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Australian career guide: becoming a data scientist pro

By Ben Madden

Interested in the information technology sector? A career as a data scientist might be for you. Data scientists search for patterns within data, using the data to devise solutions to the problems that the world is facing. The importance of data to an organisation’s is becoming increasingly evident, so a career as a data scientist is an opportunity to play a part in the future of how data is understood and used in real-world contexts.

Read on to learn more about the role of a data scientist and the skills you’ll need to excel in the information technology industry!

What does a data scientist do?

If you feel right at home when you’re wading through mountains of data, then you might just love the work that data scientists do. Data scientists take raw data and search for patterns and connections within the numbers, testing hypotheses and coming up with solutions to problems that people are facing. Where some might see unorganised, messy data, data scientists see potential.

All types of businesses and organisations need data scientists, as data scientists can use maths, statistics and programming to provide insights into operations and find operational inefficiencies. The world is becoming more reliant on data every day, and numbers matter more than ever. Data scientists can help businesses take the next step and gain an advantage over their competitors or help government organisations deliver better products and services to citizens. 

What skills are required to become a data scientist?

While being able to manipulate and understand data is a key part of becoming a data scientist, there are a range of skills that will help you excel if you choose to become a data scientist. These skills are transferable, so if you’re working in a different field but want to move into the world of data science, then you may already be on your way.

Some of the skills that can help you excel as a data scientist include: 
  • The ability to represent data visually using programs like Google Charts and Tableau
  • The ability to manipulate data to test hypotheses/solutions
  • The ability to think critically – things won’t always be as they seem at first glance
  • The ability to problem solve, especially when facing roadblocks/things aren’t working like you may have expected
  • The ability to communicate your findings with stakeholders, including ones that may not have a thorough understanding of the data 
You’ll also want to have advanced knowledge of various aspects of data science. Of course, if you’re starting from the beginning, then learning as much as you can about mathematics, programming and statistics before you go on to study more advanced topics is a must.

 Some of the things you’ll want to study in order to progress as a data scientist include:
  • A deep understanding of statistics and how they filtered/broken down
  • A deep understanding of machine learning/AI, as well as keeping on top of technological evolutions in this space
  • A deep understanding of programming languages like Python, SQL and Java
  • A deep understanding of how businesses use data to drive their decision-making 

If you’re looking to begin the journey towards a role in data science, then you may want to consider further study. Upskilled’s ICTSS00109 - Short Course in Entry to Tech Skill Set can help you learn about cloud computing, programming and collaboration, preparing you for a range of roles in the IT world. Alternatively, you can contact our education consultants to learn more about what course might be right for you. 

How to become a data scientist?

Now that you are looking to become a data scientist, it’s time to start working towards making it a reality. While an IT-related bachelor’s degree is worth considering completing, there are other avenues towards a career in data science. Completing a short course with Upskilled can help you understand more about the world of IT, while getting involved in programming, statistics and mathematics bootcamps can help you meet like-minded individuals. 
Entering competitions is another excellent way of meeting like-minded individuals, and it’s also a way of getting yourself in front of prospective employers. Organisations like Kaggle, Bitgrit and AICrowd regularly host competitions that can help you put your data science-related skills to the test, giving you the chance to solve real-world problems. There are different types of competitions, including research, analytics and AI categories. If you are looking to receive feedback on your skills in a particular category, then these competitions are well worth your time. There are often prizes involved too, so why not get involved?

On a similar note, it is worth looking into data science internships that can help you polish your skills, as well as develop new ones. Keep an eye on job posting websites like LinkedIn, SEEK and Indeed (setting up alerts can be especially helpful), while also stay connected with those you’ve studied with/been taught by previously. You never know what opportunities will pop up, especially from sources that you might not expect. 

Looking to become a data scientist, or just want to work in the world of information technology? Upskilled is here to help. Upskilled provides a range of nationally recognised qualifications in a range of industries to help you take the next step towards your dream career. Learn more about Upskilled’s course offerings here!

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