How to Become a Data Scientist?

January 19, 2023
data scientist

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As big data technologies have been rising for a decade or two, the demand for data scientists in India has grown exponentially. The biggest reason is the drastic increase in unprocessed data all over the world. Data Science is not just a by-product of IT but has evolved more as an academic role that turns data into profit or efficient policies. If you’re wondering how to become a data scientist, you’ve come to the right place.

According to AIM research, the demand for data scientists has risen by 30.1% this year. Data science has now been exposed to multiple corners of the industry, creating numerous career opportunities.

In this article, you will understand-

  • Data Scientist meaning
  • How to become a data scientist
  • The roles & responsibilities of a data scientist
  • Skills and qualifications required
  • Data Science job growth

So let us begin by understanding what a data scientist actually does.


What Does a Data Scientist do?

The answer to this question is complex, as data science is not just juggling data and finding solutions. It is a fusion of data, curiosity, creativity, tools, and understanding of the subject.

Becoming a data scientist requires knowledge about the industry and understanding the existing assumptions for clear and better results.

Data science is really useful for a company in its planning stage. It eventually helps in better management of problems, and political analysis, or gives solutions for any social problem or existing predictive models.

Data Scientist Job Responsibilities (Detailed)

  • The data scientist’s work includes collecting, analysing, process, giving a structure and interpreting data for the untrained eyes to make sense of the numbers. They are not restricted to the primary and secondary data sources but also use other sources, such as social media platforms, social chat rooms etc., to find a better result for the given problem.

  • They provide solutions for businesses using data-related techniques like statistical distributions and tests. Besides these tools, data scientists also use tools like machine learning, text analytics and deep learning, which includes going beyond and above the primary and secondary data.

  • Data scientists are a bridge between IT and Business/ society. They collaborate and communicate with people from other fields and find the orders and patterns in data. It helps them to see the trends and help with the root cause of the problem or a new policy.

  • They check the parameters and patterns to understand the unstructured data set using algorithms, scientific methods and processes.

  • Other than making sense of the random data, they also participate in creating tools for utilising the data. They may also contribute to the creation of AI tools for the same.

  • Moreover, they are responsible for organised data storage, which could be used in the future.

Who Can Be a Data Scientist?

Data scientists are analytical experts who gather and analyse large amounts of data to solve problems or prove a point. They collect large sets of structured or unstructured data based on the subject and use various computer science, math, and statistics tools to interpret data for more comprehensible results.

To become a data scientist, a person must have strong analytical skills and knowledge of math, statistics, and programming languages. If the data in daily life makes sense to someone, they might have what it takes to become a data scientist.

Data Scientist Skillset

  • Typically, it takes a strong interest in math and computer science aided by a curiosity about finding patterns among numbers. An expert data scientist does not stay restricted to conventional sources of information. They usually know where to find the data. It could come from emails, social media posts, etc.

  • They must have good data intuition to understand and find valuable information in any of these sources. The insights are not always easily found in the given data set while working on the projects.

  • Data scientists must be knowledgeable enough to understand different types of data. This will make them more efficient. They can attend training sessions and boot camps to acquire these data-driven skills.

  • They have to be data-driven and have strong data visualization to become an expert in the job, as, with these skills, they will be able to find the patterns in the data.

  • Some experience in working with large amounts of data is a plus when it comes to becoming a data scientist. Along with this, if they can get some experience in machine learning and statistical modeling, it could prove beneficial.

  • A data scientist must also be a good communicator, as the ideas and patterns found from the complex data need to be disseminated to the organization’s other stakeholders. Strong communication skills will enable them to make the data analysis and predictions interesting and easy to understand for others.

Data Scientist Qualifications and Requirements

To become a data scientist, candidates need a combination of technical and non-technical skills. Some of them include the following:

Basic Knowledge of Programming

Knowledge of programming languages is a must to become a data scientist. Students can start by learning programming languages like Python, C++ and C, SQL server and Java. While Python is the most common language used for coding, knowledge of other languages will help extend their expertise domain.

These programming languages are essential as they help to restructure the data set to make it more understandable. Students can also opt to use R programming which for statistical computing. It supports most machine learning algorithms for advanced analytics and data management.

Know the Analytical Tools

A data scientist armed with the proper analytical tool could find the best patterns and trends in any data. The IT-enabled tools such as SAS, Spark, Pig, Hive, Hadoop, Talend, Scoop, Flume, and others make it easier to analyse large amounts of data and find its patterns and trends.

This makes the process of extracting data much more effortless. They can opt for various certificates and free courses offline and online to get the hang of any of these analytical tools.

Statistical Knowledge is a Must

Statistics forms a strong base for data scientists’ jobs. Learning probability and mathematical analysis is an essential part of data science.

