A lit up number 5 against a dark red background.
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How to become a data scientist in 5 easy(ish) steps

15 Oct 2020

Data scientists are a hot commodity in today’s market. So how do you become one?

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Many companies now draw on a range of data science skills across their businesses. And in the post-pandemic world, knowledgeable data professionals will be crucial for business recovery and continuity. So, if you’re thinking of becoming one, there are some steps you can take to get started.

Data scientists’ main responsibilities revolve around organising data. Using programming languages such as Python, they harness distributed computing, predictive modelling and storytelling to do their job.

On average, a data scientist working in Ireland earns just under €50,000 a year, according to Glassdoor. Data skills are being adopted more widely, too. Analytics can be used to help inform diversity and inclusion initiatives, for example, and there are opportunities for data scientists, analysts and engineers across diverse projects and industries.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in this sector, online training platform Data Flair recommends you begin by asking yourself the “right questions”. These can include, ‘Am I willing to constantly upskill?’ and, ‘Do I really enjoy solving problems?’ Getting a grasp on how you feel about specific points like these can help you set more realistic expectations.

Then, it’s time to focus on skills. The prerequisites to a career in data science, according to Data Flair, involve a combination of technical and non-technical skills, such as coding, analytical tools, communication skills and “exceptional curiosity”.

Steps three and four focus on honing your knowledge. Data Flair suggests a number of books every beginner should read, including Doing Data Science by Cathy O’Neil and Rachel Schutt, as well as the certifications you could consider.

The final step is applying for jobs. If you’re passionate about data and have made it through the previous steps on the list, you’ll hopefully be feeling confident about taking a step into the world of data science.

Infographic on how to become a data scientist.

Click to enlarge. Infographic: Data Flair

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Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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