The Five Ws Of Becoming A Data Scientist

Nick Mandella our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 4/22/2021 9:27 AM
The demand for Data Scientists has dramatically increased over the past five years. Research has shown that skills such as Data Science, SQL databases, Big Data and Machine Learning have been the most sought after by British employers in this period, with demand tripling by over 200 per cent

This growth has been accelerated since the start of the pandemic. As businesses faced an unprecedented crisis, with no prior knowledge of how to manage, adapt or survive, leaders needed to turn to data to make informed business decisions to help them navigate the unknown. 

Even though we are already now on the path to economic recovery, this need for data-driven knowledge won’t dissipate any time soon. From being able to create in-depth risk forecasts to gathering consumer sentiment, creating intelligent solutions, and using automation to reduce bottom-line costs; Data Science’s role will continue to be the backbone of success as companies steer through this ‘new normal’. 

Nevertheless, despite the ever-growing appetite for Data Scientists and the number of available roles and opportunities escalating day-by-day, businesses are coming up against the brick wall of a shortage of specialists. According to IBM, Data Science roles remain unfulfilled for 45 days or longer and the UK is having to combat a £2bn Data skills shortage

So, as a student, graduate or current Data Scientist looking to move into a more niche role, what are the key traits, skills and experiences, or the five Ws, you need to have to ensure you not only land your dream job, but help plug the increasing skills gap?

Who can be a Data Scientist?


Anyone can train to become a Data Scientist, and the industry is working hard at improving its attraction and retention of a diverse workforce. 

Despite traditionally being a very male-dominated sector, research Harnham undertook in August 2020 found that Data & Analytics’ gender divide is slowly but surely closing. 30 per cent of women now make up the industry, a big leap from 18 per cent in 2019. 

What skills do you need?


Data Scientists are traditionally required to have at least an undergraduate Bachelors’ degree, usually across science, technology, or statistics. However, the majority will continue to go on to get a Master’s (88 per cent) or PHD (46 per cent) level qualifications.  

Nonetheless, as more businesses have become attuned to how this level of education can cause significant gaps in the number of diverse candidates, other routes into the industry have been made available, such as apprenticeships and work experience. 

Technical skills will also stand you in brilliant stead, from coding languages to machine learning and AI techniques. While not a must-have, a lot of employers, especially post-COVID, will be looking to hire talent that can get started without too much training. 

When should I apply for a role?


In this new normal, as mentioned, employers are looking for candidates who are ‘work-ready’. So, to position yourself above the rest of the competition, make sure you apply for roles when your skills and knowledge are at the highest standard they can be.   

Where could I work as a Data Scientist?


The pandemic has completely skewed the normal working routines of most industries, but especially Data Science. Whereas, usually, the most attractive jobs would be based in London, now, with the correct equipment and support in place, those working within the field can work from anywhere, paving the way for a much more flexible workforce and a steep increase in remote working.  

Why should I work as a Data Scientist?


As a Data Scientist, you’ll never be short for opportunities. As more and more businesses look to implement Data Science into their working model to help make data-driven decisions which not only provide clarity but help reduce costs and positively affect the bottom-line, demand for skilled professionals will only grow.  

Of course, job security isn’t the only perk of becoming a Data Scientist:

  • You can also expect to receive a competitive salary.
  • You’ll be part of an exciting and ever-evolving industry, no two days will ever be the same.
  • Your skillset will mean you’re never limited – the business world is your oyster! 

Data Science is an extremely varied career path to take, and its role within society has grown vastly, especially over the past year. For anyone looking to enter the industry, plug the skills gap or embark on something completely new, this could be a step in the right direction for you. 

If you're interested in working in Data Science, or building out your team, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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