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How to Become a Data Scientist; An Overview of Data Science Career

Data Science is probably one of the most exciting fields in today’s technology based business landscape and almost everyone seems to find out more about it and wants to know how to become a data scientist. The buzzword isn’t just attracting attention from professionals of various industries but is also gaining traction among youth aspiring to start a tech career.

This article aims to explore the dynamics of a career in Data Science; what do data scientists do, how much one can earn, job description, required skills and qualifications and where and how to find jobs, etc. Whether you are a student looking to start a career from scratch or a professional who intends to switch jobs or careers, this article will give you an insight into becoming and being a data scientist.

how to become a data scientist

Data Science Career Overview

Before exploring how to become a data scientist, you must know what the career is all about and whether it suits your aptitude, interests, and skills or not. With a lot of people wishing to become Data Scientists, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons associated with the field. Let’s do it step by step.

Is Data Science a Good Career?

The quick answer is “yes”. But the answer may not satisfy you, so let’s get into little details. Here’re some sample queries that may define “good career” much clearly.

  • Are data scientists in demand?
  • Is being a data scientist a good career?
  • Is data science just hype?
  • Do data scientists get paid well?
  • Is data science still in demand in post pandemic times?
  • Are data science jobs in demand around the world?

Answering these particular concerns, yes, Data Science is in demand and the demand is almost in every part of the world because companies are investing in data analytics around the world. So there’s a lot of opportunities, and these are generally very well-paid jobs. 

What Does a Data Scientist Do?

Data scientists are professionals with the ability to transform massive data into actionable insights for organizations. Companies may use the service of data scientists to predict the best treatment for diabetes or identifying and critical national security threats.

In simple words, data scientists help organizations to solve complex problems by combining computer science, data modeling, statistics, analytics, and math skills. These professionals convert the raw data into information that makes business sense.

Data scientists help organizations to find answers to major questions that the key decisions are based on.

Data Scientist Job Description; Role and Responsibilities in Organization

Data scientists typically work closely with decision-makers in an organization to understand their goals and determine how data can be used to achieve those goals. The job description, role and responsibilities may vary from industry to industry and also the level of career, however, here are some most common tasks data scientists are expected to do.

  • Acquire data
  • Process and clean the data
  • Integrate and store data
  • Investigate and analyze data
  • Design data modeling processes
  • Choose one or more potential models and algorithms
  • Create algorithms and predictive models
  • Apply data science techniques, such as machine learning, statistical modeling, and artificial intelligence
  • Measure and improve results
  • Present final result with the team/decision makers
  • Make adjustments based on feedback
  • Repeat the process to solve a new problem

Challenges & Opportunities in the Field of Data Science

Every field has its own challenges and opportunities, so does Data Science have. As discussed above there are numerous opportunities for data scientists, but the challenges are equally tough.

Despite a high demand of data scientists, the industry is yet not mature enough, so it can be a blurry career for those with little or no insight of the industry. Moreover, there can be several other challenges. You may want to elaborate these challenges as follows:

  • Is data science a stressful job?
  • Are data scientists happy?
  • Why are data scientists paid so much?
  • Why do data scientists quit?

Yes, being a data scientist can be stressful at times because of various reasons, i.e. unexpected results, unavailability of accurate data, deadlines, etc. Since data and technology both are always evolving, it’s nearly impossible to achieve in the field of Data Science and that may trigger anxieties at times. 

Furthermore, extensive domain knowledge makes a data scientist job more challenging than any other, and it requires a lot of hard and smart work along with consistency to keep up with the job.

Who Can Become a Data Scientist?

Being a mixture of multiple fields, Data Science originates from Statistics, Computer Science, and Mathematics. It is nearly impossible for someone to master each field and become equivalently expert in all of these, however, someone who has a keen interest in these fields and can be a jack of all can make a good data scientist

Here are some more queries you may be looking for an explanation for: 

  • How can I learn Data Science for free?
  • How long does it take to become a data scientist?
  • Can you become a self taught data scientist?
  • Can I become a data scientist without a Masters?
  • Is it too late to become a data scientist?

Certainly, you can become a self taught data scientist if you are a self motivated individual with excellent analytical skills and mastery in stats, math, and computer science. Unfortunately, nothing comes for free. If you want to learn through an unpaid opportunity that makes sense, but you need to invest time and effort to go this way. 

There’s plenty of online courses that can help you acquire skills and knowledge required by the data science industry, however, it is an ever-changing, dynamic field that requires constant learning and it’s never too late to become a data scientist.

