It’s going to be rather interesting to see how the dynamic field of data science changes over the next 2-5 years, because the supply of proficient data scientists can hardly catch up with demand for data science talent. Not surprisingly then, according to reports, the data scientist role is the highest paying tech job in India, and it’s truly still one of the best times for an Indian to be one.
But why is a data scientist in such high demand today? And how can you set yourself up for the same path?
Introduction to Data Science
The expertise of a data scientist and the stream of questioning he/she conjures up, as a result, is their most valuable offering. It’s also one of the most crucial assets for any large organization. The questions that data scientists ask, how those questions can be answered increasingly with data, and how then based on this data they refine the questions they’re asking – this interesting feedback cycle lies at the heart of data science. Questions are asked and answered with data. When you dig deeper, it becomes clear that data science is not devoid of human experts. Instead, it’s a tool for human experts, just like mathematics, simulations, or theory.
Data Science from scratch
- Gain qualifications: In terms of getting hired, a bachelor’s degree in computer studies, economics, finance, business studies, statistics, or mathematics is certainly considered an advantage for a data scientist’s profile. However, more and more employers are willing to waive such requirements in favour of relevant skills and real-world experience. The typical data scientist in India has taken at least one online course, which brings forth the increasing importance of online data science training – not only when it comes to learning the fundamentals but also for acquiring the latest in-demand skills. Data scientists with 5 years of experience are estimated to be earning INR 60 – 70 LPA. However, there are plenty of data science opportunities for skillful beginners in the field too.
- Learn pre-requisites: The must-have skill set for a data scientist in India includes proficiency in excel, good practical knowledge of statistics and mathematics, a solid basic linear algebra, and an understanding of algorithms. More advanced mathematics may be required for certain positions, but this is a fairly decent starting point. Also critical is understanding the concept of machine learning. As the field advances, basic levels of machine learning will become a standard requirement for data scientists.
- Learn to code: The best data scientists must know how to manipulate code in order to direct the computer on how to analyze the data. Scripting languages such as SQL, Python, and R are great places to start. While Python holds the lead in popularity in the US and Europe, it shares the winner’s place with R in India. But how do you acquire all of this if you’re starting from scratch? Well, luckily there are many options today to learn data science. You can start a qualification program or study with private tutors, for instance. If going back to school is not on your agenda though, an online certificate program can be the best way to begin your professional journey.
- Practical learning: If you are a college student or a fresher, try to get a data science internship even if it’s unpaid. Your objective is to gain industry experience that you will later apply in your permanent data science job. Create a good github repository, and upload your own data science projects and work there. Also, put your github link in your LinkedIn profile. It’s a good way to showcase your work to prospective employers.
Consider participating in online data science competitions. This will help you validate your learning and also get some noticed by employers if it is a sponsored competition. Attend local data science meetups that are taking place regularly in data science hubs like Bangalore, Pune, Delhi NCR, and try to network with the people. This can truly help you create more opportunities for yourself.
- Join the community: Keep an eye for thought leaders from the industry, engage in industry blogs and websites, ask questions, and stay on top of current news and theory.
So what’s the takeaway here?
If you have the skill-base to become a data scientist, you’re halfway there. Data science is certainly not for everyone, but for the interested and dedicated, it can be incredibly rewarding, while offering the chance to create a serious impact in today’s world. Here’s a universal data scientist profile that appears to be taking shape right now:
- A unique programming language toolbox desired across locations and industries
- Preferably a Master’s degree, or a certification/Bachelor’s degree with proof of practical ability
- A confident, learning-on-the-go attitude
So what are you waiting for? Go find your voice! Sign up for the best data science courses!