A data scientist is an analytical expert that is responsible for collecting and analyzing data to derive meaningful insights. The role combines computer science, mathematics and statistics. These valuable insights are needed for the growth and improvement of businesses and organizations.
Firstly, there is a clear line between the role of a data analyst and that of a data scientist. A data analyst organizes and analyzes data collected by an organization such as market feasibility studies, logistics, etc. Meanwhile, a data scientist uses coding skills and math to analyze raw data. They propose innovative use of the insights they derive to influence how an organization solves a problem. What’s more, data scientists work with data from sources like smart devices, social media, and emails. This makes up a large database of unstructured data to work with. To sum up, they need industry knowledge and contextual understanding to properly derive useful solutions to problems.
What will you do?
So, as a data scientist in any industry of choice, your job is to:
- Conduct research and gather relevant data
- Analyze data and find patterns from multiple sources
- Develop intelligent solutions to existing problems
- Make prediction of future occurrences from insights derived from trends
- Use data science tools to extract, analyze and interpret large sets of structured and unstructured data
- Design and test data mining models and choose the best
- Present your results using data visualization tools
To work as a data scientist, you’ll need:
- Programming skills like Python, R, or Scala
- Proficiency in visualization tools like Tableau and Power BI
- Experience in machine learning techniques like Naïve Bayes
- Knowledge of different databases both public and private
- Analytical and critical thinking skills
- Observation and problem-solving skills
- Investigative and innovative thinking
- Knowledge and experience in database tools like Hadoop and SQL
- Good communication and presentation skills to effectively explain the results of your data analysis
- Effective listening and teamwork skills
- Attention to detail and ability to work under pressure
The salary of a data scientist varies based on experience, skillset, sector of work, and location. According to Indeed, the U.S. average data scientist salary was $74,504 as of December 2021. It doubles that of a data analyst due to the additional responsibilities.
To clarify, the working hours depend on the company you work for. Typically, office hours are between 8 am to 6 pm, from Monday to Friday. Therefore, your work-life balance will be determined by the hours of the organization you choose to work with. Your organization may permit you to work remotely or on a flexible schedule. However, there may be times you will be required to work outside of office hours or on weekends.
To work as a data scientist, you need a degree in data science or a computer-related field. The following degrees may be considered:
- Data Science
- Computer Science
- Computer Engineering
- Data Science and Business Analytics
Employers’ requirements differ with various qualifications. For instance, some require a postgraduate qualification like a master’s or a Ph.D. in relevant subjects like:
- Business Analytics
- Big Data
- Data Analytics
- Data Science
In contrast, other employers can offer to train graduates in data science. This usually takes around two years to complete. To clarify, this is a structured training program that serves as a platform for graduates to build their technical and business skills. In addition, it helps to gain relevant industry knowledge. However, graduates from other disciplines can still be accepted.
Likewise, internships can contribute to gaining relevant work experience. These are available among bigger employers in the field. Most of these opportunities are advertised in the autumn, though. Above all, you should discuss with your university career services on how to get internships locally.
There are also online competitions in data science, in which employers spot emerging talents in the field. Kaggle and Topcoder, for instance, are known to host such competitions. You can get great networking opportunities at events and conferences relevant to data science. This can prove a useful way to get employment.
Employers in the following industries have a high demand for data scientists. The industries include:
- Oil and Gas
Certainly, you can secure jobs by applying to different organizations online. LinkedIn is a good place to get started with your job search, for example. There are other popular services like Indeed and Glassdoor which are great tools for job search.
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