I came across a quote yesterday in Cathy O’Neil and Rachel Schutt’s Doing Data Science that really resonates:
The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads… That sucks.
One surprise about data science is that most data science jobs exist within the marketing departments of large corporations. Marketing departments have “big data” on their potential customers, a clear business case for hiring smart people to mine those insights, and budgets with which to pay those smart people. But I can’t help but agree with Mr. Hammerbacher.
I’m grateful to my Heinz College public policy peers for their constant reminder of the broader, more interesting world in which data science has just as much to offer. Data and funding are greater challenges in this broader world than in the corporate world, but so too is the potential for impact.