How to become a data scientist?

With the drastic growth in the market due to globalization, big firms and multinational co-operations require the expertise of data scientists now more than ever. According to IBM the demand for data scientists will increase up to 28% by the year 2020. If you are thinking about making it big and earning a comfortable livelihood than this definitely a career you should opt for and become a data scientist. The unmanageable mass of raw data can no longer be blindsided as it’s a complete goldmine which can be profited immensely. A professional with the right skills to interpret and analyze data is impatiently sought after today.

Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine “Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine” – Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President at Gartner

What is a data scientist?

A data scientist is an individual that converts raw, unstructured data into a more readable format which can be easily used by an organization. Data scientists also analyze the data and estimate the changes in trends. This professional has to master subjects that are already being mastered by others individually. In simpler terms it can be stated that a data scientist adds knowledge to the field in question via expert and extended use of raw data. Such a person is responsible for designing, coding, analyzing and creating experiments.

how to become data scientist

“Consumer data will be the biggest differentiator in the next two to three years. Whoever unlocks the reams of data and uses it strategically will win.”- Angela Ahrendts, Senior VP of Retail at Apple

Skills needed to become a data scientist

A data scientist is someone who is better at statistics than any software engineer and better at software engineering than any statistician.


A data scientist needs to have a strong grip of statistics. They should be familiar with distributions, statistical data and minimum likelihood estimators etc. The main aspect of being a pro at statistical knowledge is to know which approach or tool is suitable for which kind of situation. Statistics is very important for companies that are data driven, organization where stockholders depend on the decisions that a data scientist will provide by carrying out experiments.

“I keep saying that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians, and I’m not kidding”- Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google

Linear Algebra and Multi-variable Calculus

Having a good understanding of both these concepts is vital for a data scientist. This is more suitable for companies where the product elaborated by the data and small tweaks to the optimization can lead to huge sales and revenue. It might be confusing for you as to why a data scientist needs to know all this when there are box implementations in R or Python. The answer to that questions is simple, sometimes data scientists might need to build their own implementations.

Analytical Skills

These skills are very critical for a data scientist’s success. A data scientists needs to be able to make an analyses of raw, unstructured data and identify objectives that are profitable for the business in question. The individual has to use that data and come up with recommendations for the organization. For better understanding it is vital to have exposure to at least one industry vertical so that it becomes easy to analyze the real world problems.

Technical Skills

The popular programming languages that are used in the application of big data are Python, R, and Java and C #. So a good understanding of these programs is needed to excel. MongoDb and Hadoop have being growing significantly, hence being a pro at these will help any data scientist’s career.

Qualification to become a data scientist?

It has the steepest education requirements in all the information technology jobs. About forty percent of the positions of data scientists need an advanced degree such as an MBA, PhD and Master’s. Many companies also hire data scientists with only undergraduate diplomas such as Math and Statistics and Hard Sciences. There are three education options in regards to a data scientist career.

  1. Graduate Certifications and Degrees:

These provide academic qualifications for your CV and will require a significant amount of money and time.

  1. Self-Guided learning courses:

These are cheap but are targeted and brief.

  1. Boot camps:

These are faster and more intense than custom degrees but it does not provide degree initials after the name.

Data Science Degrees & Courses

MBA Technology Management (Colorado Technical University)

  • Online Degree
  • Master Degree level
  • Financial Aid Available
  • Advanced Database Management & DBA Skills

Master of Science in Analytics (Villanova University)

  • Online Degree
  • Bachelor Degree level
  • Financial Aid Available
  • Use “Big Data” to Drive Smart / Sustainable Business Decisions

Bs-IT Software Analysis and Development (American Intercontinental University)

  • Online Degree
  • Bachelor degree level
  • Financial Aid Available
  • Learn Programming Languages  Java, Pearl, VB. Net, C+, C++, C#, SQL & Objective-C

Certifications to become a data scientist

The following are some of the most sought after data scientist certifications

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate
  • Certified Health Data Analyst
  • IBM Congos Business Intelligence certifications
  • SAS Certified Predictive Modeler

Top USA universities that offer MS in Data Science

  • Columbia University
  • New York University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Northwestern University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • North Carolina State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Michigan State University

 Jobs & Possible Positions for data scientists

  • $75,000 , Business Analyst
  • $97,000, Machine Learning Engineer
  • $107,000, Data Architect
  • $110,000, IBM Data Analyst
  • $84,000, Business Intelligence Architect
  • $89,000, Data Scientist
  • $139,000, Senior Big Data Analyst
  • $115,000, Data Warehouse Architect
  • $112,000, Hadoop Engineer

The hourly wage assortment for data scientist positions is $35-$95, dependent upon the skills and project requirements. The analytics field & business intelligence has actually unlimited opportunities for growth and has a very high earning potential. Experienced and highly educated data scientists can earn up to $300,000 per year with bonus and benefits.