Being one of the highest-paid tech jobs ever, data science has rapidly become a popular career option for many. With the growing possibilities of emerging technologies, data science has come to be popular field researchers and working professionals. According to a survey, the data science and analytics ecosystem have been witnessing an overall growth in the number of jobs with India contributing to 6% of open job openings worldwide. And therefore, students, as well as working professionals, are sharing their interest in making a career in data science.
However taking the first step can be hard for any student, especially if you lack knowledge and experience of the field. In this article, we will discuss ten things that a student should consider before pursuing a career in data science.
Pick A Relevant Major
Although many experts have mentioned that degrees aren’t important for a data science career, it indeed requires strong skills in statistics, maths, and programming. To have an early kickstart to your data science career, students need to focus on topics like statistics, computer science, physical sciences, linear algebra and calculus, and social sciences for their choice of major. Choosing a STEM major at an early stage of a career will let the students’ brain expose to the field early and will create a solid base in applied math and statistics, which is a key skill for analysing the large volumes of data and data trends collected by big companies.
Books, Articles & Journals To The Rescue
Although there are several internet resources that one can use to learn data science, books, articles and journals are still one of the best tools to learn from. With an overload of information, online, it indeed can create hassles for students of this era face who are trying to get into a new field, which, in turn, confuses students who are totally novice. If one has to check, there are hundreds of online courses, specialisations, videos, podcasts etc., but it is best that students, who are willing to learn about this new field, take help from books, articles and journals to start learning the basics concepts, and then add value with other online resources. In the data science community, many experts and professionals have shared their knowledge by writing books, which students can opt-in order to learn more about data science.
Personal Project Will Be Beneficial
Learning shouldn’t be contained to the classroom, rather the best way to learn something new is to apply what is learnt in the classroom into something you care about, like creating a personal project. Data science is not about learning tools and techniques; in order to become a data scientist, students need to build a portfolio by working on real projects — maybe independently on platforms like Kaggle. In fact, if data science enthusiasts aren’t equipped enough to design their independent projects, they can even opt from premade projects and tutorials online that pose problems for students to solve. Such possibilities will let students get hands-on experience without investing in expensive tools or training.
Enhance Your Computing Skills
Considering computers have penetrated in all aspects of human lives, it isn’t just an essential tool to master the skills of data science but also to survive in today’s world. And therefore, basic computing skills is indeed necessary for all human beings striving in the corporate world. And for data scientists learning about programming and coding will help them in their job where they will be required to solve business problems with the help of data as well as make software for business customers. These computing skills will also help data scientists to learn advanced programming skills which are also essential for surviving in the industry. All companies nowadays are expecting their candidates to know the all sort of programming language, like R or Python, and a database querying language like SQL, FQL, HTSQL.
Opt For Online Courses Early
For data science professionals, and even for students, online classes and crash courses can be a quick way to learn about data science. These crash courses can help these enthusiasts learn ranges of technical and programming skills, as well as data analysis and machine learning. However, one needs to invest heavily on disciplining themselves to get the best out of these online courses. In fact, there are several courses and tutorials available online that can provide a perfect understanding of the subjects. Some of these materials are even developed and distributed by the university professors, while some are also put together by experts and experienced professionals. One can choose the right online course for themselves and begin their journey of data science.
Peer Groups For Gaining Knowledge
Although students need to read articles written by data science professionals or watch tutorials and videos on data science, it’s also important if students and data science enthusiasts can have face-to-face conversations with people and experts of the field. Joining a peer group keeps enthusiasts motivated, and provides a hand-holding experience for newcomers in this new field. Interacting with peers from the same field can be beneficial for newcomers and enthusiasts. Students can also find communities, forums, and groups online to discuss subjects and problems of their career. In fact, peer groups are the best way to keep updated with the latest news and updates on different technology related to the field. One can also go to a data science conference, attend interesting talks by experts of the field, or join a meet up to make themselves visible in the data science community.
Learn From All Possible Resources
Key to becoming a data science expert is to continuously learn from all possible resources available. In today’s world, there isn’t any shortage of information for one to learn data science — such as podcast, webinars given by data scientists, data science articles, various online courses, and engaging with the data science community. One can even follow the expert data scientists of the industry to learn about the industry as well as keeping track of recent trends of the field. Developing relevant resources will provide students with pertinent information about the field, and in turn, the students will not be overwhelmed with the information provided.
Soft skills Are Important Too
Although it is considered a soft skill, it is important for data scientists to improve their communication skills along with their technical skills. Like any other field of the IT industry, data science also requires excellent communication skills. Communication skills are even more critical when you are working in the field of data science, as data scientists need to share their ideas to their colleagues and other teams, and having good communication skills help them to have smooth communication with the rest of the organisation. A good communication skill will help data scientist to understand the business requirements as well as communicate the results to team members, bosses, as well as stakeholders. The skill is usually underestimated, however, has been an important tool for data scientists to enhance, as good storytelling is critical for data scientists.
Don’t Jump Into The Deep End
Some young enthusiasts and students pursue this field with a vision to build a robotic technology of the future or to directly become the next tech genius with their self-driving cars, and computer vision. However, usually, people forget that it’s important to first master the fundamentals of data science. For a student who is willing to pursue a career in data science needs to be completely aware of the field, basics as well as advanced knowledge before they actually start to dream about building revolutionary technology. Some of the fundamental steps towards data science is learning the basic techniques and algorithms, which will help students to understand advanced topics better.
Understand The Job Market
It’s indeed beneficial to know the market beforehand, even while as a student, in order to understand what is actually required to survive in this competitive landscape. Such a piece of knowledge will give students a headstart with their choices of courses and skills for future perspective. Moreover, it’s important to know the market well enough before applying so that you know the tips and tricks to get through the interview and land on the desired job. Its never to early to stay abreast with the industry, as this constantly evolving industry can bring in a lot of changes in a small span of time. In this age of constant technological innovation, it is important to understand the career market as early as possible to stand ahead of the crowd.