The world we live in is increasingly data-driven and it’s a logical consequence that the number of data-related jobs has increased significantly over the past couple of years. One job role that seems to stand out from the crowd is that of the data scientist. Many consider the data scientist the summit of creation among the humans in data-related jobs, and a lot of people are trying to get their foot in the door of data science. But what exactly is a data scientist? In my opinion the term is misunderstood and misused.

Stock images by iAmMrRob and Tobias_ET (both Pixabay), combined by the author.

The science part is often missing

There’s the word ‘scientist’ in ‘data scientist’…


Image by blackrabbitkdj (Pixabay).

I have recently come across a couple of articles here on Medium claiming a hidden meaning, universal importance, or divine property of certain numbers. For instance, one article claimed that the numbers 3, 6, and 9 are special because a circle, symbolizing perfection, has 360 degrees (3 and 6 appear in this number and 9 is the sum of the digits). Another article claimed that sound waves with certain frequencies have special effects on humans because of the relationship between these frequencies and the dimensions of the pyramids of Giza. In some cases, the authors claim that they hold a…


Image by Argonne National Laboratory (hosted on Flickr).

In today’s power grids, approximately five percent of the electric energy are lost on their way from the power plant to the end user.¹ The energy is, of course, not really lost, but converted to heat due to the resistivity of the cables. Five percent may not sound like much, but keep in mind that there are currently more than 3000 large (500 MW output or more) power plants in the world.² Consequently, around 150 of them are needed just to compensate for the loss, burning billions of dollars each year just to heat up the planet a bit more…


If I could travel back in time and tell my 18-year-old self that he will one day become a big fan of a project management software named ClickUp, he wouldn’t believe a word I say. Sure, ClickUp didn’t exist at the time, and technology changed quite a bit over the past 20 years, but that’s not the point. At that age I used to think that project management is an empty buzzword used by wannabe bosses who constantly talk about their great plans and pat themselves on the shoulder, while not doing any real work. Why would former me think…


A physicist’s view on hydrogen technology, with focus on hydrogen-powered cars.

My father once told me that cars could in principle run on hydrogen. That only water would come out of their exhausts, which would be great for the environment. But it may take some time for this to become reality, he said. That was almost 30 years ago, when I was a child. It did indeed take some time (the agendas of influential petrol companies may have had a, shall we say, not exactly accelerating effect). Today we do have hydrogen technology, including hydrogen-powered cars. But is hydrogen really…


If you have some experience with preparing presentation slides, chances are that you’ve already come across the most common mistakes. These include things like using a font size too small to be easily readable, choosing poor color combinations, et cetera. In this article I discuss four mistakes which are less obvious, but just as important to avoid, in my opinion. The images I included compare poor slides (left side, red markers) in which the respective mistake was made to better versions (right side, green markers) in which the mistake was avoided.

Mistake 1: Generic outline

I have a background in experimental physics, and I…


Being financially mature means that you take responsibility for and are in control of your financial situation. Following these four simple rules can take you a long way towards financial maturity.

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat (Pixabay).

1. Don’t spend more than you make.

This may sound obvious, but I know for a fact that a lot of people don’t live by this rule. I’m not talking about the rare event of big purchases. I’m talking about frequently spending more on little things than you should, thereby squandering your savings or making your balance oscillate around the zero line. In most cases the reason for this is not a lack of common sense…


Today it is easier than ever to lose yourself in the jungle of productivity tools and methods. Here are some words of caution for those of you who really want to get stuff done.

Image by Gerd Altmann (Pixabay).

Search the Google Play store for productivity apps, and you get a plethora of results ranging from simple to-do lists to complex tools featuring tasks with schedules, interdependencies, and subtasks, visualizations in the form of Gannt charts and Kanban boards, et cetera, et cetera. And if you read articles about productivity, you will be confronted with a bunch of different methods, some of which are quite…


What people think when reading your CV may not be quite what you intended — especially if you apply for a job outside of your previous career field. The reason for this is simple, yet the problem can be hard to see.

Image by Gerd Altmann (Pixabay).

The Problem

I used to work as an experimental physicist at a university. Like most of the scientific staff, I did not have a permanent contract, and after five years of working as a post-doctoral researcher, it was time for me to leave. The opportunity was good to take a one-year hiatus so I could spend more time with my…


Image by Gerd Altmann (Pixabay).

A Ph.D. degree may look nice on your business card, but it is by no means a guarantee for being flooded with great job opportunities. Writing a PhD thesis usually involves getting highly specialized in a very narrow band of the knowledge spectrum. Naturally, the chances of an organization looking for someone with this very particular piece of knowledge are slim. So, does that mean you have to get lucky and find the one-in-a-million job which allows you to continue right where you left off when you finished your PhD thesis, or otherwise it will all be in vain? No…

Thomas Baumgartner

Physicist (PhD), engineer, software developer, data manager / analysist, photographer, musician, and (as of late) writer. Lives in Vienna, Austria.

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