Thursday, March 7, 2019

Deep Analytical Thinking and Data Science Wizardry

Many times, complex models are not enough (or too heavy), or not necessary, to get great, robust, sustainable insights out of data. Deep analytical thinking may prove more useful, and can be done by people not necessarily trained in data science, even by people with limited coding experience. Here we explore what we mean by deep analytical thinking, using a case study, and how it works: combining craftsmanship, business acumen, the use and creation of tricks and rules of thumb, to provide sound answers to business problems. These skills are usually acquired by experience more than by training, and data science generalists (see here how to become one) usually possess them.
This article is targeted to data science managers and decision makers, as well as to junior professionals who want to become one at some point in their career. Deep thinking, unlike deep learning, is also more difficult to automate, so it provides better job security. Those automating deep learning are actually the new data science wizards, who can think out-of-the box. Much of what is described in this article is also data science wizardry, and not taught in standard textbooks nor in the classroom. By reading this tutorial, you will learn and be able to use these data science secrets, and possibly change your perspective on data science. Data science is like an iceberg: everyone knows and can see the tip of the iceberg (regression models, neural nets, cross-validation, clustering, Python, and so on, as presented in textbooks.) Here I focus on the unseen bottom, using a statistical level almost accessible to the layman, avoiding jargon and complicated math formulas, yet discussing a few advanced concepts.  
1. Case Study: The Problem
2. Deep Analytical Thinking
  • Answering hidden questions
  • Business questions
  • Data questions
  • Metrics questions
3. Data Science Wizardry
  • Generic algorithm
  • Illustration with three different models
  • Results
4. A few data science hacks

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