By @SimonCocking

David White @davidimportio CEO & Co-founder of big data import.io @importio data enthusiast, coffee snob, UK expat, Ferrari lover & father. #1 web data platform that’s changing the way you use the web! For help email [email protected] at the Predict Conference  @predictconf September 15 – 17th 

How do you think data will change business ?

I think data is going to become the single most important factor for business in the next 5-10 years. Specifically those who can access and innovate with it will start being able to predict more about their markets and make better decisions faster. There is going to come a time where these companies are so far ahead of the competition that it becomes virtually impossible for existing companies to catch up. Data is an arms race, and you do not want to be left behind.

What is your best data (data modelling/predictive analysis) tip?

Check your data for quality. This is a really important step that people sometimes skip because it is hard and not particularly interesting. But bad data will only yield bad information, so quality needs to be a priority.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their data journey?

Don’t be afraid to just try stuff. Most products out there have a free version and so you have nothing to lose by just diving in and experimenting. Make fun projects to get familiar with a tool and then keep it in your back pocket for when you have a real use case.

What skills do you think a good data scientist analyst should have?

Above the basic analytical and statistics skills, I think it’s really important that data scientists understand the business. Data is something that can inform your decisions and provide a lot of insight, but only if you know the right questions to ask it. A good understanding of how the business works and the space in which it operates is essential for good analysis. Data does not replace the need for good subject matter experts.

What resources would you recommend (e.g. books, websites, blogs, data, technology, etc.)?

If you want to learn more about tools and improve your skills, I suggest looking through online courses on Udemy or Code School. A lot of them are free and it’s a great place to discover new tools. I also highly recommend going to conferences like Predict. They are a great place to learn about new technologies, ask questions and meet people who will recommend even more products to you.

Which trends in this area will make the biggest change in people’s lives in the next 2 – 5 years?

The biggest trend I’m seeing is the lean toward usability. Everything is getting streamlined and people are working to make sure that anyone can use their tool, not just data people. I hope that trend continues because I think it’s already opened up a lot of people’s eyes to what data and technology can do.

You can see David White and many more speak at the Predict Conference in Ireland at the RDS, DUBLIN, IRELAND 15 – 17 SEPTEMBER 2015