An analogy about the differences and similarities between a digital analyst and a data sciencist


I have been doing analytics for a few years now, and made some friends who are also analysts. However, anyone among my friends from my hometown, uni etc. does something similar. Data science is being a popular topic and that´s why quite often I am asked if I am a data sciencist, or even about the reasons I am not.

I always explain it using an analogy that everybody can understand. I have also spoken about it with some fellow analysts, who agree with me. So, finally I have decided to write about it.

Let´s think of two musicians: a violinist and pianist.


Both, a violinist and pianist are basically musicians. Thus, from the outside they may seem to be doing the same thing.

Probably, they also have:

  • A similar mindset and a special creativity to develop an activity like creating music.
  • Attended a music school for several years.
  • A taste for keep learning, and always pushing their own boundaries.
  • The same talents likes identifying by name individual pitches.
  • The same basic hard skills like music theory, reading / writting music.
  • A to-do approach to work, knowing that practice is the key to mastery.
  • The ability to play several intruments, even from different instrument families.
  • The posibility of easily learning a new instrument that will open up some professional alternatives. Like learning the Viola if already play the Violin, or playing the Viola with the hands if already play it with the bow, moving into electronic music with a keyboard if already can play the piano etc.

And as the Spanish musician Enrique Bunbury says «we all suffer from the same ´pain´».

But still …
A violinist is a violinist. And a pianist is a pianist.

No violinist is going to think that a pianist is that similar to him. They should see themselves close to other musicians within the violin family, like  the viola or the bass violin. And only similar to the pianists if we talk about music in a wider sense.

Try also to ask a violinist why he does not play the piano or plan to do it? The answer in most cases will be something like «because I am a violinist» or «my learning goals are getting better with the Violin / learning the Viola»

Just change to change the words violinist & pianist for digital analyst & data sciencitist. And also change musician for data geek.

Closing thoughts

As a digital analyst, I know how to create insights (music) using certain tools like Adobe Analytics (i.e. the violin). Actually more than one tool type, like tagging solutions (the bass violin). I can also do data qa and debugg (tune the instrument). I can writte tracking requirements (writte music). I understand looking at the console what others have done (read music). I also know many other analysts from other companies (violinist from other orchests) etc.

However, it does not mean that I am almost the same as a data scientist (i.e. pianist). Not even that we would be necessarily good at that, at least in the short term, or plan to become one. Well, let´s see.