R you ready to learn about Data Science?

At Chic Geek, we’re all about connecting and exploring ideas in technology. Today, let’s explore decoding what it means to be a programmer to understand what Data Science actually is. Using our Chic Geek values to discuss the unfamiliar, we’ll discover some common languages for Data Scientists, and see how we — the Chic Geek Community — can make a difference in this ever changing and growing industry.

Chic Geek Values
At Chic Geek we want to see more women as makers, building, creators, leveraging technology to change the world. To accomplish this, Chic Geek created their three key values for the community.

Be Brave — Step outside your comfort zone!
Stay Curious — Explore, ask questions, inquisitive!
Support Others — We embrace all sorts of geeks!

These three values empower not just us, but the entire community to challenge themselves in learning Data Science.

Sexy?….Data Science?

Data Science is a relatively new profession, emerging as the need to analyze big data and generate insights grows exponentially. Long practiced by statisticians, forensic investigators and computer scientists, the task of analyzing data is certainly not new. However, the combination of this matured practice with the new idea of statistical computing and big data has created the newly ‘sexy’ profession of Data Science (and no, it’s not Brent Spiner as Data…but that would add a certain sex appeal, no?).

Data Science focuses on the follow components:

Just like the Chic Geek community is challenging the idea of what it means to be a geek, Data Science has made it possible to have sexy and science in the same sentence.

The Fun Stuff

Now that we have a better understanding of what a Data Scientist is, how can we become one? First, we must understand one, if not both of the two common programming languages that Data Scientists use. These are R and Python.

R

R is both a programming language and environment which uses data mining and data graphics. This can be your one stop shop for all things data science. R is a free software, it is easy to use because of the well designed and numerous libraries designed to create high quality plots and graphs. R has an extensive knowledge sharing community, with opportunities to learn the language for free or at a small cost. Tie in to our values? Why staying curious (learning a language) and supporting others (knowledge community), of course!

Python

Python is a general purpose programming language. Considered to be easy to learn and use, Python is commonly used in data science. It creates simplicity within the data science arena and Python’s code is considered to be very readable. For in-depth insight on both these languages, DataCamp created a fantastic infographic comparing the two.

There are many ways to learn both R and Python, and how they are used in the data science process. DataCamp is a great online resource and so is Codecademy because of its interactive abilities. There are a number of great blogs from all around the world, such as THEANALYTICSLAB, that teach about the art of data science. If you are looking for additional free data sources to analyze and / or dates for future online competitions (yes — there are competitions for data scientists!), you must check KDNuggets, created by one of the data science pioneers, Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro.

Final Thoughts

Now that we have practiced, being brave, staying curious and learned the basics of data science, let’s put our skills to work. A great way to support others is to transfer your knowledge, show-off your new skills to a friend, and offer to help them get started.

Bring your new found interest in data science to the June MeetnTech event on, Big Data: understanding, empathy, and making an impact. Learn how you can use data to impact your community and at the same time, support other Chic Geeks.