A good data scientist requires special skills in mathematics and python. If you think you have what it takes to become a data scientist, then there are hundreds of jobs awaiting you. Anyone with good data mining and statistical analysis skills are guaranteed to be hired as a data scientist. On average, a data scientist earns approximately $600,000 a year.

How To Become A Data Scientist

The demand for Data scientists has increased over the years. Companies are constantly looking to hire skilled candidates to take care of their data requirements. Here are a few tips to help kick start a career as a data scientist.

  • It is important to learn about distributed computing.
  • Take a course in Computational Linear Algebra, commonly known as Applied Linear Algebra or Numerical Analysis.
  • One should learn how to work with a Linux cluster and be able to design scalable distributed algorithms.
  • Study the basics of networking and distributed systems.
  • After that focus on distributed databases and learn about statistical analysis.
  • Start learning statistics by experimenting with real data and coding with R.
  • Choose a field that teaches the use of quantitative statistics, causality principles, molecular biology, or even cancer research.
  • Learn about optimization. You also need to understand machine learning and signal processing algorithms.

Skills Needed To Become A Data Scientist

If you are interested in landing a job as a data scientist, you need to possess a certain set of skills. These skills are mentioned to help you become a successful data scientist.

  • Basic Tools: Every company that you interview for would expect you to have basic knowledge of tools like Python, R and even knowledge of languages such as SQL.
  • Basic Statistics: A data scientist needs to have a basic understanding of statistics. You should be familiar with distributions, statistical tests, maximum likelihood estimators, and thing like this. You also need to know the basics of machine learning.
  • Machine Learning: If you are hired by a company that deals with huge data, you need to be familiar with machine learning techniques. You need to be familiar with machine learning buzzwords like random forests, k-nearest neighbors, and ensemble methods. You also need to understand the broad strokes.
  • Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra: You need to be well versed with basic linear algebra or multivariable calculus questions. Although not a compulsion, it is good for a data scientist to know this information to excel in this field.
  • Data Munging: A data scientist will never get data that will be easy to work with. If that was the case, anyone could analyze the data. The data would most likely be messy to work with. A data scientist needs to know how to deal with imperfect data such as missing values or inconsistent string formatting or even incorrect date. This skill will be most critical when a small company starts up or with a company that is not data driven.
  • Data Visualization & Communication: These are the two most important skills to have as a data scientist. Data scientists are usually employed as people with a vision and help the company make data driven decisions. This means that the data scientist needs to anticipate problems with the data and be familiar with visualization tools such as d3.js and ggplot.
  • Software Engineering: If you are a data scientist with a small company, having a software engineering background is important. This is needed due to data logging tasks and development of data driven products.
  • Think Like A Data Scientist: Before becoming a data scientist, you need to think like one. You may be asked about data driven products or development of such products. You need to know what is important and what is not. Data scientists also need to know how to work with product managers and engineers.

A job as a data scientist is very much in demand. Developing your skills towards building a career as a data scientist is critical to staying prepared and getting hired for these jobs.

So you are good at math and python and you are able to use data cleansing tools? Chances are you are qualified to be a data scientist. If that is the case, go on and become one today. A recent study proved that people with ‘statistical analysis and data mining’ skills have been hired the most. Stats have also shown that the average salary paid for a data scientist is approximately $650,000.

Tips For Aspiring Data Scientists

The demand for data scientists is increasing by the day. The good news is that the demand is a lot more than the supply. With the rising popularity of data scientists, companies are looking to hire the best and candidates need to be at their best to land these jobs. To become successful as a data scientist, here are a few tips.

  • For Students: Focus on academics during and after graduation. Data scientists can come from any field, namely – econometrics, biostatistics, computer science, engineering, applied mathematics, physics, and many other disciplines that are interrelated. Students need to learn to apply scientific methods to various disciplines and conduct research to enjoy a fruitful career as a data scientist. Students should also stay updated with all research trends.
  • For Graduates: Having a strong background in business and strategy can lay the perfect foundation for a career as a data scientist. Data scientists should always ask questions regarding the business they are working with, where the data is coming from, who is the receiver of this data, and so on. Understanding these aspects of the data can help data scientists find information that could potentially reshape the company itself. Understanding the underlying details helps data scientists have a direction to their research and helps come up with findings as well.

Is This Career Path Right For You?

If you are someone who loves analyzing dashboards and programming throughout the day, then you are perfect for the role of a data scientist. Data scientists usually spend a lot of their spare time writing various programs and trying to analyze data for relevant information that may help their research. Many data scientists also write programs or conduct analysis just for fun. Their love for data is incomparable and their passion for research and analysis is what saves a company on most occasions.

Why Are Data Scientists In Demand?

While firms like Amazon, Google or Netflix have extensive data science groups, non tech companies like Walmart, Gap, and Neiman Marcus have also started recruiting data scientists. They hope that such professionals will help unveil information about their company that can generate revenue or even streamline the business. Most often data scientists have to create their own software programs to analyze data.


Data scientists need three basic skills to be successful – computer literacy, math / statistics, and sound knowledge of any business domain. New York University organizes a program that enhances these skills. So, when a student graduates, they are well equipped to become a successful data scientist. However, if a student has not gone through a college course, it is absolutely fine. A company named Metis has started offering 12 week boot camps for data science. This program costs approximately $14,000 and most of the students that come here hold a Master’s or PhD. As soon as the program ends, most of the students, if not all, have credible jobs and start their career as data scientists on the right note. Boot camps and online courses are helpful for candidates to learn and enhance all their skills. Not everyone possesses strong skill sets in all fields. Such boot camps focus on the weak areas and help candidates develop it.