Skills Required for Becoming a Data Scientist

Sachin SatishData Science

Skill sets to acquire to become a data science expert

Are you also pondering over how to be a Data Scientist? If you are nodding your head in affirmation, then, you have reached your ultimate destination where we will put light on the crucial aspects related to this profession. Take a look.

Data scientist is one of the most trending careers these days. But the tough part remains to the ways to get an easy entry into the profession. Some of the people say that the pre-requisites for being a data scientist include knowledge of several fields namely statistics, software development, machine learning, data munging etc. But to your sheer relief, let us assure you that it is not as formidable as it seems.

Before talking about where to start to be a data scientist and the skills necessary for being a data scientist, let us first talk about what a data scientist actually is. A data scientist is related to a data analyst in some companies. His job may consist of pulling data out of MySQL Databases, producing basic data visualizations, analysis of various project alternatives, mastering Excel Pivot Tables and taking a lead in the employer company’s Analytics Accounts at Google. Other roles and responsibilities of a data scientist may also include making meaningful contributions out of unstructured data, in-depth analysis of data, providing logical basis for strategic decision making, wrangling up of unorganized data into a proper data infrastructure.

Take a look below to know more about steps required to be a data scientist.

Where to start to be a Data Scientist

Primarily, you need to be sure whether you really want to be a data scientist or you just want to give one chance to this career coz you see so many people around, who are being crazy to be a data scientist.

Secondly, try getting yourself acquainted with the life of a data scientist. For this, you need to know about everything that comes under the scope of this profession. You might need to attend Data Science Meetings, seminars, follow blogs of data scientists and also, to interact with people who are experienced in this field. Until and unless you are sure that now you are ready to take up the profession, you just really cannot be a data scientist.

Skills required to become a Data Scientist

Technical Skills:

  • Education: It is quite imperative for a person aspiring to be a data scientist to have a strong educational background. The major areas of study usually include Maths, Statistics, Computer Science or Engineering.
  • Knowledge of Data Analytical Tools: One must possess a thorough knowledge of Data Analytical Tools like SAS or R.
  • SQL Coding: Though SQL coding does not form major part of Data Scientist’s job but still the candidate is expected to involve in writing and execution of complex queries that require SQL Coding.
  • Python Coding: Knowledge of coding languages like Python, C/C++, Java, Perl are the main coding languages required to be used by a Data Scientist.
  • Handling Unstructured Data: A data scientist must be able to handle unstructured data from different informal sources like social media, audios or videos.
  • Hadoop Platform: This is not mandatory but still a candidate with knowledge of Hadoop, Amazon S3, Hive or Pig is preferred.
  • Knowledge of Basic Statistics: The aspiring candidate must be good at statistical distributions, tests and maximum likelihood estimators.
  • Machine Learning: One must also be familiar with machine learning methods and related machine learning buzzwords.

Non-Technical Skills

  • Communication Skills: Good communication skills are extremely important since a data scientist requires communicating his data findings to the non-technical staff time and again. His valuable and meaningful insights and logic related to data findings must be understood by staff members like Marketing or Sales Department persons so that business decisions can be easily made.
  • Comprehensive Knowledge: The data scientist must have clear and precise understanding of what the company requires from him, what are the problems that are intended to be solved through data analysis and what can be the best and possible ways to leverage the data of company.

Now that you know about the requisite skills, we have also listed out the easy ways through which you can develop the aforesaid skills.

  1. Improve your mathematics
  2. Gain complete confidence over solving any kind of statistics, probability or algebra problems
  3. Join online courses for relevant study material practice
  4. Learn Python Coding thoroughly
  5. Practice Linear Regression and Logistic Regression
  6. Learn CART and Clustering
  7. Learn Tableau/Qlikview/DS.js
  8. Take Machine Learning Courses
  9. Practice Titanic Data Set
  10. Do Boosting and Ensemble Modelling
  11. Participate in Data Science Competitions
  12. Make your learned concepts strong day by day
  13. Solve complicated Puzzles on regular basis
  14. Connect with knowledgeable people on social media like Linkedin
  15. Prepare your Analytics Resume that best reflects what you know and what you can do with your knowledge

The aforesaid list is only illustrative not exhaustive. It will definitely help a lot to those aspiring to become a data scientist.

Once you are done with all the preparation required to be a data scientist, it is high time to search for analytics jobs. Strive hard to find openings everywhere you can. Be it somewhere in your network or through any other search on the internet. Once you start getting interview calls, be prepared to crack the interview questions with full confidence on your knowledge acquired so far.

Final Words

The path of being a data scientist is not an easy one. But all we can say in a nutshell is that it takes regular effort, sincere dedication and ultimately one’s determination to be a data scientist that makes one’s dreams come true eventually. So if you are also aspiring to choose data scientist as your lifetime profession, then, wake up from the deep slumber and start taking your first steps towards this great profession today.

All the very best!

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About the Author
Sachin Satish

Sachin Satish


Sachin Satish possesses over 9+ years of experience in the IT industry. He started his career in the field of data warehousing and has vast experience in Informatica and various relational database management systems. His expertise lies mainly in the area of Service Delivery, data analysis and IT consulting. He is a Big Data certified professional and is undergoing trainings on Data analytics. He has worked abroad for many years in London, U.K and few cities across the US. On the personal front, he is passionate about music and exploring places around the world; in his free time, he watches movies and likes to spend time with family.