Data Scientist Job Description – Forbes Advisor

The ideal job description for the data scientist grabs the job seeker’s attention while relaying relevant information about the position. Remember that you are not just trying to find the right candidate for the job opening. You are also competing with other employers for the attention of job seekers.

The anatomy of a good job description is made up of a job summary, responsibilities, qualifications, compensation and benefits information, and details about the company posting the position. Avoid mundane language, buzzwords and clichés, and be descriptive. A good job description acts as a filter for qualified and genuinely interested candidates.

Presentation of the position

Appropriately named, a job brief is a brief description of a job. It provides candidates with everything they need to know about the position, such as the title, position in the organization chart, purpose of the position, responsibilities, qualifications, short and long term goals, location and other relevant details. The purpose of a job briefing is to grab attention while explaining high-level details about the job.


It is important to clearly define the responsibilities of the position. If you fail to properly describe the responsibilities, you will not attract the right candidates. And once you get in the job, the new employee will quickly find out that it’s not the job they signed up for and quit. Some may even write bad reviews about you on job review sites, which will make it even harder to fill jobs.

Here are the most common responsibilities for data scientists:

  • Collaborate with colleagues from other departments to improve business results
  • Identify and leverage reliable internal and external data sources
  • Design custom tools to optimize data mining, cleaning, validation and analysis tasks
  • Develop and apply custom data models and algorithms to datasets
  • Develop test tools and models to ensure data accuracy
  • Create and present reports that detail your findings, recommendations, and solutions

Skills and Qualifications

As with responsibilities, you need to be clear in describing the skills and qualifications a qualified candidate should possess. Unclear descriptions of skills and qualifications compound the difficulty and time it takes to find the right placement. They increase the volume of unqualified candidates you need to screen while decreasing the volume of qualified candidates.

One thing you want to avoid in this section is listing skills and qualifications that no one has. For example, if you need a number of years of experience working with a specific coding language or product, check how long that language or product has been around. You should also limit the qualifications to what is actually required for the position.

  • X to Y years of experience in industry A, B or C
  • Bachelor’s degree in data science, computer science, mathematics, statistics, physics, biology, chemistry or electrical engineering
  • Z years of experience in C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Python, R, SQL
  • N years of using platforms such as MapReduce, Hadoop, Hive, MySQL, etc.
  • Experience with business intelligence tools such as Tableau
  • Excellent technical writing and public speaking skills
  • Familiarity with machine learning techniques and when they should be used
  • Familiarity with statistical and data mining techniques and when it is appropriate to use them
  • Strong problem solving skills

Preferred qualifications

It is important to distinguish between the skills and qualifications a candidate should possess and what will help them stand out or excel in this role. You don’t want to deter qualified candidates from applying because they don’t check all the boxes. You also want to prompt users to include specific details that they might not otherwise mention.

  • Advanced degree in data science or related field
  • Professional certifications such as CAP, SDS, PDS, etc.
  • Continually seek training by pursuing and maintaining certifications and staying current with technology and industry trends
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership and project management training

Other things you want to include in the job description include details on compensation and benefits, how and where to apply, what to include, and a bit about the company. Depending on your geography, you may need to add an equal opportunity statement from the employer and other legal details required by governments.

Sean N. Ayres