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How to Become a Data Scientist

July 25, 2018

man in lab coat playing with cube representing data science

Big data is an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools, and it has overwhelmed businesses. What businesses do with that data has become increasingly important for daily operations. The demand for data organization has led to the rise of a new profession: data scientists.

A data scientist is a blend between a mathematician and a computer scientist, someone with a keen eye for trends within big data. As subject matter experts in statistics and analytical modeling, they use their knowledge to turn complicated data sets into easily-understood reports, which can help businesses make better decisions on a day-to-day basis.

Data scientists are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported jobs in data science are expected to rise 19 percent by 2026, and the Harvard Business Review called data scientist the sexiest job of the 21st century.

How to Become a Data Scientist: Responsibilities & Skills

The constant flow of data, which comes from multiple channels, can be difficult to interpret. The value of big data is the trends within it, and companies need someone who can find and assess those trends. Data scientists are trained to collect, research, and analyze large sets of data to make decisions in real time.

Data science is a competitive field where challenges with data never stop. Data scientists need to be adaptable to new technology, decisive, and analytical.

Having the necessary skills isn’t all a data scientist needs. Companies often expect familiarity with technical programs, such as Java and Python, among others.

While many positions allow for data scientists to work alone, it’s common for them to work on teams, particularly with electrical and computer hardware engineers.

Educational Requirements

While a master’s degree in computer science or a related field is required for a job as a data scientist, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an online Information Technology degree can be used as a launching point to enter the field.

Career Outlook and Salary

The BLS’s projected job growth for data science is estimated to add 5,400 jobs over the next 10 years. As data collection continues to grow, so will the need for data scientists. Growth in cyber security and software development could also factor into the demand for data scientists.

The median annual wage for computer and information research scientists was $114,520 in May 2017.

How to Become a Data Scientist

Lay the Foundation

Through King University’s flexible and online Information Technology degree, you’ll learn crucial skills needed to succeed in the field, such as critical-thinking and programming. King University’s online program allows you to pursue your education while balancing your busy life. If you’ve considered enhancing your industry knowledge or finishing your bachelor’s degree, King University can help you take that first step.