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Tips for the FBI (or Any Organization) For Hiring a Data Scientist

By Ann Irvine // August 19, 2016

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Ann Irvine is principal data scientist at RedOwl.

The FBI announced it's hiring its first senior-level data scientist, meaning the agency is officially recognizing that insight into data is a critically needed piece of its risk management strategy.

However, as someone who has worked in the field for years, specializing in natural language processing and machine translation, I understand all too well the work the bureau has cut out for it in finding the right candidate and integrating that person into its organization—challenges that might prove larger than the agency originally anticipated.

Data Scientists Aren't Created Equal

First and foremost, data scientists across organizations and industries have wildly different backgrounds, skillsets and job responsibilities. That’s why it’s crucial for the FBIーor any organization in search of this type of new hireーto be very specific about what its data science needs are, what the new hire’s responsibilities will be, and how that person will fit into the organization’s day-to-day workflow.

For example, on my team at RedOwl, we have three types of data scientists who support our technology’s capabilities to prevent insider threats such as rogue trading on Wall Street or IP leaks...

Employers Use Workplace Wearables to Find Out How Happy and Productive We Are

By Stuart Frankel // Quartz // August 11, 2016

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How we work, who we work with, and even what we define as work is rapidly changing, but the most transformational change—at least for our professional lives—may be occurring at the intersection of data, sensors and artificial intelligence.

Companies in all fields are beginning to dive into the world of big data in order to increase the health and happiness of their employees, along with boosting productivity and overall output. Using a variety of methodologies including workplace wearables, employers now have more information than ever about their employees.

But what to do with that information?

Employers are beginning to take on more interest and responsibility in their employees’ mental and physical health. There are a variety of reasons for this. One of them is growing acknowledgment of the link between happy employees and better business performance.

As a result of this link, many companies are employing a range of approaches to assess the mood and well-being of its staff. For example, manufacturing company John Deere is testing a new, comprehensive, bi-weekly review system for measuring its employees using a “happiness metric.”

Beyond surveys, employers are now beginning to use technological methods to gauge employee well-being. Consider Hitachi, whose...

What Skills Will Human Workers Need When Robots Take Over?

By Jason Karaian // Quartz // August 4, 2016

Humanoid Robot "Pepper" is displayed at SoftBank Mobile shop in Tokyo.
Humanoid Robot "Pepper" is displayed at SoftBank Mobile shop in Tokyo. // Koji Sasahara/AP

A few years ago, Michael Osborne and a colleague at Oxford University caused a stir when they published research suggesting 47 percent of jobs in the U.S. are at risk of being replaced with robot labor. Subsequent studies suggest closer to 10 percent of jobs in developed countries could be automated, which is only marginally less worrying for workers.

What isn’t in doubt is that advances in algorithms and robotics will transform the workplace, with both rote manual labor and higher-level cognitive tasks soon to be performed by machines. Robotics companies, keen to avoid the insinuation their products take jobs from humans, talk a lot these days about “co-bots” (collaborative robots). Humans and robots will increasingly collaborate, they say, with humans freed to do more productive, fulfilling tasks thanks to machines taking on the grunt work.

Osborne’s latest project aims to predict what skills—independent of specific jobs—will be in highest demand among employers in 2030.

“A child starting education this year will enter a jobs market very different from what we see now,” says Mark Griffiths, research head at Pearson, the publishing and education company partnering in the research.

To determine what skills workers will...

Why I Won’t Talk About Being a Woman in Tech—and Neither Should You

By Soledad Penadés // Quartz // July 28, 2016

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I won’t do talks on “being a female in tech” for a number of reasons.

First, because they prevent me from doing talks on tech, which is what I would actually like to do, because that’s what I am best at. If someone approaches me to talk somewhere just because I’m a woman, they haven’t done their job of finding what my expertise is. Therefore, I am going to insta-decline.

It not only is very insulting and distracting, but also pigeonholes you into “talking about being a woman in tech,” instead of being a “woman who knows her tech.” It feels like, once again, we’re delegating “caring for others” tasks to women and other vulnerable collectives, in addition to their normal jobs. That is not OK.

Second, it devalues the job of diversity and gender studies professionals; it is implied that just by virtue of me being a women, I not only can talk for all other women, but also know how to fix things for all other women (note: I don’t).

That in turn makes me the “token woman,” where everyone assumes that I represent all other technical women. This is a handicap...

90% of Software Developers Work Outside Silicon Valley

By Michael J. Coren // Quartz // July 13, 2016

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So much code to write, so few developers. The chronic talent shortage afflicting Silicon Valley is now all over the US—and the developers are too.

study by the software trade group The App Association analyzed government and private sector data to map where software developers live, and it identified 223,054 open positions around the country. It found that most developers live far away from the technology epicenter of Silicon Valley, and job openings follow a similar pattern.

The upshot: Silicon Valley-style talent wars are moving away from tech hubs to smaller metro and even rural areas. Everywhere from rural Vermont to the middle of Montana is in need of programmers.

“You can find places where you didn’t expect software developers to be, but they are part of the local economy,” said association spokesman Jonathan Godfrey in an interview. “It’s pretty much everywhere.”

Location matters less for many new technology jobs. Software developer positions are now now common in most state and growing in almost every region of the country.(ACT I The App Association)

“Software developer” is now the most common job in four states (Washington, Utah, Colorado, Virginia), according to 2014 US Census Bureau...