What Does A Data Scientist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Data Scientists

Data Scientists are responsible for recording, storing, and analyzing data to extract useful information. The information may be used to resolve business challenges, create new processes, or improve existing processes.

Master's degree

Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

A Data Scientist is essentially an advanced Statistician who specializes in organizing, analyzing, and presenting data. Depending on the industry, a Data Scientist may analyze big data to improve business processes, IT architecture, manufacturing, communication, or marketing strategies.

Data Scientists also work for government agencies and nonprofits to develop better social programs and policies. It is a broad field that requires backgrounds in technology and social science to detect trends and patterns. Due to the technical requirements of the job, becoming a Data Scientist requires an advanced degree and comes with a wide range of responsibilities.

What they do

Data Scientists are responsible for recording, storing, and analyzing data to extract useful information. The information may be used to resolve business challenges, create new processes, or improve existing processes.

Process and Clean Data Before Analysis

The data that Data Scientists review needs to be processed and cleaned to ensure that it does not contain any errors. The effectiveness of the changes recommended by a Data Scientist depends on the accuracy of the data that they analyze.

Data Scientists may compile data and then use computer software to remove duplicate or irrelevant entries. They may also use computer algorithms to help detect entries with missing data or structural errors.

After cleaning the data, Data Scientists validate the data. This allows them to make more informed decisions when analyzing the data. Cleaning the data also helps reduce the time needed to analyze data, as errors detected during analysis may result in delays.

Perform Initial Data Analysis

Before using artificial intelligence (AI) or advanced computer software to analyze data, Data Scientists perform an initial review of the data. If they were not involved in the cleaning of the data, they first verify the integrity of the data. They then analyze the data to determine which computer models and algorithms to use for a more thorough analysis.

Apply Data Science Techniques

After the initial data analysis, Data Scientists apply data science techniques to gain more insight. They may use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and statistical modeling to process and analyze big data. These technologies are often used to improve business processes.

For example, a Data Scientist may use AI and ML to uncover new ways to streamline existing business procedures, such as the stages of software development or the processes used in manufacturing. Before implementing any changes, they may compile a report and submit their plans to executives.

Measure the Results of Any Changes

Data Scientists evaluate the results of any changes that they make using data science techniques and technologies. They track specific metrics to determine if the changes yielded positive or negative results.

After measuring the results, Data Scientists compile the data and generate reports. They then submit the reports or present the information to executives to keep them updated.

Develop Data Modeling Processes

To aid with the analysis of big data, Data Scientists often develop new data modeling processes. They may create predictive models and algorithms to perform custom analyses of the data. The processes that they use include specific criteria for finding relevant data and analyzing it.

Create and Maintain Databases

Data Scientists may be tasked with creating and maintaining databases to store relevant business data. However, as with cleaning data, these tasks may also be handled by lower-level employees, such as Database Administrators. When other IT staff manage the databases, the Data Scientist may still collaborate on the design of the database to ensure that it meets specific criteria for storing data.

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What is the job like


You Have Access to Exciting New Technologies

Data Scientists are at the forefront of using new data science technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which can make this job more exciting.

There Are Job Opportunities in Many Industries

While many Data Scientists work for IT companies, they can also find work in other fields, providing greater flexibility for finding a job that suits your preferences.

You Can Help Businesses Achieve Success

Data Scientists often find that their work is rewarding, especially when their data analysis helps businesses achieve specific objectives.

You Work on a Variety of Projects

While analyzing data can become tedious, you get to work on a variety of projects throughout the year, which helps keep the job from becoming too boring.


Businesses May Not Listen to Your Advice

Some executives may not understand or follow through on your suggestions, limiting the effectiveness of your work.

Some Tasks Can Be Monotonous

Analyzing data and other tedious tasks can become monotonous, which is why this job requires patience and a love of statistics.

Where they work

Tech Companies
Insurance Industry
Marketing and Advertising
Federal and State Governments

Many Data Scientists work for larger companies in the IT industry, such as Google, IBM, and Amazon. Insurance companies hire Data Scientists to help improve fraud identification processes. Marketing and advertising firms employ Data Scientists to analyze consumer shopping habits. Data Scientists are also employed by Federal and state governments.

How to become one

Step 1: Study Math and Computers in High School

Data Scientists study math and computers extensively in college, which are courses that high school students can explore before graduating. Take the highest level of math available.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Aspiring Data Scientists should earn a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics, or a related field.

Step 3: Earn a Master’s Degree

Data Scientists typically need at least a Master’s degree. About 47% of Data Scientists hold Master’s degrees while another 47% have Doctoral degrees. Common majors include Data Analytics, Statistics, and Mathematics.

Step 4: Look for Entry-Level Work

Either between degrees or after earning a Master’s degree, start looking for entry-level work. Most Data Scientists start as Data Analysts.

Step 5: Obtain Relevant Certifications

Voluntary certifications related to the technologies used by Data Scientists may increase employment opportunities. Examples include the Google Professional Data Engineer Certification and the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate.

Step 6: Look for Advancement Opportunities

After gaining a few certifications and several years of work experience, start applying for Data Scientist positions.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Thinker

People with this personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Data Scientists need an analytical mindset to deal with complex algorithms and predictive models. They also need good interpersonal skills to help explain technical information to executives and business leaders. Patience is a useful personality trait when spending hours analyzing complex data.

Data Scientists should also be inquisitive, as inquisitive individuals always ask questions and dig deeper into data. Detail-oriented individuals may also be suited for this career due to the need to pay attention to the smallest details.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.


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