Data scientists have been called the sexiest new job in business intelligence. They are the stuff of dozens of articles, infographics and, on occasion, the beneficiary of a zinger or two about ponytails and hoodies.

In a dueling keynote at SPARK! Austin, Dr. Robin Bloor put on a pair of thick-rimmed glasses and morphed into a data scientist in front of my eyes. At Teradata PARTNERS in October, Neil Raden called them new versions of old quants. They’ve been firmly denied any of Jill Dyche’s affections according to her blog post “Why I Won’t Sleep with a Data Scientist.” And, my personal favorite: industry writer Stephen Swoyer called them unicorns – fantastical silver-blooded beasts and impossible to catch.

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