(Editor’s note: For James’ introductory blog on this topic, click here. For his follow-ups, read "Data Scientist: Do You Truly Need Big Data?", "Data Scientist: Is This Really Science or Just Pretension?" and "Data Scientist: Which Adjacent Roles are Central?")

Data scientists are a curious breed. The term encompasses a wide range of specialties, all of which rely on statistical algorithms and interactive exploration tools to uncover non-obvious patterns in observational data.

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