The Technical and Organizational Challenges of Data Science
In October 2012 – shortly after I began my career in the data science space – the Harvard Business Review published the article “Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century” and generated an enormous amount of buzz about the field. Since then, data science has matured: technical skill sets required to do the work are better defined and specializations are emerging. However, the field is still evolving and how data science is used by an organization can vary greatly. In such a dynamic and broadly defined field, it has been my experience that data scientists need to have a wide range of technical skills augmented by soft skills in order to be successful. In this talk, I will share my experience working as a predictive modeler, data scientist, and software developer across various industries (insurance, energy, and within 3M), as well as provide examples of challenges I’ve encountered as a data scientist. I will also discuss my work on a Digital Solutions Implementation for 3M’s Knoxville plant, a project where we are exploring how data science to understand and reduce product variability for Acrylic Foam Tape.
Catherine (Katy) Micek is a Data Scientist at 3M in St. Paul, Minnesota. She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Minnesota. In her Ph.D. thesis, Katy developed mathematical models for polymer gel swelling with applications to artificial bone implants and drug-delivery devices. Katy has worked in both academic and industrial positions since earning her degree. In addition to teaching college mathematics, she has worked on crossfunctional business teams as a data scientist, software developer, and predictive modeler teams across diverse industries (insurance, energy, finance, supply chain, and manufacturing). Katy is also an active speaker and mentor. She is frequently invited to college, universities, and conferences to discuss her technical work and career experiences in data science, and she is a contributor to publications by the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics on industrial career options. In her free time, Katy enjoys spending time with friends and family, as well as ballroom dancing, rock climbing, and cooking.