What is a data scientist? A key data analytics role and a lucrative career

Becoming a data scientist varies depending on industry, but there are common skills, experience, education and training that will give you the leg up in starting your data science career.

What is a data scientist?

Data scientists are responsible for discovering insights from massive amounts of structured and unstructured data to help shape or meet specific business needs and goals. The data scientist role is becoming increasingly important as businesses rely more heavily on data analytics to drive decision-making and lean on automation and machine learning as core components of their IT strategies.

The data scientist role

A data scientist’s main objective is to organize and analyze large amounts of data, often using software specifically designed for the task. The final results of a data scientist’s analysis needs to be easy enough for all invested stakeholders to understand — especially those working outside of IT.

A data scientist’s approach to data analysis depends on their industry and the specific needs of the business or department they are working for. Before a data scientist can find meaning in structured or unstructured data, business leaders and department managers must communicate what they’re looking for. As such, a data scientist must have enough business domain expertise to translate company or departmental goals into data-based deliverables such as prediction engines, pattern detection analysis, optimization algorithms, and the like.

It’s a fast-growing role — according to data from Indeed, job postings for data scientists rose by 75 percent from January 2015 to January 2018, while searches for data scientist job openings rose by 65 percent in the same time frame.

Data scientist responsibilities

A data scientist’s chief responsibility is data analysis, a process that begins with data collection and ends with business decisions made on the basis of the data scientist’s final data analytics results.

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