How to become a data scientist
Data scientists are in high demand as they are involved in many growing fields, such as automatic image captioning and the development of autonomous vehicles. Getting into data science is sure to provide career opportunities today and in the future.
Data scientists should have a high level of mathematical expertise, statistical knowledge, and computer skills. They must also have the passion and commitment to learn new software packages and a meta-level understanding of the patterns that best fit the data being analyzed.
There are many online resources for people who want to become data scientists, although the abundance of information can make it difficult to digest. It can also be difficult to decide which career path to follow, as data science offers various paths.
With this guide, we’ll answer some of the most critical questions for becoming a data scientist, including:
- What does a data scientist do?
- What career opportunities are there for data scientists?
- Do I need a degree to become a data scientist?
- What skills do I need to become a data scientist?
- How to become a data scientist?
What does a data scientist do?
Data scientists extract meaning from different types of structured and unstructured data that an organization collects. They may collect data from a database, prepare data for analysis, create and test statistical models, or create reports that involve data visualizations.
The tasks of data scientists include collecting and preparing data, performing exploratory data analysis (EDA), evaluating and interpreting those results, and building, testing, deploying and optimization of data-driven models.
After researching data trends, opportunities, and weaknesses, data scientists communicate their findings to management and recommend changes to business strategies and procedures.
Quick facts about the job of data scientist
- The average data scientist salary in 2019 was $100,560 per year
- US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 11.5 million new jobs for data scientists by 2026
- Data scientists typically need a master’s degree in data science or a related field to gain the best career prospects
- According to IBM, 59% of data scientist jobs will be in finance, information technology (IT), insurance and professional services
What career opportunities are there for data scientists?
There are many career opportunities in the broad field of data science. Data scientists must work in a wide range of industries, even outside of technology and computing.
With the increase in data collection and analysis across multiple industries, the demand for data scientists will also increase. As you develop your skills, gain experience, and learn new technologies, you’ll discover new career opportunities as a data scientist.
Types of Data Science Jobs:
- Economic intelligence specialist: Find trends in datasets
- Data Analyst: Work with large data sets to find trends and draw conclusions that will inform key business decisions
- Data Architect: Design, create and manage an organization’s data architecture
- Data Engineer: Clean, collect and organize data from various sources and store the results in data warehouses
- Data Scientist: Design data modeling processes to create predictive algorithms and models, and will also perform custom analytics
Do I need a degree to be a data scientist?
Most employers are looking for data scientists with a master’s degree or higher in data science, data analytics, or related fields.
Completing a master’s degree program will provide a more comprehensive understanding of data science, which will include predictive analytics, statistical modeling, data mining, data visualization, and business analytics. Professional certification from an accredited association will also help your competitiveness in the field.
What skills do I need to become a data scientist?
To become a data scientist, you will need to start by acquiring the right skills through a mix of field experience and training.
While working in your role as a data scientist, you will need to combine a range of soft and soft skills to fulfill your responsibilities and help your organization make informed decisions.
What are the basic skills of a data scientist?
- Computing: You will need to practice a wide variety of principles related to database systems, software engineering, artificial intelligence, numerical analysis and human/computer interaction.
- Programming: It involves developing computer programs and analyzing large sets of data to find solutions to complex problems. Prepare to write code in a number of programming languages (eg Java, Python, SQL, R)
- Statistical analyses: Fully analyze data to discover patterns and perform pattern and anomaly detection
- machine learning: using statistical models and algorithms, “teaching” computers to learn from data
- Data Narration: Use data to illustrate, explain and develop actionable insights for non-technical audiences
What are the soft skills of a data scientist?
- Analytical Thinking: Find analytical solutions for theoretical business problems
- Personal skills: Work and collaborate with all types of people across the organization
- Critical mind: Analyze facts objectively to come to a conclusion
- Curiousity: Discover hidden patterns and solutions in data
- Business insight: Work alongside stakeholders to fully understand their issues
How to become a data scientist?
Before applying for a data scientist position, make sure you have first developed a strategy. This includes thinking about what kind of data scientist you want to be, what industry you want to work in, and what your salary expectations are.
A good way to grow your network is to connect with other data scientists on LinkedIn, as this allows you to gather information about job openings and expectations within the industry. You can even ask your contacts what advice they have for embarking on a career as a data scientist and find out how they got hired.
Tips for applying for data scientist jobs
- Make sure your resume is up-to-date and highlight your skills and knowledge as it relates to the job you want. Basically, list the skills shown in the job postings and make sure your past accomplishments stand out
- When writing your cover letter, make sure it expands on your resume and highlights how your experience makes you fit for the job. This is your chance to say why you are interested in working for the organization and why they should hire you
- Choose references relevant to the position you are applying for. Be sure to ask your references for permission before including them and check that their contact details are correct
- Regularly check job sites directly related to data science. Since there are many online job resources that focus on the tech sector, be sure to research openings in certain markets and companies that match your experience and skills.
Start your journey to becoming a data scientist
Data science is a growing field and careers in this field offer high salaries and a solid future. Now is the perfect time to launch your career as a data scientist.
Do your homework to determine what types of jobs are available in your area, who is hiring, and what the job requires. You can consider freelancing as a data scientist or looking for jobs in other parts of the country. Research, analyze data, and come up with a plan to launch your career as a data scientist.
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