The skill of probability ensures that the data scientist can look at the bigger picture. Mathematical analysis deals with limits and theories related to data science, it also teaches the tools like integration, measure, differentiation, analytic functions and infinite series, all of which enable a data scientist to process a large amount of data in a structured manner.

Problem-Solving Skills

A very necessary skill for being a data scientist is the ability to handle complexity. Problem-solving skill is quite essential for data science, as it helps in analyzing large data sets and developing effective solutions for multiple problems whenever required. And for this, it is very important to have clarity in data science concepts.

Related Read: How to become a software engineer

Data Scientist vs. Data Analyst 

Data Science and Data Analytics are two highly interconnected fields. In fact, they usually go hand-in-hand. However, the major points of difference are listed below

Job Growth & Average Salary

The average salary of a Data Scientist in India with less than a year’s experience starts from Rs 4.5 lakhs per annum. However, with experience, the salary growth is high in data science, where the salary with eight years of experience could be as high as Rs 25.8 Lakhs per annum on average.

Data Scientist Salary

There has been a considerable growth in the median salary of data scientists to Rs 16.8 lakhs annually, up by 25.4% in 2021. The number of data science professionals earning Rs 15-25 LPA and Rs 25-50 LPA bracket grew from 14.5% to 20.5% and 7.8% to 13.7%, respectively, against the growth in 2021. (Source: Economic Times)

Data Scientist Demand

In India, the data science industry is predicted to see enormous growth by 2026. the demand for data scientists in India is at an all-time high, and it has been expected that the field will create 11 Million job openings by 2026.

There is also a growing demand for experienced data scientists who have worked in other companies and have already gained experience creating new products and services. They may have worked on projects with a lot of data involved, which means they have the skills needed to handle vast amounts of data and use it to develop something new and innovative.

Top Recruiters for Data Scientists

Data Scientists are in high demand across all industries. While there are many different types of companies, the following industries employ more data scientists than any other industry:

Healthcare

Healthcare is one of the largest employers of data scientists, with 1 in 4 employees working as data scientists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 18,300 new jobs for data scientists by 2026.

SaaS Companies

SaaS (Software as a Service) companies need to collect large amounts of data from their customers, which requires data scientists to analyse and extract valuable information. These companies also have high employee turnover rates due to their fast-paced environment.

Financial Services

Financial services have been a hotbed for data scientists because they require a deep understanding of financial markets and their workings. This knowledge can only be gained through years of experience or education at a university-level program like an MBA or PhD program.

Here are some of the top recruiting companies for Data Scientists:

Amazon

Amazon is usually looking for data scientists who have significant experience working with large datasets and who can help them use these datasets for making decisions on where to locate their headquarters or other important business decisions.

Microsoft

Microsoft has been hiring many people from across the globe since 2012, when it opened its first data centre in Amsterdam. The company has now set up more than 160 locations worldwide and is looking for people with expertise in machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics and more so that they can help them improve their products.

IBM

IBM has an open job listing database where people can browse working on projects and available jobs and applies for them directly through their website. There are also several internships available at IBM’s Watson Research Center in New York City, where students can work on real-world problems while earning money while they complete their coursework.

While these are the industries where data scientists and data analysts are demanded, there are a few companies in India where data scientists can get lucrative offers. The companies are as follows:

  • Citrix
  • Myntra
  • Amazon
  • Fractal Analytics
  • Deloitte
  • LinkedIn
  • MuSigma
  • Sigmoid

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Data Scientist an IT job?

Not solely focused on IT, the job of a data scientist could be called an IT-enabled data management job. Unlike an IT job, where the main focus is on technological advancement and issues, data scientists work on enabling an organisation with data management using IT skills.
They are a fusion of computer science, statistics and math that discover any information from the given/collected data.

What are the top 3 required skills for a data scientist?

1. Programming: Data scientists need to be well-versed in programming languages like Python, R, and SQL.
2. Statistical Analysis: Data scientists need to have a strong understanding of probability, data mining, and statistics.
3. Data Visualization: Data scientists need to be able to effectively visualize data to better communicate their findings.

Is it hard to become a Data Scientist?

Yes, the job of a data scientist is not easy and comes with challenges. Even with all the skills like knowledge of computer science, statistics and math, they could find themselves struggling due to increased competition in the field in recent years. Furthermore, the enormous size of data is another challenge many data scientists face, and thus they need sound data science skills to perform well on the job.

Is data science a good career?

The demand for data scientists has increased exponentially in the past few years because of the growing data load. Everything is becoming computerised; thus, the data needs to be managed efficiently. According to Glassdoor, data scientists earn Rs 116100 per annum on average. Job opportunities are increasing, and there is no decline in sight.

What qualifications do I need to be a data scientist?

Some data scientists have a background in formal, undergraduate, graduate and doctorate education in statistics, mathematics or computer science. This makes it easier for them to enter the data science domain as they already have most of the required skills. Many online and offline universities provide courses specifically related to data science.

To read more related articles, click here.

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