How to Become A Data Scientist

Data scientists write algorithms that are used to detect and analyze patterns in very large data sets. These algorithms are used to improve ways of sorting, managing, and displaying data.

Should I Become a Data Scientist?

A data scientist is also a type of a computer scientist whose specialty is solving problems by using statistics, computer programming and machine learning skills to analyze very large data sets. Their job is to identify different trends and patterns in the data and draw correct conclusion from it. Data scientists share their conclusions with the business or organization they work for. These businesses or organizations then create new products, content and strategies based on the findings of their data scientists.

Education Required

A bachelor's or a master's degree

Major Requirement

Computer Science or a related field, such as Computer Engineering


Certified Applications Professional, Cloudera Certified Professional, EMC, SAS Certified Predictive Modeler etc.


Experience is gained through studying and getting certifications

Key Skills

Analytical skills, communication skills, math skills, critical thinking skills, logical thinking skills and ingenuity and detail oriented.

Annual Mean Salary

$123,850 (for all Computer and Information Research Scientists)

Job Outlook

16% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018)

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes Data Scientists as Computer and Information Research Scientists. The annual mean salary for this occupation was reported by the BLS as $123,850 which almost equates to a mean hourly wage of $59.54. In 2018, the BLS predicted a 16% employment growth for this occupation which is thought to be faster than the average of other professions.

Career Requirements

According to the BLS 2018 data, Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing was reported as the highest paying industry for this career with an annual mean salary of $170,350. Although graduates of a bachelor’s degree in Data Science or a related subject may be able to secure an entry-level job in the industry, most employers hire people with a master’s or a doctoral degree.  

Steps to Becoming a Data Scientist

Data Science is a booming career that would continue to grow because of technological advancements. If you want to become data scientist, you must fulfill all of the following requirements.

  1. Education

To begin working as a data scientist, you must have at least a 4-years bachelor’s degree in Data Science or any of the following subjects.

  • Computer science.
  • Statistics.
  • Physics.
  • Mathematics.
  • Economics.

However, if your goal is to achieve an advanced level leadership position then, you must possess either a master’s or a doctorate degree. There are numerous institutions in the U.S. that offer these degrees on multiple levels. For instance, the Maryville University offers an online bachelor’s and master’s degree in Data Science. Whereas, the George Mason University offers a master’s degree in Data Analytics Engineering. These degrees prepare students to process and analyze a complex set of data that involves a lot of technical information related to statistics, computers, analysis techniques and more.

  1. Specialization

Since Data Science is a vast field that is a part of almost every business, organization and agency across the globe, people of this occupation often specialize in certain areas. Many specialize in business-related fields to analyze customer information and improve the business. Some work for the Defense Department to help analyze various threat levels while, others work with small startup businesses.

  1. Certification

Although it is not necessary for data scientists to earn any certification, obtaining one improves job prospects by polishing the acquired skillset. Some of the most famous certifications include, Certified Applications Professional, Cloudera Certified Professional for Data Scientists, EMC for Data Science Associates and SAS Certified Predictive Modeler using SAS Enterprise Miner 7 etc.

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