How to Become a Data Scientist
We generate a lot of data. From our collection of facebook likes, the photos on our digital cameras, and every email we send, to measuring carbon emissions and stock trends. It is estimated that at least 2.5 quintillion bytes (or exabytes) of data is produced every day.
We are in constant use of that data as well. As we generate more and more raw data and find more and more applications for that data we need a greater number of people to wrangle big data.
Equal parts mathematician, computer scientist, trend analyst, and problem solving expert–data scientists are in high demand today. Data science isn’t just in need at Google either, from Walmart to political campaigns understanding the mass of raw data we produce has become essential to modern businesses.
So what are some of the upsides of a career in data science? Check out these statistics:
Avg. Data Scientist Salary
Open Job Listings
What Is Data Science?
Data science is a high-tech career path that focuses on managing data and databases. In the modern information age, data is everything–lots of individual pieces of information drive the systems we rely on today.
Data science figures out what to do with all of this information, how to store it, how to interpret it, and convert it from raw data into usable information.
To accomplish these tasks, data scientists use databases and other tools to organize and interpret data. Databases are like digital filing cabinets, complete with sorting systems and other vital features. Databases are used for everything from keeping tabs on inventory at a lumber yard to helping you find relevant information when you search for something on Google.
Data mining and other tasks are also a common element of data science, as companies constantly look for ways to improve advertising and products. Data is the main driver of many parts of the technology industry, and it’s hugely important to the modern economy. Data science is the profession that manages all of these things, and constantly improves and creates new ways to work with data more efficiently.
What do Data Scientists Do?
Data scientists create and manage databases. Additionally, these highly trained professionals use coding languages such as Python to create software programs. Data scientists also manipulate large swaths of otherwise impossibly mundane and (seemingly) useless data into useful information, which companies and agencies can use to improve their products or analyze trends.
Data interpretation is an important part of a data scientist’s job. Companies often hire data scientists to help them streamline their databases, or transition from other forms of data storage. Additionally, machine learning and artificial intelligence are a growing responsibility for data scientists, especially in high-tech fields.
Data Science Job Description
Due to the complexity and variety found in the field, data scientists do not always have a clear job description. For example, data scientists often perform the work of data analysts, in addition to other duties–but they aren’t data analysts.
As you can see, the job responsibilities for data scientists vary widely between companies and industries. Data scientist responsibilities can vary within a company as well. Data science is a highly specialized career path, and vitally important to scores of industries.
Now, let’s take a look at the different types of careers found under data science:
A data analyst is close to a data scientist, but they don’t handle big data. This may seem like a small distinction, but it’s like the difference between an auto engineer and an aeronautical engineer. They use a lot of the same methods and ideas, but not all of those methods and ideas translate between the two fields. A data analyst requires less education and experience over a data scientist.
A data engineer is like an evolved data scientist. They typically need considerable experience as a data scientist, and they develop the code, software, tools, and infrastructure that data analysts and data scientists use every day. They need to be talented programmers especially, with good knowledge of and ability with APIs.
What Are the Required Skills for Data Science Careers?
Data scientists must be well-trained in many subjects, including math and coding. And while programming is an important part of the job, data scientists need to know more than just a few coding languages to work in the field. Here are a few of the most important skills data scientists need to adopt:
How Much Do Data Scientists Make?
Data science, like many careers in the tech industry, has the potential to be very lucrative. Data scientists themselves earn more than many other tech workers, even with the same level of education or experience. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a data scientist in the U.S. is $108,224.
However, salaries can vary widely between companies and regions. In the table below, we’ve highlighted the average salaries for data scientists in 15 major metropolitan areas.
|San Francisco, CA||$131,964|
|Los Angeles, CA||$110,896|
|New York, NY||$106,784|
But your salary as a data scientist will also depend greatly on the particular field you’re working in, as well as your experience level.
|Entry-Level (0-5 Years)||$79,000|
|Mid-Career (5-10 Years)||$108,000|
|Experienced (10-20 Years)||$120,000|
|Late-Career (20+ Years)||$145,000|
Data Science Coding Languages
When considering how to become a data scientist, it’s important to understand the programming language skills required by the position. Coding is a big part of data science jobs, and it’s absolutely necessary when advancing in the field. Here, we’ll go over the most popular (and important to learn) data science coding languages and tools.
How Can You Become a Data Scientist?
If managing databases, coding with SQL, and interporating large data sets sounds like a career you’d like to pursue, continue reading. Data science jobs are everywhere, and there’s a notable shortage of qualified candidates. That means now is a great time to get into the industry.
However, data scientists typically must have some sort of formal education–not as a requirement of all these positions, but to learn the complex job. Here are the most popular data science education options.
Data Science Learning Paths
What Companies Are Hiring Data Scientists?
Data scientists work in a wide variety of industries. The need for competent, safe, and up-to-date data management programs and personnel span between the financial sector all the way to manufacturing and retail. However, the center for data science opportunity lies in the tech industry. Here are four major tech giants who employ data scientists, along with some average self-reported salaries.
Data Science Positions: 132
Average Salary: $145,000
Data Science Positions: 200
Average Salary: $140,000
Data Science Positions: 583
Average Salary: $124,000
Data Science Positions: 245
Average Salary: $141,000
2020 Best Data Science Bootcamps
Will coding bootcamp help me get a job?
Absolutely! Coding bootcamp is a proven way to train for a job in tech. Many coding bootcamps offer job guarantees, and some refund tuition if graduates can’t find a job in the field they trained for. In fact, coding bootcamp teaches skills that many college computer science graduates lack.
How much do coding bootcamps cost?
Coding bootcamp tuition varies. Coding bootcamps in New York City cost around $10,000 to $20,000. However, many scholarships and tuition deferment programs are available, so what you see doesn’t have to be what you pay.
What are income share agreements?
Income share agreements, or ISAs, are a new way to pay for education. These programs defer tuition until after students graduate and find a job in the industry. Once students are employed and making above a certain income threshold (usually $40-60,000 per year) they begin paying a fixed percent of their income, often for around 2 years. If students can’t find a job, many bootcamps waive the cost of tuition.
Do I have to learn coding to work in the tech industry?
You don’t have to learn coding to work in the tech industry. In fact, there are several non-coding bootcamps in New York City. These programs train you for a position in tech sales, marketing, or product management–all of which are well-paid positions with plenty of advancement opportunity.