Firstly, welcome to our newest career blog. In this post, we will focus on how to become a data scientist
How to become a data scientist
What does a Data Scientist do?
Data Science is an interdisciplinary field that uses scientific processes and systems to interpret data. According to Wikipedia:
Data science is a “concept to unify statistics, data analysis, machine learning and their related methods” in order to “understand and analyze actual phenomena” with data. It employs techniques and theories drawn from many fields within the context of mathematics, statistics, information science, and computer science.
In laymen’s terms, data scientists use data to predict trends or behaviour in an effort to solve business problems.
So what does a day in the life of a data scientist look like?
The day in the life of a data scientist can be very diverse. It usually offers the opportunity for a good work/life balance and core office hours are usually between 8 and 6. Depending on projects and company some out of office hours work might be needed. Remote work and flexible working might also be possible.
It would probably be quite accurate to say that most data scientists spend a lot of their time in meetings. Meeting stakeholders, understanding requirements, discussing with fellow data scientists to find models and explaining results to stakeholders.
Although the majority of their work involves working with data, they also need to be able to communicate with stakeholders and colleagues.
Harvard Business Review’s named data science “the sexiest job of the 21st century” in 2012, turning data science into the thing to be doing.
Skills and Responsibilities of a data scientist
As pointed out above, data scientists don’t only work with data and interpreting it, but they need to be able to communicate with stakeholders to understand a problem, brainstorm with colleagues to see which methods would be the best to use and then also be able to communicate the results and findings back to said stakeholders. Therefore all of the below skills will also be needed.
- Analytical skills
- Attention to detail
- Math & Statistics
- Programme Language
- Great communication
A data scientist should at least have a Master’s Degree, with more than 40% in the market currently still having PhDs. A strong knowledge of R programming is also recommended. Most universities have degrees in data science. Other degrees to consider are those associated with computer science and
Salary expectations for a data scientist
According to Glassdoor, the average base salary expectations for a data scientist is around £42 000 per year as of 24 October 2018. Payscale’s salary expectations are at £35 7320. These will, however, vary greatly according to location, company, experience and seniority. Earnings as a data scientist would vary greatly. With bonuses and other benefits, a data scientist at Google is said to earn an average total pay of around $166,750
Finding employment as a data scientist
Women are currently also very underrepresented in the IT industry. Subsequently, the gender imbalance in the industry is well known. Women who want to work in this field should, therefore, visit Women in Technology
To look for employment as a data scientist, also try these websites.
Also, keep an eye on our STEM career guides page for a more detailed look at different top jobs in the UK.
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