Hey all. I’m a data scientist. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Statistics and Environmental Economics.
Although I think that conserving the environment to increase the long term survival probabilities
of the human race is incredibly important, Statistics definitely beat out as a major. It's the shit.
While in college, with some awesome luck, I also was introduced to programming. I know R quite well,
Why I love statistics: statistics is the obvious but beautiful answer to wanting to optimally evaluate evidence and new information about the world. There are so many questions, unknowns, and beliefs out there in the world. Each person and his or her beliefs are the output of a unique function that is constantly updating: experience comes in (sounds, lights, information, concepts), the brain filters it, and updates itself based on the information it received. Millions of years of natural selection has given us incredible brains, capable of processing massive amounts of information. However, our brains evolved to survive and reproduce, not to accurately analyze discrete bits of information. So when it comes to processing and analyzing, say, thousands of numbers on a page, people don’t have a precise answer, and often fall prey to biases. Statistics is the mathematically optimal way to look at those numbers and say, ‘hey, then this is exactly what I should believe, and this is how confident I can be’.
Why I love data visualization: Graphs can show so much! Node and line sizes, colors, shapes, and placements (over time!) can all tell the stories of distinct variables. It's pretty hard to see trends that live in these multiple dimensions while staring at spreadsheets. So - especially when you can't understand the data you're working with in one gulp - don't just stare at spreadsheets: make pretty pictures, too! Info-graphics rock. (Why do our government's fiscal budgets contain only text?! Hundreds of pages of pure pdf text is painful to digest - I've tried). Anyways.
In my spare time, I enjoy making art, playing board games (e.g. Scrabble, Settlers of Catan, Dominion, poker), and listening to audiobooks. I also like to boulder (rock climbing, but without ropes and only 14 or so feet high), and I love to stare at trees. Arrested Development is my all time favorite TV show; if you don’t like it, I’ll judge you.
I donate 10% of my income to charity. You should too! It makes you feel better and is good. Telling people that you donate gives you both bragging rights, and forces you to actually do it! Pledge here.