Back in 2012, the Harvard Business review labelled the role of the data scientist, “the sexiest job of the 21st century” but if this is the case, where on earth are they all hiding?
The explosion of data has made it near on impossible to process using traditional database and software techniques. When dealing with these large datasets, organisations are facing difficulties in being able to create, manipulate and manage big data, which is exactly where the role of the Data Scientist comes in.
What exactly does a data scientist do?
Great question. 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. This role is becoming increasingly important as businesses begin to rely more heavily on data analytics to drive decision-making and lean on automation and machine learning as core components of their IT strategies.
A data scientist’s main objective is to organise and analyse large amounts of data, often using software specifically designed for the task. They will then need to present their results in layman’s terms to all invested stakeholders.
So what makes it the “sexist job of the 21st century?”
For a start, being a Data Scientist means you hold the key to unlocking immensely valuable insights that can revolutionise the way we work and live. Data scientists are needed across almost every sector. You could choose to work in the Armed Forces, helping to create intelligent combat systems and defence strategies. Or you could work in the NHS, helping to improve patient care and prepare hospitals for spikes in demand. There are also an abundance of opportunities in the commercial sector, from helping retail and ecommerce business to analyse purchase data, improve customer service and find trends through to working in the finance sector helping to prevent fraud. The possibilities are endless.
It’s no surprise then that it’s one of the most in-demand jobs in the world. According to data from the job site, Indeed, job postings for data scientists rose by 75% from January 2015 to January 2018, while searches for data scientist job openings rose by 65% in the same time frame. And in Glassdoor’s 50 Best Jobs in America report, data scientist ranked as the best job across every industry based on job openings, salary and overall job satisfaction ratings.
Sounds pretty awesome right, so the key question is, how do you venture into a data science career?
As with most emerging tech roles, there’s no prescribed career path or specific qualifications required but there are a range of key skills and traits that will certainly help to get you there. First and foremost, you’ll need to be a whiz at maths. Statistics and probability are two fundamental skills that will be crucial to the role as you’ll need to be able to analyse and interpret data, predict patterns and make hypotheses. Providing you’ve got strong mathematical skills, you’ll be well prepared to start building your technical skills. However, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all about tech prowess. A data scientist also needs to be an accomplished problem solver and slick communicator, bearing in mind you’ll need to present your findings back to non-technical decision makers. While an analytical mindset is a must, you’ll need to be curious about why things work in a certain way. You’ll also need to be flexible and adaptable so you can effectively incorporate new learnings and processes into your role.
If you are a female and you want to find out what a career in data science could mean for you, listen up!
On International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we are partnering with Microsoft to deliver a bootcamp introduction to a career in Data Science aimed at women who are returning to work after an extended career break, or women who have worked in different fields and are looking for a career change. During the day, you’ll be introduced to the world of data science and given the opportunity to start a 6-month Microsoft Data Science Professional Programme (MPP). You’ll complete the first module of the certification during the day at our head office in Manchester.