I recently tried a new Social Media tool for a very unlikely group, Data Scientists. When you think about scientists in general, “social” is not the word that comes to mind. Most of a Data Scientist’s work is done alone and on the computer. After reading Eric Siegel’s book this summer, I have become fascinated with predictive analytics. PA is the process of using data to make future predictions. In his book, Siegel talks about the website Kaggle. This site allows organizations to post projects, in the form of competitions, and see who can create the best predictive models. Teams from all over the globe can sign up to compete to win bragging rights or even a cash reward. Along with various projects, Kaggle offers a lively community with a forum to post questions and comments, a leaderboard for different projects, a blog and wiki and even a place for those interested in finding a job as a Data Scientist.
It may sound overwhelming to think about data and predictions but initial models can be built using Microsoft Excel and basic algebra. Kaggle offers a great starter competition with walkthroughs and suggestions.