Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 20:58:12 -0500
Reply-To: Tom Dierickx <dierickx@HEALTHYEXCHANGES.COM>
Sender: "SPSSX(r) Discussion" <SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Tom Dierickx <dierickx@HEALTHYEXCHANGES.COM>
Subject: Re: This is "almost" funny...
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="Windows-1252"
> Alas, this leaves only the technofreaks (most of whom are not
> statisticians) and excludes many statisticians who are not technofreaks.
> more technical language, this barrier is neither sensitive nor specific.
I laugh on the inside when I read this because I belong to the "freaky
group" in the middle that bridges the gap between IT folk (aka,
technofreaks) and statisticians ... I'm a Data Analyst! Your astute
observation rings true for me all of the time! Having both B.S and M.S.
degrees in statistics, I DO understand why the necessary assumptions must
exist and know how to APPLY most traditional statistical techniques, I CAN
see with awe the beauty that lies in statistical theory, yet am a fish out
of water compared to a pure statistican with a Ph.D. whom has complete
command over the mathematical rigor of the underlying theory. However, I am
equally amazed by how little most statisticians/researchers know about
relational database management and any other form of programming outside of
statistical programming (SPSS, SAS, etc.); skills which when combined can
open the skies to converting data from hard-to-reach places into additional
information. On the flip side, it seems like even the most talented IT
people, whom could build any application under the sun, things out of my
reach, generally, have a complete lack of vision or appreciation for how the
data in their systems could be maximally used, focusing instead on the
end-users' experience and not on why the data is being collected in the
first place. Because there does tend to be a disconnect between
statisticians and developers, there's always a need for Data Analysts like
me who enjoy immensely aspects of both sides, yet most comfortable at home
in the middle. So what's my point? Besides seconding your stated stereotypes
(without insulting either camp - I respect them both highly), it's that SPSS
is PERFECT for a Data Analyst, such as myself, because the gui menus can
help "guide" us through exploratory analyses, having some formal background
in statistical theory without necessarily knowing what EVERY alternative
method or option is based on; then, being strong technically and not fearing
syntax, save those blueprints for re-usabilty, customization, and/or taking
it automating things from VB or some outside application.