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Spring Journal

Volume 32, Issue 1

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Monday, 11 February 2019 15:31

Who Are You, Citizen Data Scientist?

Ugh. Everyone is talking about the citizen data scientist, but no one can define it (perhaps they know one when they see one). Here goes — the simplest definition of a citizen data scientist is: non-data scientist. That’s not a pejorative; it just means that citizen data scientists nobly desire to do data science but are not formally schooled in all the ins and outs of the data science life cycle. For example, a citizen data scientist may be quite savvy about what enterprise data is likely to be important to create a model but may not know the difference between GBM, random forester, and SVM. Those algorithms are data scientist geek-speak to many of them. The citizen data scientist’s job is not data science; rather, they use it as a tool to get their job done. Here is my definition of the enterprise citizen data scientist:

A businessperson who aspires to use data science techniques such as machine learning to discover new insights and create predictive models to improve business outcomes.