By Katherine Olowookere

Jul 30, 2022

Right now, Data Science is among the fastest growing industries with an employment growth rate of about 16% in 2017. This number keeps growing and data science has been named the Sexiest Job Of The 21st Century because of the way its technology is effectively transforming industries.

Due to this rise in demand and the reward that comes with working in the data science field, many are becoming really curious about this lucrative and fast-growing industry and  this curiosity brought about people asking questions such as is this data science for me? Do I have the skills? Can I learn it? Will I enjoy it?

As a beginner in Data Science, you must find clarity and answers to these questions before deciding on pursuing a career in Data Science.

Yes, Data science is indeed a very lucrative industry with lots of available high-paying jobs that can make you rich. But you also have to remember that the greater the reward of a thing the higher the challenges and risks that come with it.

Working on data science projects and solving business problems using data science can get really technical. Throughout your profession, you must continually study and put into practice difficult and intricate concepts.

So here in this blog post, I have provided answers to some of these important questions that only a few experts talk about and most professionals and coaches avoid.

Is Data Science right for me?

This is a question that bugs the minds of most people whenever career topics on getting started with data science are being discussed.

Other similar questions that come up include – how do I know this is the right career path to pursue? What are the innate qualities I possess that signify I will be a great data scientist? What special qualities do I have that if I master them well will make my data science career successful?

I have curated a simple checklist for you if you have ever asked yourself any of these questions to check if Data Science is right for you. If most of them are true for you -or you are ready to put in the hard work to learn them then, that means you can succeed with data science and can be a great data scientist.

1. You can simplify and explain complex ideas to people

Communication is key in data science. To build a successful career in Data Science you are going to need some relatively advanced communication abilities.

Data science experiments can produce complicated and difficult-to-understand results. Because not only will you just have to create predictive models and present your data findings you must be able to effectively communicate and explain your findings, interventions and recommendations to a non-technical audience such as the marketing team, business managers and executives, decision makers or the C-Suite generally.

To effectively communicate your methods and conclusions to these non-technical audiences you need to have high communication skills. The decision-makers and business people have to understand what your models represent so they can make better decisions that will move the business forward. If you are not able to communicate this information effectively then it simply means your models and analysis becomes useless because no one understands you and the information cannot be applied to anything.

So you must be able to communicate your models and results effectively with people from different backgrounds as a data scientist.

Communication skills that you need to master include presentation skills, storytelling skills, data visualization, writing/publishing skills, listening skills etc.

2. You enjoy solving puzzles and you are constantly analyzing

If you are an individual that enjoys problem-solving (i.e you lose your peace until you find a solution to a particular problem) and you also love statistical analysis then that is an indication that you will have a great career in data science.

Problem-solving is one of the fundamental skills you need to be in data science. To acquire better insights, you must play, manipulate, organize, clean, and change data. When you can relax and think deeply about the problem you're presented with you will be able to understand it from multiple perspectives. You can draw out a huge number of insights just by analyzing databases.

A good data scientist must then be able to question their own assumptions and approach problems with a fresh and open mind. Every innovation starts with a mind that is willing to suspend disbelief and ready to consider ideas that hadn't been considered before.

3. You are interested in business and want to understand how the most successful companies operate

Business knowledge is very important in Data Science. Most beginners often wonder why this is. Data Science isn't just about dealing with data. It also involves your ability to interpret this data to improve business processes and solve business problems. Before you can solve any problem correctly you must have sufficient knowledge about what the problem is and ways to approach solving such a problem.

The core of data science isn't coding. Good data scientists are people that are business savvy. They are highly interested in finding ways to analyze business risks, make improvements in business processes, and take the best foot forward for the business to run.

4. You have a curious mind which makes you open to learning new things 

In a field like data science, having a curious mind will help you. Curiosity about finding insights from data, and the hunger to learn are the main characteristics of every successful data scientist.

As a data scientist, you have to be open-minded not just to the final results of your experiments but also to other people’s ideas. Closed minds lack curiosity and possess all available knowledge. A competent data scientist is one who constantly challenges even the accepted truths of science.

5. You are good at Math and Statistics and you would like to use them to solve a real-world problem

If you are not good at Mathematics or Statistics then data science is probably not a great career for you! But the good news is you can succeed if you're willing to learn. Mathematics and Statistics form the basics of all machine learning algorithms (Statistics most especially). In fact, some people believe data science is just over glorified statistics with a new name and a few more algorithms from computer science.

The Math requirements for data science include Mathematics, Linear algebra and Statistics. So, you must know (and like) statistics if indeed you're serious about building a successful career in Data Science.

To get acquainted with the basics of statistics, here are six resources that can help you

6. You know how to code (Or you are willing to learn it)

Technical skills and business skills cannot be separated from each other in the field of Data science. You have to be good in both technical skills and business skills to build a successful career because the two complement each other.

Therefore you need to acquire expertise in working with various programming tools such as SQL, Python, C/C++,  R, Perl and Java. Python is the most common programming language for most data science roles.

In summary, if you're looking to get started with data science you should be someone willing and able to handle data processing, create useful models, have an intuitive understanding of business problems, understand the nuances of data, how the model works and communicate it to the rest of the world.

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About O'Fallon Labs

In O'Fallon Labs we help recent graduates and professionals to get started and thrive in their Data Science careers via 1:1 mentoring and more.

Katherine Olowookere

Katherine is a content manager at O'Fallon Labs. She is interested in writing about a varioty of topics including careers in technology. Katherine holds a B.Sc. in E. Physics. She is passionate about personal growth and making young people become better versions of themselves through personal self development

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