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The Role of the Data Scientist

September 13, 2016

Careers in data science are rapidly growing as companies are quick to learn just how vital these roles can be to its business. In fact, Glassdoor identified data scientists as number 1 for on their list for “Best Jobs in America for 2016” with a median salary of $116,840. Data scientists have the ability to change the direction of the company by studying pattern trends from company data records which allows companies to cater to their customers’ exact needs. And, this approach can lead the business down a very successful path. 

What does a data scientist exactly do?

Basically, a data scientist’s work is all in the name: data and science. Master’s in Data Science describes the job like so, “Data scientists are big data wranglers. They take an enormous mass of messy data points (unstructured and structured) and use their formidable skills in math, statistics and programming to clean, massage and organize them. Then they apply all their analytic powers – industry knowledge, contextual understanding, skepticism of existing assumptions – to uncover hidden solutions to business challenges.” Overall, this is what a data scientist does; however, their exact day-to-day responsibilities will vary depending on the company for which they’re working.

How can I become a data scientist?

While organizations don’t typically require a specific degree related to data science, they prefer candidates who have a wealth of experience and knowledge in different areas, such as analytics/statistics, computer science, engineering, mathematics, etc. There are organizations that will accept candidates who have a Bachelor’s degree, but most companies prefer candidates with a Master’s degree when it comes to hiring for data scientist roles.

If you don’thave a degree in any of these areas, don’t fret! There are options for you to learn about and become prepared for a career in data science. For instance, has compiled a list of data science boot camp courses that range in price and expertise level, so there’s something for everyone, whether you know a little about data science or you’ve been in the statistics industry for years.

In addition to boot camps, there are also data scientist-specific certifications that you can obtain. Some of those certifications include:

  • Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
  • Cloudera Certified Professional: Data Scientist (CCP:DS)
  • EMC: Data Science Associate (EMCDSA)
  • SAS Certified Predictive Modeler using SAS Enterprise Miner 7

You can read more about the requirements for each of these certifications here, under the Data Scientist Qualifications header towards the bottom of the page.

Why Data Scientists?

Data scientists currently play a key role for companies and the need for them is expected to increase over the next few years. This job focuses on what data trends have occurred for the organization, which reveals where the business’ successes are, as well as which areas need improvement. You’re only as strong as your weakest link, so it’s important to know where your weak spots lie. Data scientists not only point out those weaknesses, they provide insight into how to strengthen the business.

Where do you see data scientists fitting into your organization?

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Posted By: Jaclyn Roman


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