three. Excelling in one area and having basic knowledge in the others is common among data scientists.

If we dig deeper, we see how each area interacts with one another

Types of Data Scientists

At first glance, you may not see how you fit into data science, but keep in mind that each category and sub-category require different skill sets. There was a great survey conducted by O’Reilly Media, Inc. (released in 2013) titled Analyzing the Analyzer — An Introspective Survey of Data Scientists And Their Work which outlined four types (clusters) of data scientists along with different professional categories associated to each.

This helps companies or individuals initially self identify with the data science discipline. You may identify with one, two, or all four. It doesn’t matter. The main purpose is to give you a high level view of how you relate to the discipline.

For example, if you have your own company of developers, why not call yourself a Data Business Developer, or a Data Business Creative if you are an artist that runs a creative digital agency with a wide range of skill sets? These would all be true.


There are a wide range of skills that data scientists may use in their work. To help you better understand how your unique skills align with the field of data science, O’Reilly Media Inc. in their previously mentioned survey, developed 22 generic skills and categorized them into 5 main areas of expertise.

Take Ettrics for example, below are some of the key skills and services that we provide to our clients in relation to data science.

Big Data

  • Unstructured Data (ex: noSQL, text mining)
  • Structured Data (ex: SQL, JSON)
  • Big and Distributed Data (ex: Hadoop)


  • Systems Administration (ex: cloud tech.)
  • Back-End Programming (ex: Node.js, API)
  • Front-End Programming (ex: JavaScript, HTML, CSS)


  • Visualization (ex: statistical graphics, web-based data visualization)
  • Data Manipulation (ex: R, web scraping)
  • Science (ex: experimental design (A/B testing), technical writing/publishing)


  • Product Development (ex: design, project management, agile)

Math / Organizational Research

  • Algorithm (ex: computational complexity, CS theory)

Why Data Science?

To help give you a better sense of the business value that data science can bring to your company, Booze Allen Hamilton provided some interesting numbers in their latest edition of the Field Guide To Data Science.

This is only the beginning for Ettrics and the data science community at large. We are dedicated to continuing to optimize our skill set and services so that we can continue to harness the power of data science and help our clients make smarter business decisions.

What about you? How do your skills align with data science? There is a great survey available online that allows you to rank your skills and provides you with a quick and easy snapshot of the kind of data scientist you are.

Go ahead and have fun with it. It is a very exciting time to be involved in data science!

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