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Letting Data Scientists 'Thrive'

Over at the Business Bytes Genes Molecules blog, Deepak Singh talks about the role of biological data scientists and, more specifically, how "we need to change our idea of the role of bioinformaticians." Singh refers to a post at The Practical Quant, written by Ben Lorica, which outlines ways in which institutions can — and should, he says — "nurture" data scientists. Lorica says that:

Companies need to focus more on culture and organizational structure. Many data workers have enough skills and training to quickly become productive in multiple areas of data intelligence ... they're stuck in silos and limited to one or two areas of data intelligence. Often, they're restricted to use tools 'approved' by their managers. After working in companies both large and small, it's clear to me that the strict separation of tasks is the major obstacle faced by data scientists.

This is part of the reason why data scientists "thrive" at small start-ups, Lorica says. Larger organizations can foster a nurturing environment for data scientists by beginning with a small group of data science "evangelists," "embracing non-traditional data sources," allowing the team to use new tools and techniques, and "shield[ing] them from middle managers" — who can be quick to stifle data management innovation — he adds.