Data science is a hot field for today’s job market. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that the number of data scientists will increase by 26% in the next decade, which is four times faster than the average occupation. With these jobs becoming more and more sought-after, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you pursue a career in this field. Do data scientists get paid well? The answer depends on where they work, how much experience they have, and what kind of responsibilities they have. Find out more about what it takes to become a data scientist and how much they get paid in this blog post.
What does a data scientist do?
According to Harvard Business Review, “data scientists are the new power players of our digital age”. Whether you are an aspiring data scientist or a business owner who needs data science expertise, this blog post will provide essential insight into this quickly growing profession.
Data science is a booming industry with high demand – and it’s not just for Silicon Valley giants like Google, Facebook and Netflix. According to IBM’s 2015 Big Data Study, 73% of executives around the world say their organizations have been able to use big data to better understand their customers.
This blog post will cover what a data scientist does, the skills required for success in this field, the different types of careers available in this field and how you can become one!
Data scientists analyze raw data and synthesize it into results that can be easily understood. This relatively new career path merges programming, statistics and business logic and data scientists use their skills in programming, statistics and machine learning to analyze the data and use it to form conclusions. They may work in social media companies and use the user data to understand habits and suggest content that the users will enjoy. They may also work in politics and make predictions about the election results. In general, data scientists use the data from their analyses to solve real-world problems in business and politics. Some of their primary duties include:
Understanding the model that is the best fit for the data they are analyzing and developing statistical learning models based on their research
Collaborating with other departments to understand the needs of organizations and using raw data and machine learning to identify solutions
Communicating the results of their analyses to top executives and other key decision-makers
Staying up-to-date on the latest trends in technology that could provide solutions for organizational challenges
Average data scientist salary
Many data scientists are full-time employees, though some may work part-time and as contractual employees. Salaries for data scientists vary depending on the level of education and relevant work experience and an employer’s industry, company size and geographic location.
Common salary in the U.S.: $123,263 per year
Some salaries range from $89,236 to $191,700 per year.
Data Scientist Requirements
Getting a position as a data scientist involves certain requirements depending on the level of jobs for which you’re applying, including:
Data scientists are generally required to have at least a master’s degree, although most employers prefer that candidates hold a doctoral degree. Some preferred bachelor’s programs for aspiring data scientists include computer science, computer engineering, information technology, applied math or statistics. Employers prefer that candidates hold a master’s or even a doctoral degree in data science.
Those without degrees can also seek out certification programs offered by some universities and other organizations.
Besides traditional degree and certification programs, boot camps are available as well as online self-guided learning courses.
Data scientists spend time in their chosen industry doing training before they begin their positions in full. These training periods help a data scientist acclimate to new professional environments and bring their academic skill set into one of the multiple industries.
Certifications are not a requirement to become a data scientist. However, data scientists may seek one of several optional certifications to give them a competitive edge over other candidates and make them more desirable to potential employers. Some certifications include:
Data Science and Advanced Analytics Associate Certification (DECA-DS) Certification: Offered by Dell EMC, the DECA-DS is widely recognized and accepted in most industries. It focuses on both conceptual and logical aspects of analytics work and big data, making it appropriate for most data scientists, regardless of their specific industry or employer. This certification is also ideal for data scientists who are at the associate level, relatively early in their career.
Microsoft MCSE Data Management and Analytics Certifications: This is an advanced certification best suited for mid-career data scientists. The Microsoft certification is best for scientists operating in a primarily SQL Server or Azure shop.
Data scientists require several hard and soft skills to succeed in their careers. Some top skills include:
Technical skills: This includes math and computer skills. Data scientists incorporate statistics, computer programming and machine learning to analyze data. They must have in-depth knowledge of computer programming languages and a high level of mathematical ability in statistics, algebra and probability.
Communication skills: These include both written and verbal communication. After analyzing raw data, data scientists must be able to communicate complex information about their conclusions or any proposed solutions to non-technical people. They must be able to do so both verbally and in writing. They must also be able to use active listening skills to fully understand the problem before beginning their research.
Analytical skills: Analytical skills refer to the ability to collect and analyze information, skills critical for success in this role. Data scientists must be able to organize their thoughts and analyze the results of their models to formulate conclusions.
Detail-oriented: Data scientists must be able to pay close attention to detail as they analyze the raw data and form conclusions to identify solutions to problems. Even small oversights could have a significant impact on the conclusion the scientist reaches.
Data scientist work environment
The working environment for data scientists differs depending on which industry they work in. Data scientists work full-time schedules during business hours, but they may sometimes need to work extra hours in the evenings to ensure that they have completed all the work required for their current projects. Some common characteristics of their work environments include:
Extended hours sitting at a desk
Using computers, scanners, printers and other office equipment
Presenting conclusions or solutions about their analyses to executives and other key stakeholders
Data scientists often work for the government, computer systems design or related services, in research and development, for colleges and universities and for software publishers.
How to become a data scientist
You can follow these general steps to become a logistics manager:
Pursue an education: Employers generally require candidates to hold a minimum of a master’s degree and some may even prefer a doctorate. Perform a search for data scientist openings in your geographic location. Identify the level of education required to qualify.
Obtain experience: A data scientist is typically required to have a minimum of seven years of experience to qualify for a position. If you are still in school, look for internship opportunities where you can shadow a data scientist. If you are a recent graduate, look for opportunities in information technology where you can develop the computer and programming skills required for the role.
Pursue certifications: While not required, certifications can make you more desirable as a candidate, as certification will validate your abilities. There are a variety of vendor and non-vendor certifications available in information technology.
Update your resume: Once you have the required education, experience and possibly some certifications, update your resume. Include your highest level of education and your relevant work experience. For each employment entry, highlight the skills transferrable for the career of a data scientist.
Apply for jobs: Look for open data scientist positions in your geographic region and identify the roles for which you are best qualified based on your education, experience and skill set. Apply using your updated resume and a cover letter that you have customized for the roles for which you are applying.
Data scientist job description example
Cosmotronics Sound Systems in downtown Detroit is looking to hire a new data scientist. The data scientist will work closely with a small team of data scientists, visualization experts and analysts contributing to transform data into knowledge that can be used to solve complex business problems. The ideal candidate will possess a combination of analytical problem-solving skills, programming and statistical computing skills and business acumen. He or she is adept at learning new skills and grasping new complex concepts, completely dedicated to the data science craft and has the desire to be on the cutting edge of machine learning, big data and artificial intelligence.
Are you thinking about a career change? Or are you considering a career change but don’t know where to start? Here are some related careers that may be a good fit for you.