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What does a career in data science look like?

I've been hearing a lot about machine learning and data science, it seems interesting. What are the job prospects like? How much money do you make? What type of problems do you work on? datascience data technology career datta

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Malcolm’s Answer

I think there's a disconnect between what outsiders think about data science and what data science actually looks like in practice. There's a ton of data science degrees and courses on the internet right now, but I see very few "analytics" courses. In actuality, more businesses are hiring *way* more data analysts than data scientists.

What's the difference? Data analysts focus on reporting, dashboarding, and SQL to drive business insights. Data scientists, however, are typically using advanced mathematics and computer science to develop statistical models to gain new insights or develop new data-driven products for their company. Many people think that a data-analyst gets promoted to a data-scientist, but these are completely different roles and skillsets.

If you really love mathematics, statistics, and programming, then I'd go with data science. If you love business, visualizing data, basic math, and have an interest in learning SQL and basic programming, I'd go with data analytics. If you're the person that aspires to have a Phd in statistics, your likely the kind of person to be a data scientist, but if you'd rather have an MBA, you're likely to be a data analyst. However, no degree is required for either! People in the industry just care if you have the skills.

With regards to pay; I'd say that data scientists get paid a 20-30% premium compared to data analysts, but a data analyst can easily make six-figures in a competitive market within a few years into their career.
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Charley’s Answer

I am a data analyst! I love my job, and encourage anyone interested in the career to seriously consider it.

What are the job prospects like? Very good. (And every time I hear someone in the news say that they are making "data -driven decisions" regarding Covid, I silently cheer because that's just proving the value of the industry.)

How much money do you make? I make very decent money and am very comfortable.

What type of problems do you work on? It depends on the industry you work in. I work in Insurance, so much of my research is around Auto Insurance - who is buying it, what their demographics are, data around auto accidents, how often and how far people are driving. Essentially my job is to provide data that answers whatever questions leadership has at that particular moment.
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karthik’s Answer

The most common careers in data science include the following roles. Data scientists: Design data modeling processes to create algorithms and predictive models and perform custom analysis. Data analysts: Manipulate large data sets and use them to identify trends and reach meaningful conclusions to inform strategic business decisions.
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Shruti’s Answer

What are the job prospects like?
They are great. And the higher the education level the better the prospects.

How much money do you make?
Depends on the company and city/state. However I would say a masters graduate with Data Science skills can bag a gross salary of $100,000 because its the next hot thing after Software engineers.

What type of problems do you work on?
You are basically solving puzzles and things that you dream/wonder about. Eg: How do I show the most relevant ads to a user? How do I ensure a car drives safely without a driver? How can I make sure a customer gets his order delivered within a day?
Critical components to the answers to these questions are solved with Data science and machine learning.
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karthik’s Answer

Career prospects: Data analyst is a broad term that encompasses a wide variety of positions, so your career path is fairly open-ended. ... Some data analysts also use their programming skills to transition into more general developer roles
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Yiyi’s Answer

Hi Renee,

Great questions! I am a data analyst myself and here are some of thoughts:

What are the job prospects like? - Great. There is a growing demand and good career paths with many directions you can take - data/business/strategy/etc.

How much money do you make? - Decent amount especially when you are in Bay Area

What type of problems do you work on? - My job is to answer the sharp business problems and use data to explain or drive insights. It depends on the company and function you go to.

Hope this helps.
Yiyi
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Iva’s Answer

There are many different things that you can do in data science. It is an excellent career and you can easily start learning about it on your own or self -paced. I would look for free courses on Cousera or EDX to dive into some basics. You should love learning new software and computer languages. You will like this area if you like to analyze things thoroughly and look for root cause analysis and troubleshooting. There are so many different areas and niches to delve into data I strongly recommend this as a career area to explore if it is right for you.
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Iva’s Answer

There are many different things that you can do in data science. It is an excellent career and you can easily start learning about it on your own or self -paced. I would look for free courses on Cousera or EDX to dive into some basics. You should love learning new software and computer languages. You will like this area if you like to analyze things thoroughly and look for root cause analysis and troubleshooting. There are so many different areas and niches to delve into data I strongly recommend this as a career area to explore if it is right for you.
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Bonnie’s Answer

Hi Renee,
At IBM the Data Scientist career is one of the hottest skills. You can imagine right now with the global Covid 19 Virus how important Data Scientists are right now - collecting data from all over the world and extrapolating trends, patterns and medical information on what's working, what doesn't, how best to protect people and find treatments that work. Basically, data scientist take a huge amount of data and works to "connect the dots" to get meaningful information out that help businesses, medicine, marketing, and so on.

You need to have an analytical mind, know about and able to work with Artificial Intelligence (AI), be persistent, show both teaming and leadership skills. The money is dependent on the level of your skill and experience, but it can and does pay very well, and is likely to be a profession that allows flexibility of where and how you work. If this sounds like it would be for you, you should definitely check into it.

Here is an example of a typical job posting:
As a Data Scientist, you collaborate with a team of modeling scientists and optimization scientists to deliver high quality predictive models and cutting-edge analytical solutions to clients. The position will bring analytical rigor and statistical methods to the challenges of predicting merchandising behavior. You will work closely with internal clients (Professional Services team, Implementation Managers) and/or external clients to understand their business needs as well as to explain our analytical product.

Responsibilities:
Implement and validate predictive models and ensure successful customer delivery
Communicate with intern/external clients to understand business needs and provide analytical solutions
Provide analysis on data based on business problems
Data visualization
Support data normalization, cleansing and modeling activities supporting internal and external Client teams that enable multi-client spending, savings and analytic insights
Supporting various projects, requests requiring data mining and deep understanding of the structure and content of data warehouses and processes
Investigate on forecast accuracy and provide insightful findings

Required Technical and Professional Expertise
4 years in Computer Science, Programming skills
4 years in Probability and Statistics
3 years in Data Modeling and Evaluation
3 years in Big Data and Machine Learning
MS in computer science, statistics, Industrial Engineering or related area

Preferred Technical and Professional Expertise
4 years in programming skills in at least two of the following: Python, R, Scala or Java. preference for Python Expert
3 years in applying supervised, unsupervised and semi-supervised learning techniques
3 years in Machine Learning pipeline - data ingestion, feature engineering, modeling including ensemble methods, predicting, explaining, deploying and diagnosing over fitting
MS/PHD in computer science, statistics, Industrial Engineering or related area

Check out this link as well:
https://certification.opengroup.org/opencds
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Amanda’s Answer

Analytics and Data Science skills can be applied to so many topics, so I would suggest the following as possible options to dig further:
- See if there is a company or organization you really respect or enjoy shopping at or they build cool stuff. If you find one, look at their job posting to see how they talk about a given position and the education desired.
- Explore a topic you love and then follow a similar path. If you care about climate change, education, video games or food science, see what options come up when you search these terms with data engineer, analyst, data scientist, programmer or machine learning.
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Stephine’s Answer

Data science and machine learning is a growing field and has many different types. To answer your career question, go to O’Net online.org. There, you can find statistics on any career, job prospects and a very detailed look into the type of jobs performed, education needed and salary information (often by state).

Good luck

Hi Stephine, Although I agree that O'Net is a great tool with lots of good information, do you have any insights on what problems they work on/what their day to day looks like? Gurpreet Lally, CareerVillage.org Team

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