How to develop your career in data science

With 700,000 job openings expected to be available by 2020 (The Quant Crunch report, Burning Glass, Business-Higher Education Forum and IBM), it’s hard to believe that the term ‘Data Scientist’ was coined only nine years ago.


In the world of Big Data, demand is high for people who can decipher large volumes of data, analyse it and turn it into real insights that businesses can use to drive decisions. But not just anyone can become a data scientist and it is becoming increasingly difficult for employers to find the highly skilled professionals they need. Chris Rosebert, Head of Data Science and AI, Networkers, reveals the traits employers are looking for and how you can progress in the field of data science.


An education in data science

A natural interest in mathematics and computer science at an early age is a positive indication that you have the potential for a successful career in data science. The nature of a data scientist’s role is analytical so you will only succeed in this role if you are a critical thinker and a keen problem solver.


There is an expectation amongst employers for data scientists to have an advanced education. In fact, 88% of data scientists have a Master’s degree and 46% have PhDs (www.simplilearn.com) so if you want to stand a chance of earning this title, you’ll have to have a high level of education. Studying Computing, Maths, Statistics, Science or Engineering and gaining knowledge of different statistical methods is solid preparation for a data science career.


Experience to boost your employability

With your impressive education and proven knowledge of managing and interpreting data, you may be able to walk straight into a job as Junior Data Scientist. Through research or a placement year, you may have had the chance to gain industry experience and this will certainly help get your foot in the data science door.


Gaining experience in machine learning, statistical theory and programming languages like R and Python (the most common coding language used in data science) will put you in a great position to take on your first data science role. Aside from your CV, another way you can show your experience is by creating an online portfolio.


Stepping up the data science ranks

With demand for data scientists not being met by supply, there are plenty of career progression opportunities for people with the relevant skills and experience. From your role as a Junior Data Scientist, you may then drop the ‘junior’ part to become a Data Scientist before picking up the ‘senior’ title. Above that, are the roles of Lead Data Scientist and Head of Data Science.


As a Data Scientist in the UK, you can expect to earn between £55,000 to £80,000 per annum or £500 to £700 per day as a contractor.


Other skills to seal the deal

So you’ve got the education, you’ve gained the work experience but what else should you have in your armoury to get ahead in the data science game?


Aside from the technical skills in machine learning, statistical analysis and data mining, data scientists need to be able to work collaboratively with people across a business. Excellent communication skills are therefore key, alongside teamwork and the ability to present information in a simple and relevant way.


The world of Big Data is constantly growing and as a digital community we are able to source huge volumes of data from countless sources. Data scientists are in demand so if you’re keen to continuously learn, enjoy crunching code and driving real insight for businesses, visit our jobs pages to apply for our latest AI jobs.

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