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September 2014, Vol. 35

Seven data science lessons from McGraw-Hill Education analytics guru

Big data analytics is going to the school room. While retailers use analytics to entice buyers to purchase more products, and automobile insurers want to learn more about an individual's driving behavior, educators are also using data science to get closer to their customers. Alfred Essa, vice president of analytics and R&D at McGraw-Hill Education in New York City and a panelist at the recent Useful Business Analytics Summit in Boston, outlined how he and his team are applying analytics to some of education's most persistent challenges. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at how Essa trains data scientists and how his data science team is working to build sustainable and scalable data products. 1. What is the language of data science? Alfred Essa Python and R, two open source programming languages, contend for a top spot on the syllabus, but Essa is a fan of both. Python, which Essa called "the programming language for scientific computing," has been around since the 1980s. One of its most talked about features is its standard ...

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