In this information technology, the role of data becomes crucial. Businesses use data to analyse market, predict trend, and develop future product. Because of this, those who wield the power of collecting, analysing, and interpreting data are also among those is high on demand in the worker’s market.
In a typical company, there are several roles regarding data management, from data miner to data analyst and data scientist. In this article, we’re going to focus on one of them, data scientist. What is a data scientist? What does a data scientist do? And for those who are already familiar with the title, the million dollar question, how to become one?
What is a Data Scientist?
Before learning to be one, you should first understand everything about data scientist. Therefore, you’ll be familiar with your goal and can consider by yourself, what steps you should take in order to be able to call yourself a data scientist.
Data scientist’s main job is to find information or insight from a set of data – usually very large and unstructured. Later, the information found by data scientist will be used for consideration when an institution wants to make a decision. For example, data scientist should be able to give statistical report on a company’s 10 year sales record, including pinpoint what product or service that is the most sought after and has probability to grow bigger. Later, managerial team may use this information to decide on ceasing production on one or more product that shows unsatisfactory performance.
With the rise of big data in 2010 onward, many industries find themselves in a need of person who knows where or how to obtain data about their business, analyses them, and finally gives recommendation on what action to take. This is what data scientists are paid for. The demand for data scientist in the job market is quite high.
How to Become a Data Scientist
1. Earn the Required Degree: Data science requires specific skills, skills that can’t be gained naturally, but must be earned. The skills are including math to programming, which can take a long time to learn even on one subject only. That’s why, college degree in either math, statistic, information technology, or business management is important for data scientist, because it means that they already have basic requirement to be one.
2. Master The Basic Skills: Data science is an interdisciplinary that requires understanding across many subject, from math, to statistic, to code, to business management. Therefore, you must first have thorough understanding on the basic of each of these subject.
In math and statistic, you’ll be expected to be familiar dealing with a large number of data, to know how to separate useful information with the junk one and make the data friendlier. You should also have a solid understanding of basic statistic like doing statistical test or distribution. You’ll also be expected to be familiar with programming language, especially Phyton, R and SAS – three of the most widely used language in data scientist.
If you don’t take any major that teach math, statistic, business management, or information technology, you can still arm yourself with these skills by enrolling yourself in courses or hiring private tutor.
3. Apply for Internship in Related Company: Having solid foundation in the theory you’ve learned previously is good point, but you’ll also need experience to deal with the real data. Unlike case studies and exercise in textbook, real world data is usually extremely messy. There’s so many junk information that needs to be separated and cut.
Before you apply for data scientist job, you can try the experience by interning in company you’re interested at. During internship, most likely you’ll get a good look at how real data is different than just any data. Interning will help you to be familiar with the problem you’ll be solving later when you finally have your dream job.
4. Apply for the Job: After you’ve tried the taste of working with real data, it’s time to take the definite step into your dream. By this time, you should already have a good CV, with your education degree, certified skills, and experience as intern. It may seems scary to actually apply for real job this time, but that’s where the thrill is.
Data scientist is often not entry level job, although some smaller companies may put it as one. That means, you should be willing to start as something else other than data scientist. Usually, the entry level is data analyst, where you are expected to collect and analyse the data, but not necessarily expected to give recommendation to the managerial about decision making. However, some companies actually blur the line between data analyst and data scientist.
Whatever company you choose to apply, be sure to research it beforehand. Find what kind of people works there in LinkedIn, see if they have shared any story about their job, and try to grasp an understanding about what kind of job you will be performing there. During interview, make sure to ask some question that will give you clearer understanding about your post.
5. Keep Your Skill Up To Date: If you manage to pass the requirement and get the job, then congratulation! It’s time to perform and show the world what you’ve learned before. However, don’t think that you’ve lived your dream yet. Make sure you stay at the top of your game, because new recruit for data scientists will keep appearing year by year, and you don’t want to get drowned in competition.
Make sure all of your skill that is related to data scientist are up to date. Since your field of work is related closely with technology and business, expect everything to not last long. Technology develops, market changes, and so does the way you do your job.
Get in touch with other data scientist and share experience and insight, follow news in big data and anticipate the change. Refresh your knowledge every year by attending training, workshop, seminar, and such.
To become a data scientist, you need to work hard, but it’s not impossible. This article shows that all you need is good planning and commitment to do the plan, and your dream to become a data scientist will be well within your reach.