Data scientist — one of the most sought-after jobs in tech — is currently considered one of the top three best jobs in the United States. In fact, data scientists have been ranked in the top three for the last five years, even taking the number one spot several years in a row.
As a field, data science is constantly evolving. To launch your data scientist career you’ll need the right baseline skills and the willingness to keep pace with new developments.
Here’s what you need to know about how to become a data scientist, including the steps to landing a data scientist gig.
The Demand for Data Scientists
More and more companies realize they’re not optimizing their data and it represents untapped insights and opportunities. However, skilled data science professionals are in short supply.
One draw for those looking to enter the industry is the range of skills that data science requires, making the barrier for entry lower for professionals with transferable skills.
Roles you can expect to see in the field include Data Scientist, Data Architect, BI Engineer, Business Analyst, Data Engineer, Data and Analytics Manager, and Database Administrator.
Data scientist salaries are some of the highest in the market, with Glassdoor reporting an average annual salary of over $114,000.
For those looking to become a data scientist, there are a wide variety of jobs available across multiple industries. Plus — thanks to the trend towards more remote workers — the geographic location of these jobs doesn’t automatically rule out candidates from anywhere in the country.
Key Skills And Education You Need as a Data Scientist
To become a data scientist, you’ll need a combination of the proper education, skills and experience. Here’s a quick rundown on what you’ll need to land a data scientist or related role:
- Bachelor’s degree in computer science, data science, mathematics, statistics, or engineering
- Fluent in R programming and Python
- Training in Hadoop
- Data visualization
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning
- SQL and coding
- Unstructured data and data mining
- Statistical and data analysis
- Process engineering and optimization
- Probability theory
- Business acumen
- Intellectual curiosity
- Problem solving
- Project management
- Risk analysis and management
Securing a Data Scientist Job
Based on the skills outlined above, a good exercise is to consider your existing skill set and identify any gaps. Math is a key component of data science, so those looking to become a data scientist may need a refresher in areas such as statistics, calculus and linear algebra.
Programming skills are also essential, so doing some assessments to ensure your skills are up to date can be helpful in determining if you need to uplevel your skills.
Once you know what skills you need to round out, consider expanding your skillset with specialized courses or programs. The Udacity School of Data Science offers a range of courses and Nanodegree programs that not only solidify your skills but also provide the opportunity to build a portfolio.
Portfolios are often something potential employers expect to see from candidates, so build one that will help you stand out in a competitive market.
If you’re looking to become a data scientist but are lacking in practical experience, consider taking an internship.
Finally, don’t forget to practice, practice, practice. As with any other skill set, it’s easy to get a little rusty or forget some things over time if you’re not putting these skills to work. Prospective employers often require technical tests or test projects as part of the interview process, so practicing will help ensure you’re prepared.
Uplevel Your Skills to Become a Data Scientist
If you want to become a data scientist, but are lacking the required skills, there are countless data science courses to choose from. By choosing to work in a field that is rapidly growing, you’re opening the door to new opportunities both now and into the future.
Are you looking to become a data scientist or uplevel your existing skills to land a role in the data science field?
Udacity’s Data Science Nanodegree Program offers the opportunity to gain real-world data science experience with projects designed by industry experts.
Build your portfolio and advance your data science career today!