Data science is an increasingly important component of corporate business strategy across the globe. Companies like UPS are using insights gained from their data to become more efficient, improve their operations, solve major problems and remove roadblocks to profitability.
As a result of all the benefits data scientists can deliver to their employers, demand for their talents is high. Anyone with the right skill set can command a six-figure salary. There are data scientists in the USA who are earning more than $200,000 a year. If you’d like to join this group of talented, in-demand individuals, follow these 4 steps to becoming a data scientist.
1. Obtain The Necessary Skill Set For Solving Problems With Data
Becoming a data scientist requires you to — you guessed it — work with data and lots of it. These are some of the necessary qualifications for solving data-driven problems:
- Learn how to program in Python, SQL, and R.
- Study math and statistics: Linear algebra skills are particularly important for working with large datasets. You’ll also want to have an outstanding general foundation in mathematics, probability, and statistics to maximize your success with data science.
- Learn how to mung data.
If you don’t already have at least part of the necessary skill set, getting a degree in data science is by far the easiest and most straightforward way to accomplish all this learning. Data science degree programs used to be rare; but top universities around the world are now stepping up to offer bachelor’s degrees, Master of Data Science degrees, certifications and massive online courses (MOOCs) in data science.
2. Join Kaggle
There are a couple of compelling reasons you’ll want to join Kaggle, which is a community of data science enthusiasts who gather online to solve real-world data science problems. The site is home to competitions, data science discussions, and tutorials covering all aspects of data science.
For starters, the competitions offer you a chance to practice and improve your data science skills. Also, high-profile tech companies like Google routinely recruit top Kagglers and offer them lucrative jobs. This is one of the best places online for aspiring data scientists to seize opportunities.
3. Move To Silicon Valley Or Seattle
Employment demand tends to be highest for data scientists in Seattle, San Francisco and the rest of the Silicon Valley. These are also the cities where data scientists tend to command the top salaries. Austin, Boston and Los Angeles are also viable cities for discovering six-figure job opportunities as a data scientist, according to CIOdive.com.
Demand is sufficiently high for data scientists that, if you don’t want to move, you might be able to negotiate a deal where you can work remotely or freelance. However, you will probably find the best, and best paying, opportunities if you are willing to go where the work is.
4. Make Yourself Available For Job Interviews
Post your resume on career sites like Indeed.com and Monster.com, making it clear that your career objective is to find work as a data scientist. You’re likely to be flooded with calls from corporate recruiters who are aware of job openings you could fill.
You do not have to wait for recruiters to come calling. Data science is one of the few niches where cold calling and cold job applications are likely to result in job offers — so be proactive about looking for openings with companies where you think you might like to work. Schedule interviews and take your pick of fantastic, high-paying jobs.
Of course, there are bunches of other things you can do to gain credibility in the field of data science beyond just the 4 steps mentioned above. You could also read books on data science; start a data science blog; network with other data science professionals; and work on a data science charity project for an organization like Datakind. However, the 4 steps mentioned above are some of the most important steps to consider taking if you want to earn 6 figures as a data scientist.
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