If You Want to be Effective, You Need to Approach Data Science with a Business Mindset

Posted on Tue 23 April 2019 in News

There's a great article by Dominik Haitz making its way around the data science world this past week.

The entire article is worth reading, but I'll highlight some of my favorite points.

In the article, Dominik talks about the importance of developing a business mindset to succeed in data science.

A business mindset is critical. Remember, at the end of the day, the point of your work is to create some kind of concrete value for your organization. You can, and should, prioritize learning and working on fun and interesting projects, but above all else, you need to create value.

Dominik argues:

Prioritizing your work and knowing when to stop is the key to efficiency. Think of diminishing returns: Is it worth spending weeks to tweak a model for another 0.2% of precision? Quite often, good enough is the real perfect.

As I've discussed before, prioritization is extremely important in this fast-moving field, and it's impossible for you to know everything.

I believe in applying the pareto principal to your learning: focus on mastering the 20% of concepts that will drive 80% of results, and only optimize further as necessary.

It's not that further optimization isn't valuable, but that your resources as a person are limited, and it's always better to produce something good but imperfect than it is to never produce something that would be perfect.

Dominik also talks about the importance of communicating your results, something I think many data scientists struggle with.

As difficult as it is to hear this, your analysis is meaningless if you can't convince key stakeholders in your company to take action based on what you find!

You need to be able to communicate your results effectively, both throughout your organization and externally. Communicating effectively means trying to see the world through the eyes of those you are communicating to. You can, and should, discuss your analysis differently when speaking with a teammate, an executive, and a client.

This was a great article, and I agree with a lot of what Dominik is saying. Check out the article for more!