Identifying the business beyond the science
Yes, there is an aspect of the laboratory in data science. The scientific method of inquiry, hypothesis and validation are how data scientists will redefine the possible for the business. It’s R&D focused on disruptions, enabled by data, and directly aligned to enterprise goals and strategies.
But for investments in a data scientist to pay off, they must have other skills, too. According to one industry observer:
What we need are data scientists who bring more to the table than just mathematics and code. We need to find the people who can make data a thread that runs through the entire fabric of the organization.
That requires strong communications and collaboration skills (and playing well with others). Real leadership skills and the ability to evangelize (about the use of strong data practices, for instance) are added bonuses. There’s an increasing awareness that more creativity is also needed in the data science community, that data artists might even be the next sexiest job.