“Starting a career in Data Science involves lots of time, perseverance, and education. However, all the hard work is worth it when considering the amazing opportunities and great salary that Data Science can provide.”
How to Start Your Career in Data Science
Earlier this year, Glassdoor rated Data Science as the best job in America for the 4th year in a row. If you’ve been looking into a career in Data Science, this should come as no surprise. The field of Data Science earned this title for high levels of job satisfaction, a high median salary ($108,000), and extremely low unemployment. Furthermore, Data Scientists enjoy a great balance in their work and are always learning new skills.
However, Data Science isn’t all hearts and roses. To truly succeed in this field, you’ll have to hone your skills in diverse areas, such as coding, statistics, math, and communication. Becoming an expert in just one of these fields takes a lifetime, but you’ll need to study a little bit of everything to become a Data Scientist. Furthermore, you’ll need to continue learning in your free time.
If you’re still on the fence about Data Science, check out our article on whether or not this field is right for you. But, if you’re determined to pursue a career in data science, you’re probably seeking out more information on how to make your dream reality. To help you along your journey, we’ve put together some top tips for getting started.
#1: Learn How to Program
One of the key differences between Data Science and Statistics is the use of programming languages to sift through large amounts of data. Instead of calculators, Data Scientists use programming languages like R to perform mathematical equations and visualize information. They also use AI and Machine Learning to automate mundane tasks and process “big data” more efficiently.
Therefore, if you want to start your career in Data Science, you’ll need to start working on your coding chops. Having a solid foundation in coding will make the process of learning Data Science and topics like assumptions of linear regression much smoother. “What programming languages should I learn?” you may ask. Well, according to an analysis of LinkedIn job postings, the most in-demand programming languages in Data Science are Python, R, and SQL, respectively.
#2: Consider Getting a Certificate or Undergraduate Degree
Many jobs in Data Science don’t require you to possess a college degree. However, Data Science does involve a deep understanding of math, statistics, and programming, which makes some formal education good to have. Since Data Science degrees are hard to find, many data scientists currently working in the field have majors in mathematics, statistics, engineering, computer science, or even natural sciences.
Fortunately, more universities are starting to offer Data Science programs. Because Data Science is a multi-disciplinary field, someone who graduates with a degree in Math or Computer Science alone won’t learn everything they need to know in school. Therefore, it makes more sense to attend a university that offers a full Data Science degree or certification, such as one of our “Powered by Woz U” partners.
#3: Start An Entry-Level Job
A recent study performed by IBM reveals that the number of positions for data and analytics talent in the United States will increase by 364,000 openings to a total of 2,720,000 in 2020. This is great news for job seekers, as there is a surplus of jobs and a scarcity of qualified talent to fill these roles. And, with a degree in hand and the right skills, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding your first entry-level job.
Regardless of how much you learn in the university, nothing comes close to the experience you gain through real-life experience and projects. After college, the majority of your education will take place on the job. And when you’re not studying in a degree program, experiential learning will help you further develop your skills and grow as a Data Scientist.
#4: Practice Your Communication Skills
When you hear the word, “Data Science,” you probably don’t think of PowerPoint slides. However, data scientists spend almost as much time communicating their findings as they do analyzing data. On a weekly basis, you’ll be presenting key insights and strategies to decision-makers in your organization, which means your communication skills need to be sharp.
C-suite executives, board members, and co-workers will also challenge your findings and ask tough questions regarding your conclusions. In other words, all your hard work will be useless if you can’t effectively communicate the value of your insights. Even if you feel like you already do a good job of communicating, it’s a good idea to take courses in Public Speaking and Business Communication or join the debate club at your local university.
#5: Keep Learning
Like any career in STEM, technological advances will require you to keep learning and constantly update your skills. Some great ways to stay up-to-date with Data Science include taking online courses, frequenting online forums, and reading books on the topic. Along with other computer science topics, O’Reilly makes great handbooks on how to use R and Python for Data Science.
For “Powered by Woz U” graduates, on the other hand, refreshing your knowledge is easier than ever before. Thanks to lifetime access to updated Woz U curriculum, you can always go back to take any course in your career path. And, our course materials are constantly updated to keep up with advances in Data Science and the skills you need to stay competitive.
Starting a career in Data Science involves lots of time, perseverance, and learning. You’ll have to develop your skills in programming, statistics, mathematics, and communication. However, all the hard work is worth it when considering the amazing opportunities and great salary that Data Science can provide. As humans create more data in the coming years, Data Scientists will be needed to interpret it and make key insights for the world’s largest organizations.
Should you decide to learn Data Science, first look for a “Powered by Woz U” university near you. With lifetime access to cutting-edge curriculum and a hiring platform designed for graduates like you, it doesn’t make much sense to study anywhere else. Keeping your knowledge up to date will help you stay competitive in the market and command a higher salary.