|| DATA SCIENCE ||
Data science continues to evolve as one of the most promising and in-demand career paths for skilled professionals. Today, successful data professionals understand that they must advance past the traditional skills of analyzing large amounts of data, data mining, and programming skills.
What Does a Data Scientist Do?
In the past decade, data scientists have become necessary assets and are present in almost all organizations. These professionals are well-rounded, data-driven individuals with high-level technical skills who are capable of building complex quantitative algorithms to organize and synthesize large amounts of information used to answer questions and drive strategy in their organization. This is coupled with the experience in communication and leadership needed to deliver tangible results to various stakeholders across an organization or business.
Data scientists need to be curious and result-oriented, with exceptional industry-specific knowledge and communication skills that allow them to explain highly technical results to their non-technical counterparts. They possess a strong quantitative background in statistics and linear algebra as well as programming knowledge with focuses in data warehousing, mining, and modeling to build and analyze algorithms.
Glassdoor ranked data scientist as the #1 Best Job in America in 2018 for the third year in a row. 4 As increasing amounts of data become more accessible, large tech companies are no longer the only ones in need of data scientists. The growing demand for data science professionals across industries, big and small, is being challenged by a shortage of qualified candidates available to fill the open positions.
The need for data scientists shows no sign of slowing down in the coming years. LinkedIn listed data scientist as one of the most promising jobs in 2017 and 2018, along with multiple data-science-related skills as the most in-demand by companies.
Where Do You Fit in Data Science?
Data is everywhere and expansive. A variety of terms related to mining, cleaning, analyzing, and interpreting data are often used interchangeably, but they can actually involve different skill sets and complexity of data.
Data scientists examine which questions need answering and where to find the related data. They have business acumen and analytical skills as well as the ability to mine, clean, and present data. Businesses use data scientists to source, manage, and analyze large amounts of unstructured data. Results are then synthesized and communicated to key stakeholders to drive strategic decision-making in the organization.
Skills needed: Programming skills (SAS, R, Python), statistical and mathematical skills, storytelling and data visualization, Hadoop, SQL, machine learning
Data analysts bridge the gap between data scientists and business analysts. They are provided with the questions that need answering from an organization and then organize and analyze data to find results that align with high-level business strategy. Data analysts are responsible for translating technical analysis to qualitative action items and effectively communicating their findings to diverse stakeholders.
Skills needed: Programming skills (SAS, R, Python), statistical and mathematical skills, data wrangling, data visualization
Data engineers manage exponential amounts of rapidly changing data. They focus on the development, deployment, management, and optimization of data pipelines and infrastructure to transform and transfer data to data scientists for querying.
Skills needed: Programming languages (Java, Scala), NoSQL databases (MongoDB, Cassandra DB), frameworks (Apache Hadoop)
Data Science Career Outlook and Salary Opportunities
Data science professionals are rewarded for their highly technical skill set with competitive salaries and great job opportunities at big and small companies in most industries. With over 4,500 open positions listed on Glassdoor, data science professionals with the appropriate experience and education have the opportunity to make their mark in some of the most forward-thinking companies in the world.
So, Data Science is primarily used to make decisions and predictions making use of predictive causal analytics, prescriptive analytics (predictive plus decision science) and machine learning.
Predictive causal analytics – If you want a model which can predict the possibilities of a particular event in the future, you need to apply predictive causal analytics. Say, if you are providing money on credit, then the probability of customers making future credit payments on time is a matter of concern for you. Here, you can build a model which can perform predictive analytics on the payment history of the customer to predict if the future payments will be on time or not.
Prescriptive analytics: If you want a model which has the intelligence of taking its own decisions and the ability to modify it with dynamic parameters, you certainly need prescriptive analytics for it. This relatively new field is all about providing advice. In other terms, it not only predicts but suggests a range of prescribed actions and associated outcomes.
The best example for this is Google’s self-driving car which I had discussed earlier too. The data gathered by vehicles can be used to train self-driving cars. You can run algorithms on this data to bring intelligence to it. This will enable your car to take decisions like when to turn, which path to take, when to slow down or speed up.
Machine learning for making predictions — If you have transactional data of a finance company and need to build a model to determine the future trend, then machine learning algorithms are the best bet. This falls under the paradigm of supervised learning. It is called supervised because you already have the data based on which you can train your machines. For example, a fraud detection model can be trained using a historical record of fraudulent purchases.
Machine learning for pattern discovery — If you don’t have the parameters based on which you can make predictions, then you need to find out the hidden patterns within the dataset to be able to make meaningful predictions. This is nothing but the unsupervised model as you don’t have any predefined labels for grouping. The most common algorithm used for pattern discovery is Clustering.
Let’s say you are working in a telephone company and you need to establish a network by putting towers in a region. Then, you can use the clustering technique to find those tower locations which will ensure that all the users receive optimum signal strength.
|| DEEP LEARNING ||
Deep learning is a machine learning technique that teaches computers to do what comes naturally to humans: learn by example. Deep learning is a key technology behind driverless cars, enabling them to recognize a stop sign, or to distinguish a pedestrian from a lamppost. It is the key to voice control in consumer devices like phones, tablets, TVs, and hands-free speakers. Deep learning is getting lots of attention lately and for good reason. It’s achieving results that were not possible before.
