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California Legislature Begets Data Scientists

By Svetlana Sicular | March 04, 2013 | 0 Comments

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The most re-tweeted phrase at the SAS analyst conference (#sassb) today is “A data scientist is a business analyst that lives in California.” Every joke has a bit of truth behind it.

Here is a paradox: some simple but essential things slip our attention. What is the last name of Queen Elizabeth II? When did World War II end? Recently, I asked my brother-in-law over a barbeque what exactly he does for a living.  I knew vaguely that he is a negotiator.  The barbeque juices played their role, and he suddenly started telling me about California employment laws, settlements and people who make their living by accusing companies in … I learned from him that, since 2008, in California, exempt and non-exempt employees are treated equally under certain conditions, and therefore, everyone has to have a right job title and many other right things.

Under the influence (of my brother-in-law), I recalled that around four years ago, my husband received a note from his previous company about a hefty settlement amount for working overtime. I also realized that ever since, my husband’s title has been periodically changing during his employer’s campaigns on giving the right titles.  Because my husband does something unique at work and lives in California, his latest title is five words long.

And suddenly I realized that DJ Patil, in his book Building Data Science Teams, wrote that he and Jeff Hammerbacher, under the pressure of LinkedIn’s HR, invented the title of data scientist in 2008.  Yes, this was the same law which caused my husband’s multiple titles and which infuriates my brother-in-law, who turned out to be a head of corporate affairs.

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