There are many paths to becoming a data scientist — here are a few different options:
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree — and a master’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, most computer and information research scientists — including data scientists — “need a master’s degree in computer science or related field, [like] computer engineering.” A master’s program will take you two years, after earning a four-year bachelor’s degree.
2. Get an entry-level job. You may want to pursue an advanced job, but for now, it’s likely you’ll need to start in an entry-level position, such as a data analyst or junior data scientist. You may want to consider system-specific training or certifications — such as data visualization, business intelligence applications or relational database management — to help get your first job.
3. Earn a master’s degree or a Ph.D. Data science is a field where your opportunities will be greater with a master’s or doctoral degree, so you may want to consider getting one! You can choose to pursue a master’s in computer science, information technology, math and statistics.
4. Get a promotion. With a higher degree, more career opportunities have been opened to you, and it may be time to go after a promotion — and earn a higher salary, too.
Data scientists work closely with business stakeholders to understand their goals and determine how data can be used to achieve those goals. They design data modelling processes, create algorithms and predictive models to extract the data the business needs, and help analyse the data and share insights with peers. While each project is different, the process for gathering and analysing data generally follows the below path:
1. Ask the right questions to begin the discovery process
2. Acquire data
3. Process and clean the data
4. Integrate and store data
5. Initial data investigation and exploratory data analysis
6. Choose one or more potential models and algorithms
7. Apply data science techniques, such as machine learning, statistical modelling, and artificial intelligence
8. Measure and improve results
9. Present final result to stakeholders
10. Make adjustments based on feedback
11. Repeat the process to solve a new problem
You need many skills to be a data scientist, but here are some that the Bureau of Labour Statistics thinks are especially important for the job: