Comparative Biology as Data Science

Alaska brown bear specimen measurement chart from AMNH Alaska brown bear, specimen measurement chart, AMNH Digital Special Collections

I recently spoke at the American Museum of Natural History on the topic of alternative academic careers for biologists. The talk was organized by the Museum’s graduate school for its current graduate students and postdocs. Also on the agenda was Eric Vieira, Director of Special Research programs at CUNY. After a solid year (and going strong) as data analyst at an educational technology and software company, I’ve been able to feel out the boundaries of my own skills in this new environment. With that experience in hand, I tried to focus my talk around two insights: (1) how my experiences as a biologist and doctoral student prepared me for this transition, and (2) ways I could have been better prepared. In the end, I conclude that if you’re doing quantitative (or computational) comparative biology and are okay no longer doing field work, then you’re well suited to a career as a data scientist. Resources for being better prepared than I was are given, with heavy geographic focus on NYC.

Anyway, here are the slides:

— Samuel