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Five Tips on Becoming a Data Scientist

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Five Tips on Becoming a Data Scientist

June 09, 2016

The hottest career of the year may have some technology and data gurus second guessing their career choice. The demand for data scientists currently outweighs the supply.

You’re interested in big data and you think you have the skill set to become a data scientist, but you don’t have a STEM degree. Now what?

Here’s how to become a data scientist without the right background:

  • Get Educated. Start with courses to see if you enjoy the content.  Focus on data hygiene, data management, data infrastructure, analytics, statistics and machine learning.  If you enjoy the classes, consider a possible graduate degree in data science. Excellent programs include UC Berkeley, NYU, and Northwestern.
  • Get Experience. Download public datasets from sites such as Kaggle and test your skills against the open market. You can also see what kinds of projects you can get exposure to where you work, where you can get access to data and test your skills.
  • Network. Talk with some actual data scientists. Listen to what their day-to-day life is like and ask yourself if that sounds exciting or worth the effort to change your career.  Because demand is so high, just even networking with data scientists might open doors for employment opportunities as they are asked all the time about who they know that can possibly fill a role.
  • Location, Location, Location. Consider moving to a hot spot for data science. Top ranked cities for data jobs include Raleigh, Boston, San Diego, and Portland.

About the Author

Eric Haller is the Executive Vice President & Global Head of Experian DataLabs. Eric leads datalabs in the US, UK & Brazil that support research & development initiatives across the Experian enterprise.

Edited by Peter Bernstein

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