15 Data Science Influencers You Should Be Following On Twitter And Why


In 2012 the Harvard Business Review called Data Scientist the sexiest job of the 21st century.

Obviously there are varying opinions on the definition of “sexy,” but in the wake of the data revolution, data scientists have been coming out of the woodwork and enjoying previously unheard of popularity.

Many of these data superstars have taken to Twitter to share their knowledge and insight with the world. Follow these 15 data science influencers to stay abreast of all the latest big data news and innovations.

1. Jeremy Waite

In January 2015, Onalytica ranked Jeremy Waite the number one data influencer in the world, and for good reason. Waite is the Head of Digital Strategy for Salesforce’s EMEA Marketing Cloud, and musters an impressive 72 thousand Twitter followers. He uses his authority and social reach to retweet insightful morsels, share mind-blowing factoids, and poke fun at his profession.

2. Ben Lorica

Ben Lorica is big data. It says so right there in his Twitter handle, and no one deserves the title more. Lorica currently works as O’Reilly Media’s Chief Data Scientist and Director of Content Strategy, and has been talking about big data long before it entered the social consciousness. Follow him on Twitter to catch his latest tweets on new projects and keynote talks.

3. Gil Press

Gil Press is your spirit guide through the wide world of big data. As a Managing Partner at gPress, a marketing, publishing, and research consultancy, and a columnist for Forbes.com, Press leverages his influence to demystify many of big data’s biggest ideas. Tweets like What Data Scientists Do and Top Tech Predictions are good examples of what Mr. Press is all about.

4. Bernard Marr

As a bestselling business author, strategic consultant, and Dataconomy contributor, Marr is a goldmine of data-related insight.  For the past few months he’s been sharing free samples of his new book “Big Data” on Twitter, and he is constantly posting helpful articles on timely data topics such as Big Data Sources and Why Big Data Projects Fail.

5. Naval Ravikant

Naval Ravikant is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and startup evangelist. He’s also a bit of a philosopher, at least as far as big data scientists go. Following him on Twitter will yield some thought-provoking nuggets of wisdom, such as “Startups don’t die when they run out of cash, they die when the founders run out of energy,” and “You have to pick something big to work on, because it’s hard to commit your life to something small.”

6. Kirk Borne

At the intersection of astronomy and data science lies Dr. Kirk Borne. Borne is a Professor of Astrophysics and Computational Science at George Mason University, and can’t help tweeting about space and big data, two of his favorite subjects. Borne also shares his own homegrown stats and analytics. Take one of his most popular tweets, which chronicles the price of gigabyte storage throughout the years.

7. Kenneth Cukier

As the Data Editor for The Economist and co-author of “Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think,” Kenneth Cukier is a big player in the data sphere. His concepts and insights are as innovative as they are articulate, and his Twitter page will teach you something new every day. Check out his tweets on Israel/Gaza casualties and the measles vaccine to get an idea of his interests.

8. Gregory Piatetsky

Not only is Gregory Piatesky the President of KDnuggets.com, a leading analytic and data mining consulting firm, he is also a founder of the Knowledge Discovery and Data mining conferences. A veritable Johnny Appleseed of data education, Piatesky uses his many platforms to spread knowledge throughout the land. Check out his witter for eye-opening statistics and valuable resources on subjects like machine learning.

9. Mike Gualtieri

Mike Gualtieri is Forrester’s Principal Analyst, and his areas of expertise cover big data strategy, advanced analytics, Hadoop. When he’s not tweeting about his Revolutionary War reenactments, you can find him sharing his latest talks, intelligent recommendations, and Forrester reports.

10. IBM Analytics

Aylee Nielsen & Teri Klemchuk are the team behind IBM Analytics’ Twitter feed, and together they promote IBM while providing compelling material for big data enthusiasts to chew on. Nielsen and Klemchuck make the effort engage their followers by inviting them to share their stories and experiences. For data scientists with an interest in marketing, following IBM Analytics is also a lesson in big data branding.

11. Merv Adrian

Merv Adrian is always one step ahead of the rest of us. Case in point: He joined Twitter in its infancy and secured the four-letter handle @Merv with ease. As the Research VP at Gartner, Adrian is in charge of data management and integration for one of the world’s largest information technology firms, and maintains expertise in Hadoop ecosystems, BI world, and technology lifecycles. His tweets frequently challenge the status quo and describe run-ins with key figures in the big data industry.

12. Dr. JR Reagan

Dr. JR Reagan is Deloitte’s Global Chief Information Security Officer, meaning that all the information coming in and out of this multibillion-dollar enterprise falls under his domain. Fortunately for the rest of us, Reagan is eager to share his insights with the world, and makes presentations on cybersecurity, innovation, and analytics to audiences across the globe. He also contributes to the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, CNN, and Washington Post. His Twitter feed reflects his many travels and comprehensive experience, and is brimming with valuable content he deems tweetable.

13. Neelie Kroes

Neelie Kroes was the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda from 2010 to 2014, and is a prominent advocate for Internet freedom and big data integration. She frequently tweets about digital events and consumer rights in the digital age. She’s also not afraid to condemn bad policies and announce her beliefs to the Twitterverse.

14. Joe Burridge

If you want to follow a data scientist who occasionally forays into comedy, look no further than Joe Burridge. Burridge is a Data Science & Big Data Specialist Recruitment Consultant at Salt, a digital recruitment agency, and takes his data-driven humor to Twitter. One gem reads “FACT: There are only 2 types of people in this world, those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.” Another: “Da·ta Sci·en·tist [noun]: Person who is better at Statistics than a Software Engineer and better at Software Engineering than a Statistician.”

15. Tamara Dull

Tamara Dull is rarely dull in her tweets about big data, privacy, and analytics. She’s been in the high tech industry for 30 years, and is currently the Director of Emerging Technologies on SAS Institute’s Best Practices team. She also has a personal blog where you can find in-depth posts about The Data Lake Debate and data security.

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