How to be a data scientist
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How to become a data scientist in 8 easy(ish) steps

26 Oct 2016

With data mining and analytic skills ranking as the second most desirable skill of 2016, it’s clear that data science is becoming a popular career track.

From rumblings in the industry to loud proclamations at recruitment fairs, data science has staked its claim as one of the most in-demand skill sets right now.

We’ve heard from industry professionals that there will be millions of jobs in data science over the next number of years. These roles will be required across a huge variety of sectors, not just in top tech companies.

The problem is that what we have in jobs, we currently lack in suitable candidates. The data science sector is crying out for candidates and, while more people are moving towards the rapidly growing tech sector, they might not be aware of roles outside of coding, computing or engineering.

What does a data scientist do? Where are the data science roles? How would someone even begin to train as a data scientist? If these questions are holding you back from considering a career in data science, you might be surprised to find out how straightforward your training could be.

But first, you need to know what it is. Put simply, data science is a multidisciplinary field that involves reading and processing data, extracting knowledge from that data, and being able to visualise, analyse and explain that data in a comprehensive way.

How to become a data scientist

Now that you know what a data scientist does, you can become one. Data science is all about maths and stats, so you would need to brush up on your mathematical skills. A data scientist would also need analytical and presentation skills. They would have to be able to read and understand data and analyse it successfully.

They would also require technical skills involving computer science, end-to-end development, and coding with programs such as Python, R and SAS. A data scientist would also need to be comfortable with databases such as Oracle and MySQL.

DCU launched its BSc in data science earlier this year – the first of its kind in Ireland – to answer the industry call for talent in the data science sector. This degree will train you in the skills we have outlined for you to enter the field of data science.

Once you have the skills you need, you need to understand the workflow of a data scientist, from the collection of data all the way to the end report. You should also start connecting with industry professionals and develop your own intuition and interest in the field. Consider where you want to use your data science skills.

Once you’ve honed your skills, developed your industry knowledge and grasped where your interest in the field lies, it’s time to develop your practical knowledge; from internships and graduate positions up to your dream job.

With so many companies looking for data scientists and analysts, you’ll be spoiled for choice once you have the skills and training you need.

Click the infographic for full view.

Data Science in eight steps

Infographic: DataCamp

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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