People don’t pay you for your experience. They don’t pay you for the title you had at your last job or the format of your resume.
They pay you to solve their problems.
Right now, there might not be a job that embodies that principle more than the role of Data Scientist. It’s a position for people who study large data sets and offer insight on how to optimize processes, increase effectiveness and drive solutions.
It sounds daunting, and it’s certainly not an entry-level job. But if you have a background in a quantitative field (like math, computer science or statistics), and you know your way around Lean Six Sigma cycles (like DMAIC, which is useful for figuring out what to do with the data you collect), then you might be a candidate for an open Data Scientist position.
It’s currently ranked as one of the top jobs in the United States – it is in demand, its salary potential is high and its job outlook is increasing. Many companies are searching for the person who can analyze data, assess the effectiveness of their efforts and develop new data-driven processes to improve outcomes.
What do you need to qualify?
It probably goes without saying, but problem-solving skills are non-negotiable. The job is about using data to find problems, and then using other data to find the solutions to those problems.
Strong communication skills are a plus, too, since Data Scientists are usually working with many divisions of a single company.
Experience with statistical computer languages – like Python or SQL – is a huge advantage.
Taking up the reigns as a company’s lead Data Scientist isn’t typically a job for the recent college graduate. Most companies want five (or more) years of experience working and adjusting data sets, statistical models, etc.
Making strategic assumptions through data is not something you get good at on the weekends, or in your downtime. Most companies are looking for a candidate with a master’s degree or PhD in a quantitative field, and with the sensitive nature of the job, this probably isn’t very negotiable.
According to a 2018 report on career website, Indeed.com, Data Scientist is the #8 best job in the United States, with a growth of 106% since 2014. Compare that to a more common or recognized position like “Head of Sales” – also ranked in Indeed’s top jobs report – which grew only 42% over the same time period.
Data Scientist is a fancy-sounding job title, and fancy-sounding job titles typically get fancy-sounding salaries. In fact, Data Scientist has the second-highest average salary of all the jobs listed on Indeed’s report. It outranks Optometrists, Pharmacists, Computer Vision Engineers, Senior Clinical Specialists and more.
The only job ahead of it, salary-wise, is Machine Learning Engineer (which outranks Data Scientist by about $3,000 a year), but Data Scientist jobs are over five times as prevalent as Machine Learning Engineers. According to the Indeed report, Data Scientists make a base salary of nearly $133,000*.