(Editor's note: To read subsequent posts by Jim on this topic, check out "Data Scientist: What Skills Does It Require?", "Data Scientist: Which Adjacent Roles are Central?", "Data Scientist: Do You Truly Need Big Data?" and "Data Scientist: Is This Really Science or Just Pretension?")

The Big Data universe revolves around this seemingly new role called “data scientist.” For IT professionals who are just now beginning to explore Big Data, the notion of a data scientist may seem a bit trendy, hence suspect. How does it differ from such familiar jobs as statistical analyst, data miner, predictive modeler and content analytics specialist?

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