A Beginners Guide to Build a Career in Data Science

Data Science
Reading Time: 5 minutes
“Are you interested in having the sexiest job of the 21st century?”

No, I’m not talking about modelling or acting. According to Harvard Business Review, the sexiest job of the 21st century is data science.

Every company is looking for a data scientist and offering insane packages. For instance, in the US, the average salary of a data scientist in $120K!

It is reported that the job postings for data scientists from 2011 to 2012 shot up by 15,000%!

Why does it have such high demand?

The primary reason is that of the analytical prowess that comes with the role. With the large chunks of data that businesses produce, being able to organize and analyze it and derive actionable insights from it, is something that all companies will benefit from. Data scientists are able to see patterns, where others see nothing.

To put it simply, a data scientist is a programmer, product developer and analyst, all rolled in one.

Apart from this, the versatility that the role provides makes it a lucrative career. Data scientists are even needed in the music industry!

A study by McKinsey says that by 2018, in the US alone,

“There’s going to be a 50%-60% gap between supply and requisite demand of deep analytic talent.”

To make the most of this demand, we’ve curated a list of things you should do to be the perfect data scientist candidate.


How does the profile of a data scientist look?

Starting with the basics. Since your profile is the first thing recruiters are going to take into consideration, a few basic prerequisites that you must accomplish.

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer science or related field
  • Masters degree or any other higher degree
  • Work experience in a relevant company for 2 years or more

There are instances when students from tier II or tier III colleges are not content with their skill set or knowledge. The best way to bridge this gap is to apply for as many certification courses as possible.

UpGrad and Imarticus provide these courses.

Other than these, there is a list of skills that a data scientist must possess. This will make their interaction with data and people much easier.


Any skills that you should give importance to?

While the above is a must, there are certain skills that a data scientist finds handy. You could hone these skills either during your graduation or take certification courses for the same.

  • Statistical and analytical abilities
  • Regression
  • Clustering
  • Sound knowledge of Python or R

Apart from this, another important and non-technical skill that you should focus on developing is the ability to communicate results in a way that others can comprehend.

All this skill and knowledge must be put to use. While job opportunities may not come by easily, you could put these to use in another effective manner.


The Importance of Projects

Now that your profile is ready and you have the necessary skill set, you’re ready for applying to companies, right?

Not quite.

Though I’ve mentioned that work experience plays an important part in your profile, such opportunities are hard to come by. One of the reasons could be because of the company policies which prevents them from hiring freshers.

To show your future employers your keenness and abilities, several experts recommend doing projects.

This will especially help those people who learn better on their own and not in a classroom setting.

Projects are not just proof that you know data science, but your learning during these projects can be directly applied to when you start working.

If you’re unable to think of any ideas, Nirant Kasliwal, Software Engineer with Samsung Research Institute, has compiled a list of project ideas that you could put to use. Check them out here.

Check out The Open Source Data Science Matters and Kaggle for such projects.

Kaggle is the most famous platform where competitions are held to extract the best model for predicting data. It works on a crowdsourcing approach and is open to all. A rank on Kaggle shows your proficiency. It is equivalent to what GitHub is to programmers and Behance is to designers.

You can compete on Kaggle or browse existing datasets and make your predictions or even mentor others and learn new tools and techniques that are out. Kaggle also lists job openings.

Some of the famous Kaggle competitions are-


Best MOOCs available for data science

If you want to build your skills but aren’t sure how to, MOOCs are your best bet.

Not only are these courses free and from top colleges, such course certification adds to your profile and helps you build your project portfolio as well.

Below mentioned are some of the best online courses with their ratings provided.

Programming

1. Learn to Program: The Fundamentals (LPT1) and Crafting Quality Code (LPT2) by the University of Toronto

  • Available on: Coursera
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: 4.71

2. An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 1) and (Part 2)by Rice University

  • Available on: Coursera
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: 4.93

3. R Programming Track

  • Available on: DataCamp
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: 4.29

Statistics & Probability

1. Foundations of Data Analysis — Part 1: Statistics Using R and Part 2: Inferential Statistics by the University of Texas at Austin

  • Available on: edX
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: 4.61

2. Statistics with R Specialization by Duke University

  • Available on: Coursera
  • Cost: Free for the first 7 days.
    ₹3,174 per month to keep learning after 7 days
  • Rating: 4.77

3. Introduction to Probability — The Science of Uncertainty by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

  • Available on: edX
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: 4.82

Intro to Data Science

1.Data Science A-Z™: Real-Life Data Science Exercises Included by Kirill Eremenko and the SuperDataScience Team

  • Available on: Udemy
  • Cost: ₹450. Special offer for the next 6 days.
  • Rating: 4.5

2. Intro to Data Analysis

  • Available on: Udacity
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: 4.5(weighted average rating over 3 reviews)

3. Data Science Fundamentals by Big Data University

  • Available on: Cognitive Class
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: —

Data Visualization

1. Data Visualization with Tableau Specialization by the University of California, Davis

  • Available on: Coursera
  • Cost: Free for the first 7 days.
    ₹3,174 per month to keep learning after 7 days
  • Rating: 4 (weighted average rating over 2 reviews)

2. Data Visualization with ggplot2 Series

  • Available on: DataCamp
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: —

3. Tableau 10 Series (Tableau 10 A-Z and Tableau 10 Advanced Training) by Kirill Eremenko and the SuperDataScience Team on

  • Available on: Udemy
  • Cost: ₹450. Special offer for the next 6 days.
  • Rating: 4.6

Machine Learning

1. Machine Learning by Stanford University

  • Available on: Coursera
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: 4.7

2. Machine Learning by Columbia University

  • Available on: edX
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: 4.8

3. Machine Learning A-Z™: Hands-On Python & R In Data Science by Kirill Eremenko and Hadelin de Ponteves

  • Available on: Udemy
  • Cost: ₹450. Special offer for the next 6 days.
  • Rating: 4.5

Deep Learning

1. Creative Applications of Deep Learning with TensorFlow

  • Available on: Kadenze
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: 4.75

2. Neural Networks for Machine Learning by the University of Toronto

  • Available on: Coursera
  • Cost: Free
  • Rating: 4.11

3. Deep Learning A-Z™: Hands-On Artificial Neural Networks by Kirill Eremenko and Hadelin de Ponteves

  • Available on: Udemy
  • Cost: ₹450. Special offer for the next 6 days.
  • Rating: 4.6

For the complete list, click here.

Job Opportunities in Data Science

Now that you have the necessary skills, experience, a top-notch profile, you are ready to apply for data scientist roles.

Best way to search for these roles are to scour LinkedIn. Most companies post such openings on LinkedIn along with their own website.

Some of the best companies are hiring for data science. Here are a few of them-


Are you looking to build a profile in data science?

TapChief is a platform with a community of experienced data scientists who can help you build a profile which will make you irresistible to recruiters.

If you’d like an expert to guide you forward in your career in data science, fill out this form with a few details and I will get in touch to help you out within 60 minutes.