Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Data languages and salaries

Last month O’Reilly published their annual DataScientist Salary and Tools Survey. It brought a lot of attention and was the most read article for several weeks at R-bloggers. This is the second year of this report which is an anonymous survey to expose the tools successful data analysts and engineers use, and how those tool choices might relate to their salary. 800 respondents who work in and around the data space, and from a variety of industries across 53 countries and 41 U.S. states.

They found that tools from, what they describe as cluster 3 (Python, R, Matlab,…), increase the average data scientist salary by $1,900 per tool. On the contrary tools in Cluster 1 (SPSS, SQL, Excel, SAS…) bring down salaries by $1,100 per tool. Specifically the report states “The median salary of respondents who use tools from Cluster 1 but not a single tool from the other four clusters is $82k, well below the overall median [which is $98,000]”.

The data was collected from Strata conference attendees which is made of a broad spectrum of data analysts. So, I thought, why don’t we use another source and focus on economics? I checked what Linkedin says about salaries in the economiscs sector about data softwares in the USA and these are the results:

*salaries are in US dollars, the number of jobs are according to LinkedIn USA in December 2014.


Seems that the maximum salary is reached by the combination R+SQL or R alone. But the largest number of opportunities are for those who know SQL, around 750.

This results match those reached by O'Reilly. R seems to be growing and salaries grow accordingly.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Education in the OECD


Economic theory and empirical research stresses how important human capital is for economic growth and society’s welfare. The more educated and productive individuals are, the richer and freer societies are. In order to know the potential economic growth, then, it’s key to measure and compare human capital among countries and regions. Yet, human capital is by definition very hard to measure, by human capital economists mean knowledge, imagination, creativity…
The simplest way to measure human capital is by measuring knowledge in a very specific field. This is what the OECD does every year in a survey to adults of 22 countries. The survey includes reading and mathematical questions and the results of which always draws a lot of attention.

The last results were published in a report back in September and proved to be very interesting. The report compared the literacy level with variables such as educational attainment, unemployment and earnings.
One of the most striking results is how different literacy and maths levels are in each country. In fact, the average 18 years old teenager in Japan, Finland and the Netherlands has a higher literacy and maths level than the average post-graduated in Spain or Italy (post-graduates younger than 35) and, even more surprisingly, even the average 16 years old teenager in Japan has a similar literacy and maths level than the average the average post-graduated in Spain or Italy.

 
 
The incentives to study tertiary education are also very different on a country basis (incentives as earnings and without taking into account education costs). The average post graduate worker in Chile, Brazil and Hungary doubles the average salary of a worker with upper secondary studies.
 
 
 
But if we assume free international labour markets, the best thing you could do if you are a post-graduate worker is to move to US on the other hand if you are a worker with below upper secondary education then move to Denmark.
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Who is happy?

The European Social Survey is an extraordinary data set providing information about the social activities of 42,000 people in 22 European countries. Economists have been using it to analyse and study social behaviour. This paper from 2006 wrote by Benesch, Stutzer and the misbehaved Bruno Frey analyse the impact of time spent watching TV and self-reported life satisfaction.

Interestingly when one controls for the major factors of human satisfaction, i.e. Financial satisfaction, feeling of safety, trust in people, social activities; time spent watching TV still has an statistical significant negative impact on human happiness and the more you watch the more unhappy it makes you in an exponential way. (I think Youtube may have the same negative impact.)

Even though it’s not the purpose of the paper it’s interesting to see that the most import factor for life satisfaction is financial stability (the desire to be rich has a negative impact, though) followed by be engaged in social activities.


More specifically, according to the regression analysis the happiest person is either an early 30s year old, or retired, woman, who doesn’t live abroad but lives in a farm or house in the countryside, self-employed, volunteers in community service, highly educated, married, living without children at home and working around 30 to 35 hours a week.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The history of culture diffusion

Nature, the magazine, published a 5 minute animation about the spread of culture and ideas through the history and the world (from 600AD to present day) by following birth and death place of main personalities in history like Leonardo da Vinciy. One can see the cultural activity of the Renaissance in Italy and the Rome empire, and the French, American and British cultural and scientific explosion of the XVII and XVIII century. It clearly is a bit Eurocentric but is also interesting and beautiful, anyway.

 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Life expectancy is accelerating

The Economist published this week male’s life expectancy at birth in UK since 1971. According to their source life expectancy in 1979 was 69 years old, in 2012 it was 79. Not sure why they selected males instead of female (perhaps data is less volatile for males). In 40 years British males’ life expectancy at birth has increased by 10 years, that’s 3 months every year on average! The most interesting thing, though, is that life expectancy has been accelerating. The rate at which life expectancy increased in the 1970’s was lower than today. I added the black dotted line which shows the best fitted line to the original graph. From it one can estimate that, in fact, in 1970 the increase in life expectancy was 1.8 months every year, in 2012 that increase was 4.2 months every year. That’s an acceleration of 1 month every twenty years.

There’s of course a limit here, one can’t increase its life expectancy by 12 months per year or more because that would mean you are immortal. In any case we are living longer at an accelerating rate.





Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Creative destruction

Mancur Olson pointed out many years ago that economies seem to grow much faster after major wars or other societal revolutions. That were the case of Japan, Germany, and France after World War II. Olson's story was that wartime destruction and revolution dissolved the old vested interests and let new leaders come to the fore. War and revolutions remove the older generations and bring in new generations and technologies.

Another XX century economist, Joseph Schumpeter, argued that the process by which economic growth occurs is the so called “creative destruction”, the replacement or destruction of old technologies and methods by new and more efficient ones. Understandably, this process is always confronted by the old establishment and their opposition is likely to be successful because they tend to have a structured and strong lobby. Economist such as William Easterly argue that institutions that defend economic freedom and protect individual economic liberties are the key for that “creative destruction” to succeed. Daron Acemoglu goes one step further, though, his point in his new book “Why nations fail” is that freedom and individual liberties don’t happen spontaneously, they stem from inclusive institutions, i.e. institutions that embody a broad majority of the society and where political power is not owned by just a few. In other words, the political contest between levelled groups of interest end up reaching the lowest common denominator: individual liberty.

Therefore, from Acemoglu’s point of view, Olson’s observation about war regeneration is a process that only occur IF “inclusive institutions” are in place, otherwise the new generations will just supplant and replicate the previous extractive groups and the protected old technologies just as black American slaves did in Liberia or Mugabe did in Zimbabwe to name a few. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Big data hype

An interesting lecture about statistics and Big Data hype delivered by Berkeley’s professor Terry Speed. Apparently we seem to be at the end of the upper trend for Big Data. So the excitement will soon be over and the expectations of what can be extracted from Big Data will soon be more… realistic. Meanwhile let’s enjoy it.