Wednesday, December 11, 2019

On Being a 60 Year Old Data Scientist

A 60-year old Data Scientist.
I read with interest Stephanie Glen's Blog post on Data Science Central "On Being a 50 Year Old Data Scientist". She is 52, and asks the question: "Should the over 50 crowd put down their textbooks and pick up their gardening tools?". She reports from research that many scientists do their best work after the age of 43. There is no age limit to becoming a Data Scientist - I have had several students in their fifties in my Data Analytics classes. The oldest student I have had in my class was 70 years old.

I'm not sure if I can count myself as a Data Scientist - but I do anyway. Though my PhD (1987) was based on growth of marine shellfish - it was essentially a big data study in the early days of computing based on the thousands of measurements I took. This is my seventh year as a Lecturer in Data Analytics - during this time I have taught modules on Statistics, R Programming, and Data Visualization. I certainly don't feel I am too old to be a Data Scientist. But like Glen says in her article, there is a definite "reality check" - especially in the United States where education is so expensive (a Masters in Data Science could set you back up to $54,000). Trying to get on the promotion ladder could be difficult when starting so late in life. Glen's last question is: "Are you going to be able to recoup your investment in your remaining working life? You be the judge".

I judge that it is worthwhile! This evening I will be hosting an on-line Information Session and Sample Class for the Higher Diploma in Data Analytics, and I hope that there are people older than 43 attending the session. The class can be accessed here, more details (including registration) are available here. Aspiring students of all ages welcome.

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