You have heard the term ‘big data’ and the implications that it has for virtually every business sector. From internet security to web development, marketing, and advertising, fin-tech products and services and much more. Businesses are constantly collecting valuable data, and they need someone with the technical skills and analytical talent, to take that information and distill it into actionable insights and business strategies.
The role of the data scientist is not new; it emerged with the global adoption and use of the IoT. But these technology professionals were typically hired for contract projects, or as consultants to extrapolate and then organize data into intelligence that the business could use. Today, the most successful technology corporations and new tech start-up companies compete for experienced data scientists.
Let’s take a closer look at the career, hiring potential and expertise required for tech professionals to transition into the role of a data scientist and the projected demand for this niche career opportunity.
Essential Skills and Traits for Data Scientists
What kind of professional are employers looking for, when they are recruiting for a Data Scientist? You may have already researched the growing demand for professionals in this career niche, but do you have the skills required to retrain and be successful within the highly competitive role?
Successful Data Scientists are inquisitive by nature. They have an innate curiosity to explore and uncover the meaning behind statistical data and trends. It is that curiosity that pushes professionals in this career to find the hidden answers and unique insights that businesses need, to innovate new discoveries, methods, and strategies.
Organizational skills are at the top of the list, including the ability to take a large amount of data and correlate it into meaningful communication points. The most valuable insights that can be derived from big data are hidden and require a great deal of highly focused digging to discover. You will need to be the kind of person that enjoys that challenge, and the reward of discovery.
Acute attention to detail, superior comfort level with an analytical evaluation of a variety of different data sources, and technical data presentation skills that allow you to explain what the data sets mean at an expert level are required.
Creativity is a soft skill that all technology professionals are now required to have; the same holds true for those aspiring to become a Data Scientist. Taking aggregate data and organizing it is only the first step. It takes a creative approach to translate what that data means, and the potential it has for business opportunities, including product development, advertising strategies, and more.
What Does a Data Scientist Do?
For three years in a row, the international job search website Glassdoor voted Data Science as the top compensating, and high demand new role in IT careers, with an American median base salary of $108,000 per annum. It is no wonder that so many technology professionals are interested in learning more about the career opportunity.
What does a Data Scientist actually do? They are responsible for solving complex business problems and mining new opportunities that are discovered through analytical evaluation of data. They use mathematical techniques including machine learning and artificial intelligence tools and models to solve problems, that will increase business revenues and decrease production or delivery costs.
A job as a Data Scientist also involves a high degree of communication. It is not simply a ‘number crunching’ job behind a desk, as professionals are often required to meet with project managers, executives and external stakeholders to present insights, and plan new processes. Some Data Scientists are hired on a temporary basis to assist with digital transformation and automation of processes, building data pipelines, and machine testing new methodologies.
For more reading on career opportunities as a Data Scientist, we recommend this article from the Harvard Business Review.
Education Requirements and Training in Data Science
Unlike other specialties in IT which can be self-taught, or advanced through on-the-job training and work experience, it is virtually impossible to compete for a career opportunity as a Data Scientist, unless you have completed a minimum of a four-year bachelor’s degree. As many as 73% of professionals who are working within the industry have a Ph.D. in Data Science.
Data Scientists can enjoy career opportunities in a variety of fields, and when searching for career opportunities in this specialty, the role can differ depending on classification within the technology industry.
Here are some of the alternative roles that Data Scientists can pursue as employment opportunities, with median salary ranges in U.S.D.
- Machine Learning Scientist (Salary average: $139,000)
- Data Engineer (Salary average: $150,000)
- Statistician (Salary average: $93,000)
- Data Analyst (Salary average: $83,000)
- Enterprise Architect (Salary average: $160,000)
- Business Intelligence (BI) Developer (Salary average: $89,000)
Source Web 2019: North Eastern University
There are three steps to becoming a qualified Data Scientist, and to compete for full-time opportunities:
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in Internet Technology (IT), computer science, with a recommended minor in math or physics.
2. Management level or consultant Data Scientists also acquire a minimum of a master’s degree in IT or data management. In spite of the fact that online educational programs offer short-term learning programs or ‘boot camps’ to certify professionals in Data Science, these courses are meant to augment previous former learning. They do not guarantee placement or qualification for corporate roles.
3. Specialize in a niche industry such as business, marketing, advertising, healthcare or finance, and gain work experience within the niche, preferably with corporations who manage large data sets.
If you are a technology professional and seeking new career opportunities, we invite you to create a candidate profile with reesmarx. Upload your CV and start browsing exciting technology roles offered by global organizations. At reesmarx, we connect talented technology career professionals with high-growth opportunities, in thirty countries worldwide.