How to become a data scientist
Education is the first place to start if you want to become a data scientist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employers require data scientists to have at least a bachelor’s degree to be qualified for a position. The degree can be in computer science, data science, statistics, mathematics or a similar field. Some employers prefer that employees have a master’s degree.
These professionals often benefit from the knowledge they can attain with information technology degrees that help them set up programs to collect and analyze data. You can even specialize in data with a bachelor’s in data science to learn skills such as data analytics, data management, data visualization and business intelligence. Technical know-how will help you collect data and develop programs that sort through thousands of data points and report them clearly.
However, many data scientists also need business acumen. Knowledge of your industry will help you understand why certain data points are important and how they can be used to make decisions. You might benefit from a business internship or job shadowing program to grow your knowledge base.
Data scientists also have to contextualize the information they collect for the people who review it. They have to explain what it means and why it’s relevant. As a result, soft skills like logical thinking, clear communication and problem-solving are often in demand for these professionals. Developing these skills early in your career can make it easier for you to slide into a data scientist role.
When entering a specific industry, employers may also prefer or require industry-related experience or education as part of the qualifications. For example, data scientists working in the business or marketing sector may need business administration or management experience. Likewise, data scientists working in finance or accounting may need a background in those disciplines.
Additional certifications for data scientists
Some data science jobs require specific software expertise or certification that can help prepare employees to work with certain systems or within certain industries. If you feel you might benefit from additional certification or courses to boost your data science skill set, here are a few popular certifications you can seek out:
- IBM Data Science Professional Certificate: Prepares you to use IBM products and tools related to data science. Focuses on data science methodology, SQL and Python.
- Microsoft Certified Data Science Path: There are multiple Microsoft data science certifications. They incorporate the role of machine learning in collecting and analyzing data.
- SAS Certified Data Scientist: A global certification program with a focus on SAS tools. You can focus your certification on data curation, advanced analytics or artificial intelligence.
Seek out these data science programs on your own or talk to your manager about completing them through your organization. Your employer might see the benefits of investing in a data scientist certification so you can apply your new skills to your job, the company and enhance your data science career.
Data scientist salary
The average salary for this role can vary from state to state, company and position. For example, a senior data scientist will likely make more than an entry-level data scientist job. To find an average data scientist salary, you can research what data scientists in your area make or what data scientists at certain companies make in this role as reported online.
Earn a degree in data science at University of Phoenix
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in data science, University of Phoenix (UOPX) can help you gain foundational knowledge to work in this field. UOPX offers a Bachelor of Science in Data Science degree that teaches how to analyze, manipulate and process data. Students will learn career-ready skills like machine learning, programming, data mining, statistical analysis and more. These skills can help graduates prepare for a variety of employment opportunities in the data science industry.
The UOPX program prepares students with practical skills to pursue roles like research scientist, data analyst and business intelligence analyst. While those roles are not exactly the same as that of a data scientist, BLS lists them as similar occupations that work with data and require many of the same IT skills.
To learn more about this program and how UOPX can help you save time and money on your degree, visit the University of Phoenix website