The key to real-world success is understanding the data, according to David Kane, a preceptor in statistical and mathematical methods at the Government Department.
Kane, a former US Marines officer. who spent more than two decades as a quantitative financial expert on Wall Street, said his class, “Gov. 1005: Data,” laid the foundation for absolutely any career.
“Being able to work with data is increasingly important in the world today, especially for entry level rankings in elite jobs,” he said. “There is no better way, for example, to get a job on a U.S. senator’s staff than the skills shown in handling polling data, fundraising, and policy issues.”
Classes, new to the Harvard curriculum, help students understand the basics of data, build competencies in data analysis, interpretation, and applications. Using the John William Waterhouse 1891 “Ulysses and Sirens” oil paintings as a central metaphor, Kane joked calling the “Science data for philosophers” class.
“You are Ulysses, Thrinacia is a fair job in the coming summer, Sirens are a lot of distractions in the modern world,” he said in the class syllabus.
But what “data science for philosophers” mean?
First, the course is part of the government department, which is full of political philosophers, said Kane. But more importantly, “Unlike 30 years ago, the demand for data is endless. It’s the framework that builds models for marketing, politics, medicine, for just about everything, “he said.
“The field is growing exponentially and there are some cool things you can do with it, but we lack people who can work with it,” he said. “There is no reason for you not to be able to focus on the humanities and bring together in one semester the set of skills that matter most to employers: your willingness to know the data.”
A history of art student who wants to run an art museum, or a student athlete who wants to become a professional football coach, or a future politician who wants to do more than answer the phone, explained Kane, can use the collection skills and data organization to recognize and offer businesses what they need and influence the end user experience.
The evolution of data science, emerging naturally with the evolution of technology, is helping companies understand what consumers want and need. The data can show how consumers use websites, their profiles, templates that help determine things like where to allocate money, write relevant messages, and even decide on business hours.
For example, an art historian who is an expert in data analysis can help a museum curator discover the most-watched exhibitions, their exhibition duration or how to get the most out of the next event. Fund raising. A passionate student of politics can use data to model the impact of allocating campaign expenses on votes.
“The ability to work with data will help you find jobs in areas that are often difficult to get a foothold in,” said Kane. The world is looking for more, and in particular more and more off the beaten path. ”
Diab Eid ’20, a student of Kane’s “Ec 970: Sophomore Tutorial” last spring, said the course challenged him to become a better writer, debater, data analyst and reader.
“Professor Kane has allowed us to dig deep,” said Eid. “You have the impression that you are really learning and mastering the concepts. I feel that I have grown so much. ”