Data Scientist Job Description: Role, Responsibilities, Skills Required & More

The data scientist is a new key player in organizations — a new breed of analytical data experts. They are part mathematicians, part computer scientists, ruling the world of big data. Businesses are now wrestling with volumes of unstructured information that’s a virtual gold mine, which can help boost revenue when unearthed. They really need professionals who can dig in and find valuable business insights. That is what the data scientist does; that is why they are highly sought after and well paid.   

Whether it’s the thrill of problem-solving or the hefty paychecks, the perks of being a data scientist are luring many IT professionals to take this career path. If you’re one of them, this article has everything you need to know about how to be a data scientist. 

Here, we’ll cover the data Scientist job description – what is a data scientist, what does a data scientist do, data scientist roles and responsibilities, data scientist skills, how to be a data scientist, and data scientist career path.  

Data Scientist Job Description

Organizations are increasingly using more and more data in their everyday operations. A data scientist interprets the raw data and extracts valuable meaning out of it. They then use this information to find patterns and develop solutions that an organization needs to grow and compete. 

If we have to define a data scientist, it would be someone who makes value out of data. Wondering what exactly is the job of a data scientist? Well, no points for guessing, a day of a data scientist revolves around - as the job title suggests - data and data everywhere.  

Post Graduate Program In Data Science

The Ultimate Ticket To Top Data Science Job RolesExplore Course
Post Graduate Program In Data Science

The data scientist job description involves fetching information from various sources and analyzing it to get a clear understanding of how an organization performs. The scientist uses statistical and analytical methods plus AI tools to automate specific processes within the organization and develop smart solutions to business challenges. After interpreting the data, they present the results in a clear and interesting way. The objective is to help the organization analyze trends to make better decisions. Thus, a good data scientist needs to have the right combination of technical, analytical, and communication skills. 

In order to understand the data scientist role, let’s first understand that the data scientist position has evolved and expanded from the data analyst job position. 

Both the data analyst and data scientist organize and analyze big data within an organization. But the data scientist has the additional role of using business sense and communication skills to influence how the organization tackles business challenges. 

Data scientists combine practical skills like coding and math with the ability for statistical analysis to achieve results. For instance, a data scientist working for a social networking site might analyze the types of pages users ‘Like’ and, based on that, decide what kind of advertisements users will see upon logging into their account. 

Data Scientist Roles and Responsibilities

Data scientist roles and responsibilities include:

  • Data mining or extracting usable data from valuable data sources
  • Using machine learning tools to select features, create and optimize classifiers
  • Carrying out preprocessing of structured and unstructured data
  • Enhancing data collection procedures to include all relevant information for developing analytic systems
  • Processing, cleansing, and validating the integrity of data to be used for analysis
  • Analyzing large amounts of information to find patterns and solutions
  • Developing prediction systems and machine learning algorithms
  • Presenting results in a clear manner
  • Propose solutions and strategies to tackle business challenges
  • Collaborate with Business and IT teams

Data Scientist Skills

To pursue data scientist careers, you need to master the skills required for data scientist jobs in various industries and organizations. Let’s take a look at the must-have data scientist qualifications.  

Key skills needed to become a data scientist:

  • Programming Skills – knowledge of statistical programming languages like R, Python, and database query languages like SQL, Hive, Pig is desirable. Familiarity with Scala, Java, or C++ is an added advantage.
  • Statistics – Good applied statistical skills, including knowledge of statistical tests, distributions, regression, maximum likelihood estimators, etc. Proficiency in statistics is essential for data-driven companies. 
  • Machine Learning – good knowledge of machine learning methods like k-Nearest Neighbors, Naive Bayes, SVM, Decision Forests. 
  • Strong Math Skills (Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra) - understanding the fundamentals of Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra is important as they form the basis of a lot of predictive performance or algorithm optimization techniques. 
  • Data Wrangling – proficiency in handling imperfections in data is an important aspect of a data scientist job description. 
  • Experience with Data Visualization Tools like matplotlib, ggplot, d3.js., Tableau that help to visually encode data
  • Excellent Communication Skills – it is incredibly important to describe findings to a technical and non-technical audience.
  • Strong Software Engineering Background
  • Hands-on experience with data science tools
  • Problem-solving aptitude
  • Analytical mind and great business sense
  • Degree in Computer Science, Engineering or relevant field is preferred
  • Proven Experience as Data Analyst or Data Scientist

How to Become a Data Scientist

If you are wondering how to get hired in a data scientist role, let me tell you such lucrative jobs don’t simply fall out of the sky, it takes time, effort, and knowledge.

To pursue data scientist careers, you have to devote time to learn data science, upgrade your skills, search for a job and prepare for interviews. Simplilearn’s Data Science Certification Courses offer an excellent way to learn all the skills we discussed here. 

Consider these to start your career as a data scientist.

  • Be Patient: you will apply for several jobs before bagging one
  • Build up Data Analytics, Programming, and Business skills. 
  • Be prepared to answer data science interview questions about how you would behave in various work situations. Remember, recruiters, are more interested in how you solve problems and how you tackle specific situations than your technical knowledge.  
  • Consider earning a certificate in Data Science or Business Analytics 
  • Create a portfolio to showcase some projects that you have done with real data

FREE Data Science With Python Course

Gain Mastery in Data Science with Python NowStart Learning
FREE Data Science With Python Course

How Much Do Data Scientists Make?

The demand and salary of data scientists tend to be higher than most other ITES jobs. Experience is one of the key factors in determining the salary range of a data science professional. 

According to ZipRecruiter, the average data scientist salary at entry-level is $69,000 annually. For moderately experienced data scientists, the annual compensation rises to $89,000, while for experienced data scientists, the salary is $1628,000. 

Data Scientist Career Path

Data Science is considered one of the most lucrative careers right now. Companies across all major industries/sectors have data scientist requirements to help them gain valuable insights from big data. There is a sharp growth in demand for highly skilled data science professionals who can straddle the business and IT worlds. 

The career path to becoming a data scientist isn’t clearly defined since this is a relatively new profession. People from different backgrounds like mathematics, statistics, computer science or economics, end up in data science. 

The options for data scientist careers are quite varied. Since data science is a multidisciplinary profession, there are exposure and exit options in numerous areas. 

The major designations for data science professionals are:

  • Data Analyst
  • Data Scientist (entry-level)
  • Associate data scientist
  • Data Scientist (senior-level)
  • Product Manager
  • Lead data scientist
  • Director/VP/SVP

That was all about Data Scientist Job Description.

Looking forward to becoming a Data Scientist? Check out the Data Science Bootcamp and get certified today.

Become a Data Scientist Today! 

In this write-up, we covered the Data Scientist Job Description in detail. Irrespective of which location you are in, there is no dearth of jobs for skillful data scientists. A career in data science is a rewarding journey to embark on, especially in the finance, retail, and e-commerce sectors. Jobs are also available with Government departments, universities and research institutes, telecoms, transports, the list goes on.

Learn the latest in data science with a very practical applied certification Bootcamp from Simplilearn - the PG Program in Data Science in partnership with Purdue University & in collaboration with IBM. This Bootcamp program is ideal for anyone looking to build a career in data science or someone looking to really accelerate their career in the field.

About the Author

SimplilearnSimplilearn

Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

View More
  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.