Career Development

What Does a Data Scientist Do?

Find out what a data scientist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a data scientist.

Data scientists are professionals who work with data to find patterns and insights that can be used to inform business decisions. They commonly use a combination of statistical analysis, computer programming skills, and business knowledge to analyze large amounts of data and identify trends or opportunities.

Data scientists may work in many different industries, but they’re especially common in the technology sector. They often play an important role in shaping how companies design products or services based on consumer behavior.

Data Scientist Job Duties

Data scientists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Working with other members of the team to develop new models or improve existing ones
  • Creating reports that present results of analyses in a way that is easy to understand
  • Communicating effectively with team members and stakeholders to ensure that all parties are on the same page
  • Conducting analyses to identify trends or patterns in data sets
  • Developing and implementing new algorithms to improve existing models
  • Conducting research to identify new opportunities and challenges within an industry or market segment
  • Developing computer models that can be used to predict consumer behavior
  • Finding relevant data sets that can be used to test hypotheses or support theories
  • Identifying research questions that can be answered using data analysis methods such as statistical modeling
  • Interpreting findings and communicating them in a way that is easy for non-experts to understand

Data Scientist Salary & Outlook

Data scientist salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company they work for. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses or commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $125,000 ($60.1/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $184,000 ($88.46/hour)

The employment of data scientists is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for data scientists will come from a wide range of industries, including healthcare and retail trade, as companies seek to use big data to improve their operations and marketing strategies. Data scientists will be needed to organize and analyze the large amounts of data generated by new technologies, such as mobile devices and wearable sensors.

Data Scientist Job Requirements

A data scientist typically has the following qualifications:

Education: Data scientists are typically expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, statistics, mathematics, data analytics or another closely related field. Some employers prefer candidates who also have a master’s degree in computer science or statistics.

Training & Experience: Data scientists typically receive on-the-job training once they are hired. This training may include learning the company’s specific software and computer systems. It may also include learning about the company’s industry and the data they collect and analyze.

Some data scientists pursue additional training to improve their skills and advance their careers. There are many training opportunities available, including:

Online courses Online courses are a great way to learn more about data science. There are many online courses available that cover a variety of topics. Some courses are free, while others require payment.

Conferences Conferences are another great way to learn more about data science. There are many conferences throughout the year that cover a variety of topics. Some conferences are free, while others require payment.

On-the-job training On-the-job training is a great way to learn more about data science. This training may include learning the company’s specific software and computer systems. It may also include learning about the company’s industry and the data they collect and analyze.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not a requirement to become a data scientist. However, data scientists may seek one of several optional certifications to give them a competitive edge over other candidates and make them more desirable to potential employers.

Data Scientist Skills

Data scientists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Mathematics: Mathematics is the foundation of data science, and data scientists need to have strong math skills. They use these skills to interpret data, create formulas and models and perform calculations. They also use math to create visualizations of data.

Computer programming languages: Data scientists need to know at least one computer programming language, such as Python, R or Java. They use these skills to create scripts and programs to analyze data and create visualizations.

Data analysis: Data analysis is the process by which data scientists interpret data and draw conclusions from it. Data analysis requires a combination of technical skills and business knowledge. Data scientists need to understand the data they’re analyzing and the questions they’re trying to answer with it.

Business skills: Data scientists need business skills to communicate with business stakeholders and explain the value of their work. They also need business acumen to understand the financial implications of their work and the potential return on investment of data science projects.

Communication: Data scientists often work with other data scientists, engineers, marketing teams, management and other stakeholders. Effective communication is crucial to the success of a data science project. Data scientists should be able to explain complex technical concepts in a way that non-technical people can understand. They should also be able to clearly explain their data analysis and results to other data scientists.

Data Scientist Work Environment

Data scientists work in a variety of industries, including healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and retail. They may work in an office setting, a laboratory, or a clean room. Data scientists typically work full time, and some may work more than 40 hours per week to meet deadlines or to complete projects. Data scientists may travel to attend conferences, meet with clients, or conduct field research.

Data Scientist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how data scientists work. Data scientists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Data Scientists Will Need to Become More Business-Focused

As data science becomes more popular, data scientists will need to become more business-focused in order to be successful. This means that they will need to learn how to communicate their findings to non-technical stakeholders and understand the business implications of their work.

In addition, data scientists will need to be able to work with a variety of different types of data, including both structured and unstructured data. They will also need to be familiar with a variety of different analytical tools and techniques in order to find the most effective way to analyze the data they are working with.

Data Science Becomes Even More Important

The role of data science is becoming even more important as businesses realize the value of having someone on staff who can make sense of all the data that they collect.

Data scientists are in high demand right now because they have the skills necessary to extract insights from large amounts of data. As businesses continue to gather more data, the need for data scientists will only grow larger.

More Collaboration Between Data Scientists and Other Professionals

As data science becomes more popular, data scientists will need to collaborate with other professionals in order to get the most out of their data.

For example, data scientists may need to work with marketing professionals in order to better understand customer behavior. They may also need to work with engineers in order to build better algorithms or develop new products.

How to Become a Data Scientist

A data scientist career path can be a great way to use your math, science, and coding skills in a rewarding and lucrative field. As a data scientist, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of statistics, machine learning, and programming languages like Python or R. You’ll also need to be able to work with large amounts of data and find meaningful insights within it.

To become a data scientist, you can start by getting a degree in mathematics, computer science, or engineering. You can then build on this foundation by taking online courses in data science and machine learning, and practicing coding in Python or R. You can also gain experience by working as a data analyst or programmer.

Advancement Prospects

Data scientists typically advance in their careers by taking on more responsibility and leadership roles. As they gain experience, they may move up to senior data scientist positions or become data science managers. In some cases, data scientists may also start their own data science consulting businesses.

Data Scientist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for a data scientist who can help us make sense of the massive amounts of data we collect every day. The ideal candidate will have experience working with large data sets, developing predictive models, and using statistical methods to draw insights from data. They will also be skilled in data visualization and communication, able to present complex data in a way that is easy to understand for non-technical audiences. The data scientist will work with the data engineering team to develop scalable data pipelines and with the business intelligence team to develop reporting and dashboards. Ultimately, the data scientist will help us use data to make better business decisions and drive growth.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Understand the business problem, frame it as a data problem, and develop a solution using statistical and machine learning methods
  • Work with large-scale datasets to build predictive models, conduct analyses, and generate insights that can be used to improve decision-making
  • Communicate findings to non-technical audiences in a clear and concise manner, using visualizations and other means as appropriate
  • Partner with engineering teams to implement data-driven solutions
  • Stay up-to-date on latest developments in the field and apply them to solve problems
  • Identify opportunities for collecting new data that could be useful for solving business problems
  • Clean, process, and prepare data for analysis
  • Explore data to find patterns and relationships
  • Build predictive models and algorithms
  • Evaluate model performance and improve upon it
  • Present results of analyses to stakeholders
  • Help shape product requirements by providing data-backed insights

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics, or related field
  • 3+ years experience working with data mining, modeling, and machine learning algorithms
  • Proficient in Python, R, SQL, and SAS
  • Experience with big data platforms, such as Hadoop, Spark, and Hive
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in computer science, mathematics, or related field
  • 5+ years experience working with data mining, modeling, and machine learning algorithms
  • Experience with statistical software packages, such as STATA and SPSS
  • Experience with artificial intelligence and natural language processing


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