Data Science Salaries & Payout

What everyone wants to know about is:

  • How much do data scientists make?
  • Where do data scientists make the most money?
  • Which companies pay data scientists the most?

Well, Data Science salaries and payout depends on various factors including experience, job title, industry, company size, region, and education. An entry-level position can start from $80,000 and an experienced one can earn up to $250,000. This article can give you a detailed insight into Data Science salaries.

Moreover, Cloud services, hosting, and CDN, Search and social networking, Banking, and finance are among the top industries that pay the highest salaries to data scientists.

How to Become a Data Scientist

Since anyone with a keen interest and expertise in Math, Stats, and Computer Science can become a data scientist, the key is to know the right procedure to become a data scientist. Here are the basic questions you might be looking to get answered.

  • What are the requirements to become a data scientist?
  • How do I start a data science career?
  • Can I become a data scientist with no experience?

Being great at Math, Stat and Computer Science are the requirements and yes you can become one without prior experience. All you need is to find an entry-level position or an internship. 

The below steps will simplify the process of becoming a data scientist. Follow these quick steps to know how to become a data scientist.

1- Get Qualified:

Be good at stats, math, and coding; if you have a degree in any one of these, just take online courses to bridge the connection.

2- Learn to code:

Yes, it’s crucially important for a data scientist to be able to code, identify problems in the code and guide someone on how the code works.

3- Understand Databases:

Since you will be working with data, you must know the data types, technologies, and methods to store and retrieve data.

4- Master Data Presentation: 

From data munging to visualization and reporting, you must know the techniques and tools to present data at each stage into meaningful and understandable form.

5- Keeping up with Big Data:

Once you have learned the trade and mastered the art of presentation, the next is to level up with big data and get hands-on using tools for the same.

6- Gain Experience:

Practice refines a data scientist more than anything. Join groups where you can share your knowledge and ask questions from fellow data scientists. Do a project for a charity or offer free help and refine your skills.

7- Go Pro:

You may start with an internship, a Bootcamp, or an entry-level job to get started. Once started, just keep going! 

Data Scientist Essential Skills & Qualifications

Just like any other job profile, data scientists need to have a certain skill set and qualifications. This section will answer some of the most common questions that may arise while exploring a career in Data Science:

  • Does data science require technical skills?
  • Is coding required for data science?
  • Do data scientists code?
  • What skills are needed to be a data scientist?
  • What are the essential skill sets for data scientists?
  • What makes a good data scientist?
  • What is a full stack data scientist?

Starting with coding, yes, data scientists are essentially required to have expertise in coding. Though a formal university degree is not mandatory,  having one is always advantageous. Here’re the key skills and abilities that a good data scientist must have: 

  • Excellent knowledge of fundamentals of Data Science
  • Knowledge and hands on experience of Statistics concepts and methods.
  • Programming knowledge, i.e. coding.
  • Analytical skills for data manipulation and analysis.
  • Presentation skills for data visualization.
  • Up to date knowledge of Machine Learning.
  • Deep understanding of Big Data.
  • Communication skills.
  • Storytelling Skills.
  • Structured Thinking.
  • Curiosity and creativity

The term full-stack data scientist is used to elaborate on a data scientist who can take a data-driven concept from identification/ideation through to execution that results in some tangible, measurable, and impactful improvement. 

Finding Data Science Jobs & Projects

Now you know how to become a data scientist, without knowing how to find data science jobs you might not be as successful as you wanted. So, this is the most important part after becoming a data scientist. Yes, finding jobs and projects is essential to progress your Data Science career to the next level. 

Read on if you are a data scientist looking for a well-paying job and have the following questions in mind. 

  • How many hours do data scientists work?
  • Is it hard to get a job in data science?
  • Where can I find data science projects?
  • Where can I find data science internships?
  • Where can I find data analysis projects?
  • Where can I find a data science job?
  • What companies hire data scientists?
  • How do you find a data science project online?
  • Where can I find freelance data science jobs?

A typical data scientist is required to work 18 to 20 hours a week, however, depending on the nature of the job and the industry trends the job can be very task-oriented and may only require 15 to 20 work hours. 

Coming to the job hunt, the best places to find Data Science jobs are YCombinator, AngelList, Underdog.io, and StackOverflow. However, you may also want to get in touch with niche-specific recruitment firms to get placed in the right position. Another alternate way to get more projects can be through LinkedIn and other professional networks.

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