What Are The Key Skills to Becoming a Data Scientist? 


Whether you already work in tech or you are looking at starting a new career in technology, there are plenty of opportunities out there, as long as you know where to look and how to make yourself an attractive prospect to employers. Data scientist jobs are among the most in-demand, as data scientists play a vital role in making sense of the vast volumes of raw data that an organization receives so that it can be used for tactical benefit. 

Data science skills are rewarding, varied, exciting, and highly valued, making them a great option for someone looking to further their career.  One of the great things about the tech industry is that you don’t necessarily need a college degree to secure a position.

However, if you are looking at data science jobs, a mathematical mind is a must. Data science involves using algorithms and specific processes to isolate specific data before processing it to give meaningful insights.  To successfully apply for data science jobs there are some other key skills that you will need to be able to demonstrate.


Programming allows data scientists to achieve order from a vast amount of disorganized data. Knowledge of programming languages is, therefore important, with Python taking the lead in popularity followed by Perl, SQL, Java, and C/C++.

Analytics, including SAS

Aptitude in using analytical tools is as important as programming knowledge as it helps you to understand, and organize, the information that you extract. There are a host of data analytics available, but SAS, Hadoop, Pig, Spark, and R are the most popular. 

Ability to work with unstructured data

The rise of digital means that organizations have data pouring in from a host of sources at an ever-increasing rate. Therefore, it is essential that as a data scientist, or prospective data scientist, you can prove your ability to work with, and disseminate, data from a range of sources.

Excellent communication skills

The idea that technical staff doesn’t possess great interpersonal skills is outdated dial-up internet connections. A data scientist needs to liaise with teams from across an organization, expanding on findings and investigating how patterns in data and behavior can be manipulated to improve organizational performance. 

Database management

Data scientists aren’t just good at maths, programming, and analytics; they need to be solid all-rounders in order to do the job effectively. Database management allows data scientists to sort, index, and understand databases so that the vast amount of incoming data can be converted into insightful chunks. 

A business mind

Another string to the considerable bow of the data scientist’s skills is the need to possess great business acumen. This attribute separates the leaders from the assistants; the ability to identify and mitigate potential problems and solve challenges as they arise is a valuable asset when it comes to sustainable organizational growth. 

Gaining experience

Gaining data science experience involves hands-on work and acquiring deep theoretical knowledge and cutting-edge skills through advanced education programs. For those looking to enhance their expertise in this field, the UNSW Master of Data Science offers comprehensive training in the latest data science techniques and methodologies. If you are new to the industry, it can help to get some work experience

Some skills, such as organization, creativity, timekeeping, communication, and business acumen can be demonstrated through other jobs. However, in order to get – and keep – a data scientist job, it is important that you can demonstrate the more technical skills needed, too. If you are new to the industry, it can help to get some work experience.

Try networking with people in the business and actively look for work experience opportunities and internships; many tech companies of all sizes offer internships. If you are unable to demonstrate your skills immediately, it may be worth seeking an entry-level role in an organization that has a reputation for nurturing its staff.

This is much easier to do in today’s competitive climate as, thanks to the rise in tech jobs and the Great Resignation, there are more tech jobs available than there are people to fill them. 

The time has never been better to pursue a career in tech. Whether you have a specific role in mind or you want to explore the range of tech career opportunities, making sure that you have the digital skills as well as the soft skills to do the job will make it much easier for you to find a position that meets your expectations in terms of seniority, benefits and career progression.

One way to help you find a job that suits you is to go through a tech recruiter. Tech recruiters have an unrivaled understanding of the industry and which organizations are most likely to nurture burgeoning skills. They will also be able to advise you on the skills that you need to develop in order to land the job that you deserve. 

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