Everybody Has A Unique Gift and Perspective | Deborah Berebichez, PhD on The Artists of Data Science

Some notable segments from the show

[17:11] What value Deborah believes data science will bring within the next few years

Where to listen to the show

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, YouTube, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Deborah’s journey into data science

As a physicist, Deborah began her career working on wall street, where she analyzed stock market data. Her background was in computational physics, which is very closely related to data science.

Where is the field headed in 2–5 years?

Data science has been slowly partitioning into more and more specific professions. People in the field have tried to capture a lot under the umbrella of data science, but that has not worked well. People want to know how data science can serve them. With this in mind, we are going to see a shift in who has access to data. People will now have insights at every level.

What will separate great data scientists from the rest of them?

A good data scientist is someone that can efficiently manipulate, clean, and gain insights from a data set and can propel a company forward.

Key takeaways from the episode

Deborah shares her perspective on the art of data science

[34:00] I caution people who view it as an art. Although there are aspects to data science that are artful, the best data scientists are those who are meticulous in their scientific process.

How the creative process manifest itself in data science

[37:08] A good data scientist can look at the data and begin to piece together a story. What is the data telling us? How will it affect change? This is how the creative process manifests itself in data science.

How to be a hero when you feel like a failure

[40:07] It’s by reminding ourselves that our measure of success is not about how many likes we get, but how we measure our learning and our growth based on what our goal was before we took on an enterprise. Just learning to appreciate how much you have grown and come forward is an incredible skill that you need to nurture and practice.

Deborah debunks the biggest myth about breaking into data science

[44:14] You need to be a genius in every aspect of data science to do well. In reality, the vast majority of data scientists are good at a few aspects of data science. Have some general knowledge, but do not strive to become an expert before you get your first job.

How we can promote diversity and inclusion in data science

[51:47] Don’t let the perception and the stereotypes that have formed your unfortunate biases govern what you do and how you behave. Act as if you’re confident, even if you don’t feel confident yet, and things will happen for you.

Memorable quotes

The one thing that Deborah wants you to learn from her story

[55:47] You can make your dreams come true no matter what. Do not believe what people think of you and what your abilities are. Always seek for that inner voice that tells you what you want to do and believe in yourself.

From the lightning round

Deborah’s data science superpower

Being very detail oriented! She’s known for finding even the most infuriating of bugs in code — like a missing comma buried in deep in some module.

Deborah talks about the most fundamental truth of physics

Science is not about facts. It’s about discovery and an ever increasing, more comprehensive view of reality. The school system doesn’t do us justice when it comes to learning science, it’s more than just selecting an answer on a multiple choice test. The real world is messy, and finding the truth is an iterative process. Science is process, and it is a process of discovery.

The best advice that Deborah has ever received

The best advice she got was from her husband’s PhD adviser. He once said: “Hold your water”. It didn’t click in the moment, but she has since understood it to mean: Don’t engage. Don’t try to be the one who’s right. Don’t try to be the one who wins an argument.

The advice that Deborah would give to her 20 year-old self

At 20 years old, Deborah was in Mexico studying for an undergraduate degree in philosophy, and was being told by everyone around her not to pursue the hard sciences. If she could go back in time, she would tell herself to pursue those dreams that she has. Even if you are not the best at them. It’s better rather do that — do the things that are hard — than stay doing something that comes easy to me.

What’s a topic outside of data science we should study

Critical thinking.

Recommended book

What Do You Care What Other People Think?” By Richard Feynman

Song on repeat

David Bowie, Changes.

Books and other media mentioned in this episode

Books by Ruth Spiro (for children).

Episode Transcript

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Full episode on YouTube

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