In deep learning, a computer model learns to perform classification tasks directly from images, text, or sound. Deep learning models can achieve state-of-the-art accuracy, sometimes exceeding human-level performance. Models are trained by using a large set of labeled data and neural network architectures that contain many layers.
How does deep learning attain such impressive results?
In a word, accuracy. Deep learning achieves recognition accuracy at higher levels than ever before. This helps consumer electronics meet user expectations, and it is crucial for safety-critical applications like driverless cars. Recent advances in deep learning have improved to the point where deep learning outperforms humans in some tasks like classifying objects in images.
While deep learning was first theorized in the 1980s, there are two main reasons it has only recently become useful:
Deep learning requires large amounts of labeled data. For example, driverless car development requires millions of images and thousands of hours of video.
Deep learning requires substantial computing power. High-performance GPUs have a parallel architecture that is efficient for deep learning. When combined with clusters or cloud computing, this enables development teams to reduce training time for a deep learning network from weeks to hours or less.
Examples of Deep Learning at Work
Deep learning applications are used in industries from automated driving to medical devices.
Automated Driving: Automotive researchers are using deep learning to automatically detect objects such as stop signs and traffic lights. In addition, deep learning is used to detect pedestrians, which helps decrease accidents.
Aerospace and Defense: Deep learning is used to identify objects from satellites that locate areas of interest, and identify safe or unsafe zones for troops.
Medical Research: Cancer researchers are using deep learning to automatically detect cancer cells. Teams at UCLA built an advanced microscope that yields a high-dimensional data set used to train a deep learning application to accurately identify cancer cells.
Industrial Automation: Deep learning is helping to improve worker safety around heavy machinery by automatically detecting when people or objects are within an unsafe distance of machines.
Electronics: Deep learning is being used in automated hearing and speech translation. For example, home assistance devices that respond to your voice and know your preferences are powered by deep learning applications.
What’s the Difference Between Machine Learning and Deep Learning?
Deep learning is a specialized form of machine learning. A machine learning workflow starts with relevant features being manually extracted from images. The features are then used to create a model that categorizes the objects in the image. With a deep learning workflow, relevant features are automatically extracted from images. In addition, deep learning performs “end-to-end learning” – where a network is given raw data and a task to perform, such as classification, and it learns how to do this automatically.
Another key difference is deep learning algorithms scale with data, whereas shallow learning converges. Shallow learning refers to machine learning methods that plateau at a certain level of performance when you add more examples and training data to the network.
A key advantage of deep learning networks is that they often continue to improve as the size of your data increases.
|| MACHINE LEARNING ||
What is the definition of machine learning?
Machine-learning algorithms use statistics to find patterns in massive* amounts of data. And data, here, encompasses a lot of things—numbers, words, images, clicks, what have you. If it can be digitally stored, it can be fed into a machine-learning algorithm.
Machine learning is the process that powers many of the services we use today—recommendation systems like those on Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify; search engines like Google and Baidu; social-media feeds like Facebook and Twitter; voice assistants like Siri and Alexa. The list goes on.
In all of these instances, each platform is collecting as much data about you as possible—what genres you like watching, what links you are clicking, which statuses you are reacting to—and using machine learning to make a highly educated guess about what you might want next. Or, in the case of a voice assistant, about which words match best with the funny sounds coming out of your mouth.
WHY IS MACHINE LEARNING SO SUCCESSFUL?
While machine learning is not a new technique, interest in the field has exploded in recent years.
This resurgence comes on the back of a series of breakthroughs, with deep learning setting new records for accuracy in areas such as speech and language recognition, and computer vision.
What’s made these successes possible are primarily two factors, one being the vast quantities of images, speech, video and text that is accessible to researchers looking to train machine-learning systems.
But even more important is the availability of vast amounts of parallel-processing power, courtesy of modern graphics processing units (GPUs), which can be linked together into clusters to form machine-learning powerhouses.
Today anyone with an internet connection can use these clusters to train machine-learning models, via cloud services provided by firms like Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
As the use of machine-learning has taken off, so companies are now creating specialized hardware tailored to running and training machine-learning models. An example of one of these custom chips is Google’s Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the latest version of which accelerates the rate at which machine-learning models built using Google’s TensorFlow software library can infer information from data, as well as the rate at which they can be trained.
These chips are not just used to train models for Google DeepMind and Google Brain, but also the models that underpin Google Translate and the image recognition in Google Photo, as well as services that allow the public to build machine learning models using Google’s TensorFlow Research Cloud. The second generation of these chips was unveiled at Google’s I/O conference in May last year, with an array of these new TPUs able to train a Google machine-learning model used for translation in half the time it would take an array of the top-end GPUs, and the recently announced third-generation TPUs able to accelerate training and inference even further.
As hardware becomes increasingly specialized and machine-learning software frameworks are refined, it’s becoming increasingly common for ML tasks to be carried out on consumer-grade phones and computers, rather than in cloud datacenters. In the summer of 2018, Google took a step towards offering the same quality of automated translation on phones that are offline as is available online, by rolling out local neural machine translation for 59 languages to the Google Translate app for iOS and Android.