How to Become a Data Scientist

Data science is a very broad field that includes scientific research, marketing data and government institutions. Those interested in the field can enter into the industry in a variety of ways and with different types of educational background. The field is diverse enough to offer many opportunities in different sectors.

What is a Data Scientist?

$100,660
Doctoral/Professional
None
None
28,200
19%
5,300
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

A data scientist is a technician skilled in drawing conclusions from large amounts of data. Some data sets may be seemingly unrelated but may still yield very important results. Data scientists need to be able to work with large sets of data and be able to produce conclusions thoroughly and accurately. They need to be extraordinarily conscientious about their work and need to be careful not to draw conclusions based on preexisting ideas.

Data scientists work in many industries. Marketing researchers are extremely common and are a well-paid and fast-growing industry. A data scientist that works with marketing researchers will often look through data to determine the best methods of lead retention, customer conversion or overall advertising methods. Data scientists may also work in the fields of scientific research, such as by measuring environmental changes in an area on a very detailed basis.

What Does a Data Scientist Do?

Specialized equipment and software is usually necessary based on the industry the data scientist is working in. The field offers moderate on-the-job training including internships for those interested in the industry. The academic and scientific research fields usually offer significant amounts of training. Data scientists will often need to consolidate data before they can use it. They may also need to check the data to ensure that it is accurate and in a format that can be used by the program.

Data scientists will then use the data to create and draw conclusions. They may work with different scientists or with marketers and other professionals to determine which information is relevant and the types of information the company is interested in. Scientists may be called upon to create complex reports and may need to present these reports to a company. The field is considered a subset of Computer and Information Research Science, which is reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to have growth about as fast as average.

How Do You Become a Data Scientist?

A data scientist usually requires a Bachelor’s Degree. In academic circles, a data scientist will often have a Master’s Degree or even a Doctorate in the field. Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists are one such field, which usually requires either significant knowledge or experience. O*Net Online shows that this field is an example of a data scientist field that is supported primarily by the government.

Those that run successful projects for the government may need to be renewed on a contract basis based on the results they are getting and the funding available for their industry. Those instead interested in the marketing field may instead be able to enter into the field through online marketing careers.

How Do You Advance as a Data Scientist?

Advancement as a data scientist is heavily dependent on the field that the scientist is involved in. Those involved in academia may be able to develop their career further through publications and through well-regarded projects. Those in marketing will often be able to advance through producing timely and important data that includes actionable strategies the company can use to increase their overall revenue. Data scientists with the government are mostly based on seniority and can advance through solid work and the consistent ability to meet deadlines.

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