How To Start A Career In Data Science

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These days big data and analytics are getting quite trending and carrying a certain type of buzz so it is no surprise if you are considering a career as a data scientist. But are you familiar with what exactly data science requires? And further on the question, if you are just stating do you know what skills are needed to become a data scientist? 

Today data science scene is different than the one back in time. Data scientists are not only found in the academic space like it used to be back in the day. With the rise of big data collection and growing need for its analysis, there is a high demand for data scientists in different industries, and in a variety of companies and organizations, both big and small. 

A data scientist should have various skills to be successful in their career, ranging from statistics to mathematics and computer programming. Mainly, data scientists are men – it is estimated that just about 10% of working in the data science industry are women. 

With an average annual salary of $113,436, it is easy to understand why data science is gaining popularity and attracting more people looking to start a rewarding career. 

What skills are required to become a data scientist 

Similar to all other jobs, the specific skills needed for a data scientist position will depend on the exact requirement and needs of the company or organization. But certain abilities and software knowledge is required for all data science jobs. Some of these include the ability to work with statistical programming languages (such as SAS or R) and database querying language (like SQL).

A data scientist should be familiar with basic statistics (distributions, tests, estimators), as well as machine learning methodology (random forests, k-Nearest neighbors, ensemble methods). Further skills include linear algebra and multivariable calculus, data logging, data-driven development of new products, as well as knowledge of Hadoop platforming and visualization tools (like HighCharts, Flare, and AmCharts). 

How to start your career in data science 

If you are looking to start your career as a data scientist, there are three different options you can choose from as a starting point. You can either start your self-education using platforms such as Udacity, attend a data science boot camp, or get a master’s degree from a graduate school. 

Each method comes with its pros and cons so consider these before making your decision and choose the best one for you. 

Pros and cons of self-education for data science 

A self-study in data science is convenient as you can attend the courses in your time and pace and from wherever you are. It is also quite cheap – different courses vary but are hardly more than $600 and some of them are free. And if you are committed you can finish the online education in as little as 8 to 18 months. 

Some of the cons include the fact that you get your certification only after completing the course, there is no real interaction with other students and teachers, and you will not receive assistance with finding a job upon completion of the course. 

Pros and cons of data science boot camps

A data science boot camp does not require a huge time commitment as most range from 6 weeks to 3 months. They are somewhat affordable and are perfect if you are looking into a quick career change. Many of these boot camps will offer to assist you in the job-hunting process upon completion. 

The downside is that you get no real-life work experience – just a project portfolio. And unlike the self-study method, where you get to choose your own pace, in a boot camp you have to be committed – the work can take up to 40 hours/week and there will be a lot to study in the short duration of the boot camp. 

Pros and cons of getting a master’s degree in data science 

The main pro is, of course, the fact that you will receive a diploma after graduating. And you will go through structured learning led by professional teachers, with enough time to learn the information. You will also gain some real-life experience as a lot of the programs offer internships. 

But keep in mind that getting a master’s degree in data science can be quite costly – ranging from $20,00 to $70,000, and it will also take a lot of time – from 9 to 20 months.