Data scientists are professionals in data science, and I was once hired as a senior data scientist in a company, but I thought the title of that job might be misnamed.

What is the etymology of "data scientist"?

  • If you were hired to do data science, why would you think the job is misnamed. Is it because you didn't do any "science" (experiments/investigation) ?
    – James K
    Apr 6, 2021 at 15:40
  • @JamesK I think it is kind of hyped. Apr 6, 2021 at 15:49
  • I consulted regularly for a company that put "scientist" on the business card they provided me. I thought ti presumptuous, but couldn't really complain. My kids suggested I have a card identifying myself as "cook" or "dad". Apr 6, 2021 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia has an etymology section in their Data Science article.

Reading it over, there does seem to be a little controversy over the name of this field! There's no doubt, though, that people working in data science employ scientific principles.

As far as your job though, individuals and companies often have incentive to make their positions sound fancier than they actually are.

Nonetheless, Data Scientists at Princeton are probably doing very different things from the Data Scientist I at your local health department.

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