Forbes to Tunkelang: What is a Data Scientist?

Dan Woods of Forbes is continuing to interview people in the field of data science to gain their understanding of this new discipline.

This post has his interview with Daniel Tunkelang, a principal data scientist at LinkedIn.  Prior to joining LinkedIn, Tunkelang led a local search quality team at Google, and was co-founder and Chief Scientist at Endeca, which was recently purchased by Oracle for $1.075 billion.

Here’s Daniel’s response to Woods on what he thinks a data scientist is:

I’m a big fan of Hilary Mason, chief scientist at, so I’ll cite her definition: a data scientist is someone who can obtain, scrub, explore, model and interpret data, blending hacking, statistics and machine learning. Data scientists not only are adept at working with data, but appreciate data itself as a first-class product. At LinkedIn, products pioneered by data scientists, such as People You May Know, harness the power of data to create value for users.

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I currently serve as Vice President of Decision Science at CenturyLink. I've previously served as a leader in the Advanced Risk & Compliance Analytics (ARCA) practice at PwC and as Director of Data Science & Analytics Engineering at Areté Associates. I've served the public as Chair of the Thousand Oaks, CA Planning Commission. I have been married to my wife Stephanie since 1993, and we have a wonderful daughter Monroe. Learn more about me »

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