How to build a career in Data Science

Data Science: How To Build A Career In The Sexiest Job Of The 21st Century

Avantika Monnappa

Published on August 7, 2015

With about 10 million openings in Big Data, Data Scientist has become the hottest job of the decade. As a data scientist, your role is to decipher large volumes of data and carry out further analysis to gain a deeper insight into what it all means.

With Big Data Analytic skills, you have more opportunities to move up the hierarchy in your career. Starting initially as a Data Analyst or Business Intelligence Analyst, you can gradually move up to positions like Data Scientist or Senior Data Scientist.

Preparing for a career in Data Science? Take this test to know where you stand! 

What Is The Lure of Getting Into Data Science?

According to LinkedIn, there is a huge demand for people who can mine and interpret data. Large number of companies are using such skills to ensure that they remain one step ahead of their competitors.   They see data mining as a valuable tool that will ensure organizations’ revenue levels to always remain high.  They also use it as a way of keeping overhead costs low.
In a study carried out by leading IT Service Firms in 2011, it has been predicted that there has will be a growth of 18.7% in companies looking for data scientists from 2010 until 2020.  The opportunities to get started, therefore, still current. 
Currently, the average salary for people who opt for a career in data science is around $118,000 per annum, which is almost double than that of a programmer.

And according to a study carried out by the McKinsey Global Institute, it is predicted that by 2018, there will be a shortage of people in the US who have in-depth analytical skills.  They predict that the number of people required to fill all positions will be between 114,000 and 119,000.
Thus, in an industry where opportunities are plenty, finding a suitable position after gaining the necessary qualifications shouldn’t prove difficult now or in the future. 

Stages of Your Career as a Data Scientist

The education requirements for Data Science roles are among the steepest in the IT industry.   Around 40% of all such positions today will need for you to hold an advanced degree.  It could be a Masters, an MBA, or a Ph.D.   There are, however, few companies that are happy to accept those who have earned only undergraduate diplomas.
There are several schools that also offer courses that are much more career focused.  These courses allow you to gain in-depth knowledge about certain aspects of the industry.   Once you have gained the necessary qualifications, most professionals can expect to earn around $78,000 a year.  But knowledge and experience, can help you earn as much as $130,000 a year. 
The kinds of roles that you can expect to take upon being certified:
  • Business Intelligence Analyst

As a BI Analyst, you will use the data provided to help figure out market and business trends.  The data you analyze will help you develop a clearer picture of where the company stands.  It will in turn help organizations to develop and improvise on their methods that affect productivity, and thereby reduce costs.
  • Data Mining Engineer

Your main role as a Data Mining Engineer, will be to examine not only the data for the business where you are employed but also that of third parties.  This, again, will help them improve productivity, and ramp up revenue generation.   Apart from analyzing data, you will have to create sophisticated algorithms to help analyze the data further.
  • Data Architect

This is turning into an important role in many businesses today.  Many companies now choose to use the services of a data architect rather than that of a data analyst or database designer.  This is because they have come to understand the need to integrate data from different sources.  In this role, you will work closely with users, system designers, and developers.
  • Data Scientist

As a Data Scientist, you will begin by translating a business case into an analytics agenda.  Most of your time will be spent on developing hypotheses and understanding data, as well as exploring patterns to measure what impact they will have on businesses.  A little of your time will also be spent on finding and choosing appropriate algorithms to help further analyze data better.
  • Senior Data Scientist

A senior data scientist can anticipate what a business’s future needs will be.  Apart from gathering data, they also analyze it thoroughly in order to resolve highly complex business problems efficiently. Through their experience, they can not only design but drive forward the creation of new standards.  Also, they will create ways for statistical data to get used and develop tools to help further analyze the data. 
There is the opportunity to earn a good living as a data scientist.  But to get there, you need to gain a high level of experience and be willing to train hard.  Online courses on Data Science have now made it possible to continue working in less senior positions, even as you study and learn.  Upon completion of your training/learning, you can then gain the qualifications needed to apply for more senior roles.
Data Science Certification Training - R Programming

Working As a Data Scientist

You'll find that your daily routine as a data scientist can be challenging but also rewarding.  Some of the skills you would need to utilize in your role will include data mining, and design of customized algorithms. 

You will also need to stay abreast of latest changes in the industry.  With new tools and techniques being developed, you need to know how to utilize these. Also, further training is vital, especially if you want to work your way up the career ladder. Taking courses to enhance your computer programming skills is also a good idea.
In addition, Data Scientists would need to be proficient in a number of tools, without which making sense of raw data could be difficult.

What Is the Outlook Like, For Certified Data Scientists?

You would enjoy one of the brightest outlooks when it comes to finding a job.  In fact, in a study carried out by EMC (a leading IT service firm) in 2011, it was found that the demand for such professionals will continue to increase.   In the USA alone, there is likely to be a shortfall of around 190,000 Data Science professionals, by 2018. This is a forecast by the McKinsey Global Institute, who have published a comprehensive report on the subject.  

And as demand for people to fill such positions increases, the salaries offered will do as well.  However, it is important to remember that your role as a data scientist differs greatly from that of a forecasting or modelling analyst. 

You aren’t just expected to explain what effect the data is going to have on a company in the future but also expected to help come up with solutions that will help the company to move forward now and in the future.
Also, the opportunities will prove to be endless as, over the next few years, as many as 4.4 million jobs are going to be created in the IT industry. Of these, a large number will revolve around the analysis of data, and around half are going to be located in the USA. 
Working as a data scientist may seem challenging for anyone who wants to stick to what they know.  But if you are willing to take a risk and step outside the box, then your prospects are very bright.  It won’t be long before you start to see a good return as you rise upward in your career ladder.
In terms of opportunities, major companies like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google, are always on the lookout for fresh talent.   As they amass large amounts of raw data, they need dynamic, certified Data Scientists to help them understand it better, and to leverage this data to drive their business.  

But it isn't just e-commerce where the hiring of such skilled professionals on the rise.  There has arisen a significant need for Data Scientists in the Healthcare domain as well.   The migration towards electronic patient records means that they are having to construct huge data sets.  They then need to be able to understand what all this data means, so that they can provide a high level of service to their patients.
Find Data Science fascinating? Want to become part of the Data revolution, sweeping across industries worldwide? Why not check out some of our Big Data and Analytics Certification Courses here?

Find here more about Simplilearn's Data architect bundle training.

About the Author

A project management and digital marketing knowledge manager, Avantika’s area of interest is project design and analysis for digital marketing, data science, and analytics companies. With a degree in journalism, she also covers the latest trends in the industry, and is a passionate writer.


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