If you like working in the tech industry and you’re looking for a career that’s rewarding, sought after, has a high rate of employment, and gives you a lot of options of where you could work, becoming a data scientist may be right for you. The need for data scientists is growing fast, so if you want to be a data scientist, act now. Start prepping today for your future career, and it will pay off quickly.
So what does it take to become a data scientist? Education is a critical first step on your path toward becoming a data scientist. Getting a Bachelor’s degree is essential, and approximately 88% of data scientists today have at least a Master’s degree, and 46% of data scientists have a PhD.
In addition to the best education, it’s important to have the right set of skills. Data scientists should know at least one programming language (like R, Python, SQL, Hive, etc.), have a good understanding of statistics, understand multivariable calculus and linear algebra, understand machine learning and software engineering, and be able to manage and interpret large amounts of data. They should be comfortable conducting research, building automation tools, and be a great communicator. Having intuition about data is also a critical skill to have. Data scientists need to be able to look at data sets and make sense of it before it’s analyzed in a black box.
Choosing the right role in the data science world can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s important that you look at what skills you have, your background and work experience, what skills you want to learn, and what skills you know you could learn easily. Based on that, pick an area of data science that feels most comfortable. If you’re unsure of what to do, don’t jump in to a particular area. It’s important to talk to people within the industry to find out what each job entails. If you can find a mentor in your area of interest, ask for their help. Find out what you’re good at, and what you want to be, then choose a role based on that. Don’t jump hastily into anything. Instead, put in the time to do research and make sure you know where you want to take your career.
Once you know where you want to take your career, you know what additional skills or certifications you might need. Since the demand for data scientists is high, you need to be as qualified as possible. Taking online courses to supplement your education or give you additional certifications can give you a marked heads up over other applicants. This is also a great way to learn coding. Most importantly, never stop learning. Since the tech world is constantly evolving, make sure you stay on the cutting edge.
There’s a reason data science has been called the hottest career of the 21st century. Data science is one of the fastest growing careers in the world. With more and more of our lives being organized by data, the need for people to understand and interpret that data is growing exponentially. Companies of all sizes (from small businesses to Google) are looking to hire exceptional people with the ability to understand and analyze data.
Networking is an essential skill in any career, but with the speed at which the data science careers are moving, having a tight network of support and mentors you can turn to is critical to your success. Read blogs or webpages of other data scientists to find those whose careers interest you. Then, reach out to as many as you can. Build your network with solid professionals and when you need help, they’ll have your back.
The majority of data scientists work in the tech industry, but there are a lot of jobs in other industries as well. Other major industries hiring data scientists are marketing, consulting, healthcare, finance, and even government organizations.
The point of all this is that as a career, the only place data scientists are going is into the future. There is so much need for people to sift through and understand the data we accumulate in our lives. So the question remains, do you want to be a part of the future?