Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (56%)
The required skill set is real and uncommon
Robin Harris: Big data is a new field where we're still figuring out needs, wants and tools. It is too early to commoditize data analytics. Beyond that, the kind of mind that can do deep analysis on massive data is not common. Just as Adobe hasn't made everyone a skilled designer, easy-to-use data analysis tools - if we had them - won't make analytics accessible to everyone or even most. The combination of curiosity, domain expertise, technical understanding, statistical skill and insight will never be a commodity. The term "data scientist" may be pretentious, but the required skill set is real and uncommon.
Even in the era of hundreds of millions of handheld computers, we still have - and need - computer scientists. It's the same with big data.
We need tools that empower knowledge workers
Andrew Brust: “Data scientist” is a title designed to be exclusive, standoffish and protective of a lucrative guild.
Big data and analytics are powerful, and the technologies around them are exciting. But if they can only be harnessed by highly-paid specialists, then they haven’t fully evolved. We need data and analytics technologies, but we shouldn’t need expensive, scarce, Shaman practitioners to use them. We don’t need data scientists, we need tools that empower knowledge workers to do big data analytics on their own.