Data analysts are both scientists and story-tellers, said Cuneyd Kaya, analytics specialist at Sabre Holdings.

Kaya spoke to an introduction to programming class taught by Gene Moo Lee, assistant professor in the Information Systems and Operations Management Department, Lee hosted the lecture today at the College of Business. Kaya is one of the last speakers invited to speak in celebration of Business Week.

To become a data scientist, a person needs basic skills such as math, statistics and programming, Kaya said. Another skill is substantive expertise, which data scientists develop when they analyze information and present it to companies to show problems or patterns in their business.

“It’s always a good thing to be able to tell your story very well,” Kaya said in the lecture. “You should use any tool to tell your story.”

All data scientists need a knowledge of computer programming, econometrics, and visualization tools like Tableau, he said.

“Tableau is a tool to tell stories of the data,” Kaya said.

Companies use their understanding of the data to solve business problems, he said.

Programmers are data scientists that use coding software, such as Python, to organize and analyze packages of data, Lee said. Researchers use the analyzed data to write scientific articles and bring insight to consumer behavior.

Businesses use the processed information to make data-driven decisions, Lee said. Data is collected electronically, companies track customer’s activities, and by analyzing the information they determine patterns, he said.

“Instead of relying on your guess or your intuition, you can actually experiment ideas and to see the exact performance of your idea,” Lee said.

For example, Facebook uses A/B testing. It presents focus groups with different versions of its websites to see how they respond, he said. A/B testing is part of the data-driven movement.

Information systems senior Ariel Aguilar attended the lecture and learned a lot, he said.

“I find interesting on how we can use this to effectively make better business decisions and how we can use these skills to save companies money,” Aguilar said.


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