Forbes, as part of their recent Data Driven issue, have an interview with LinkedIn's Daniel Tunkelang, "What is a Data Scientist?" Here's a great piece of it that gets at the difference between old school statistics and the new data science:
"Until recently, scientists operated in a world of data scarcity. Many of the statistical techniques developed over the past century optimize for conditions of data scarcity. But, as Peter Norvig and colleagues observed in their paper on “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Data”, we’ve moved from a world of data scarcity into one of data abundance, especially in areas of the consumer Internet (e.g., search, social networks) that have hundreds of millions of users. Now, rather than compensating for data scarcity, we have the opportunity to extract the signal from massive amounts of available data. That is why organizations everywhere are hiring and training data scientists as quickly as they can. Data scientists turns big data into big value, delivering products that delight users and insight that informs business decisions."
Go read the whole article. --WTP