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The ISBF Blog

Data Scientist Skills

The Surge of Data Scientists and Why It's a Must-Have Skill

Posted on June 03, 2019 by Srishti Nayar  | Academics | Blog

With a surge of data taking over the Internet and our everyday lives, Data Science has emerged as a highly sought-after field. Data Scientists are on everyone’s hiring radar, and this makes it a top-notch skill to possess in coming times.

However, with an overload of information available on the subject, it can be a daunting task to understand what data science constitutes of and what data scientists actually do.

Let’s take a closer look!

Data Scientists - An Overview

In layman terms, Data Scientists are experts at programming and statistical techniques, who have a keen analytical mind to spot latent trends in huge sets of data, and use them to solve complex business or organisational problems. Initially, since the data being collected was in smaller quantities, it was possible for business managers without any technical training to identify business problems. However, with organisations collecting humongous amounts of consumer data today, Data Scientists have become indispensable.

With the advent of the Digital Era, things took a drastic turn and piles and piles of data started getting stored at one place. The glaring question then was, ‘who’s going to dig deep and reap information from that data for the benefit of the organisation?’ And the answer came in the form of Data Scientists, who are trained to do just that, often by resolving problems that businesses didn’t even know existed, and thus increasing the company’s revenues manifold.

As a result of what they can potentially contribute to a company’s top line, Data Science is fast becoming one of the highest paying career paths in today’s day and age. After all, it has been tagged as one of the sexiest jobs of the 21st century by Harvard Business Review (HBR) because it’s not just intellectually stimulating, but also allows one a life of monetary abundance.

What skills do you need to become a Data Scientist?

Data Scientists routinely have to sort through heaps of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data using sophisticated techniques in order to derive usable insights that can drive better decision-making. To do this successfully, a Data Scientist must:

  1. Possess strong quantitative proficiency, with a thorough training in programming, mathematics and statistics.
  2. Understand how multiple software and programming languages like Stata, Python, Tableau and R function, so that you can harness the full potential offered by a dataset.
    1. R - Having knowledge of programming languages is one of the most important requirements of a Data Scientist, R being the most preferred. According to different studies, 43% of data scientists use this language as it offers immense success rates.
    2. Stata - From data wrangling to reporting, Stata provides the tools you need to accomplish your analyses. Therefore, most professionals in the field rely on Stata because of its strong encoding capabilities and extensibility.
    3. Tableau: Tableau is one of the most popular Data Visualization tools used by Data Science and Business Intelligence professionals today. It enables you to create insightful, impactful and interactive visualizations (like graphs and charts).
    4. Python - A rather versatile language, having the knowledge of coding in Python along with Java, C++, etc., only adds to your skill set and job proficiency.
  3. Understand areas like deep learning, machine learning and business analytics.
  4. Perhaps most importantly, have domain knowledge of business and management, so that she/he can ask the right questions of the data, and then use the insights gleaned to actually solve real business problems.

Educational Qualifications Required

A person interested in becoming a Data Scientist should look to earn a first degree in quantitative fields like Computer Science, Statistics, Physics, Mathematics or Economics, to name some, and use this as a base to obtain a postgraduate qualification in Data Science, preferably one that also emphasises domain knowledge of business and management.

So in sum, if you are inquisitive by nature and love to play with numbers, read data and find solutions to problems, Data Science can definitely be an intriguing career to explore, along with it being one of the most lucrative and future-proof jobs in the market.

Read more about How to Build Careers in Data Science

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