About Data Scientist

Not all scientists spend their time in labs inventing. Data Scientists are named so because they can sort through large amounts of data and make it comprehensible for us laymen. If you enjoy working with numbers and derive satisfaction by making sense of chaos, here is a career for you to consider!

Data scientists collect, analyse and interpret data to understand market trends and help businesses as well as their customers. The role of a data scientist is actually an offshoot of a statistician’s role.Using advanced analytical tools like machine learning and predictive modelling, data scientists inform their inferences on howdata analytics drives business decisions that include changing business course/plan, improving products & processes, and creating new products and services. The primary responsibility of a data scientist is to identify ways to improve business decisions and help the organization gain competitive advantage.

Owing to the similarity in the nature of work and required skill sets, data scientists are often confused with data analysts. While data analystscollectand process data through statistical analysis, identify patterns and correlate data sets to determine business process improvements, data scientists do all that and much more. Based on the analytics, data scientists develop new algorithms for specific problems. They also explore data for insights on consumer behaviour and for market trend analysis.

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Top Colleges

To become a data scientist, you must have abachelor's degree in mathematics, computer science, statistics or data science. You must also acquire the technical knowledge of big data related platforms and tools like Hadoop, Spark,Pig, Hive and MapReduce, as well as SQL, Python, R, Scala and Perl.

The US is the best country to pursue these courses. The Harvard University and the University of California - Berkeley offer 3-years bachelor’s degree programs in Mathematics, Statistics, Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.The University of California - Berkeley also has a 4-years computer science engineering program as well as master’s courses in this field. The University of Pittsburgh offers 6 BA and BS courses in Mathematics and Statistics with various combinations. It also has an undergraduate degree program in Computer Science, Information Science & technology and even a BSE Computer Engineering degree.

The US also has some of the best master’s level courses for this field. An MS in Data Science course is offered at the Columbia University. A 2-years MS in Data Science course is also offered at the New York University. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) offers a 16-months MS in Computational Data Science course. Even Stanford University has a Master of Science in Statistics - Data Science course.

In the UK, University of Oxford offers 4 bachelor’s degree courses in Mathematics in combination with Philosophy, Statistics and Computer Science. The University of Warwick also has 6 undergraduate courses in Mathematics which is offered in combination with Physics, Statistics, Economics and Philosophy. The University of Birmingham offers both 3 and 4-years BA and BSc. courses in Mathematics with various combinations. Even the University of Nottingham offers a 4-years BSc. in Data Science degree.

At the master’s level, the Cardiff University offers a 1-yearfull-time MSc. in Data Science and Analytics course. The London School of Economics and Political Science also offers a 1-yearfull-time MSc. in Data Science course.

In India, the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) Kolkata offers a 3-years B. Sc. Statistics (Hons.)course, admission to which is based on a written admission test and interview.St. Stephen’s College also offers a 3-years B. Sc. Mathematics (Hons.) course.The Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi has a 5-years B Tech. with M Tech. integrated Mathematics & Computing program. Admission to this course is based on the JEE entrance exam. Some of the other top colleges in India for studies in Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science at the undergraduate level are Lady Shri Ram College for Women, St. Xavier's College-Kolkata, Hindu College and Loyola College-Chennai.

 

USA

Duration: 6 months - 1 Years

Fee per course/annum: USA $15,500 - $37,000


UK

Duration: 3 - 4 years

Fee per course/annum: £15,500 - £23,000


 

Career Prospects

As companies grapple with large amounts of structured and unstructured data, the demand for data scientists has been consistently increasing. The data science industry is booming and is expected to reach $16 billion by 2025.

Some of the top responsibilities of data scientists include collating and analysing data,detecting trends, patterns and relationships between data sets using various types of analytics and reporting tools. Data scientists also mine big data for information to predict customer behaviour and identify business process improvement opportunities.

Using the data analysis interpretations, these professionals develop statistical learning and complex predictive models for data analysis.Some of the top industries that hire data scientists are:

  • Biotechnology
  • Energy
  • Transportation
  • Telecommunication
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
Similar Careers

Jobs & Salary

Successful data scientists have a mix of certain personality traits, experience and analytics skills not easy to find which makes them valuable resources to organizations. In the last few years, data scientist jobs have topped the list of most recruitment portals. They are also some of the highest paid professionals, equally important in business and academic research organizations.

Some of the top job profiles for data scientists are:

Data Analyst
Data Engineer
Marketing Analyst
Quantitative Analyst
Actuarial Scientist
Business Analytic Practitioners
Software Programming Analysts
Spatial Data Scientist

Following are the some of the top companies that hire data scientists:

Search engine companies:

Google
Yahoo

Social network companies:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram

IT & Engineering related companies:

Intel
IBM
HCL Technologies
Wipro Technologies
SAP
Oracle

Finance related companies:

Amazon
Bank of America
PayPal
GE Capital

Data science vendors:

Palantir
Teradata
Pixar
SAS

In the US, the national average salary of a data scientist is $10,100 per month. The average entry-level package of $7,250 a month is amongst the highest across industries. At a senior level, the salary can go as high as $13,200 a month.

In India, the national average salary of a data scientist is Rs. 54,000 per month.The salary can go as high as Rs. 133,000 per month at a senior level. In terms of pay, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru are the top cities for data scientists in India.

Pros & Cons

Becoming a data scientist requires a combination of soft skills including attention to detail, creativity, interpersonal and leadership skills. That combined with your acquired technical skills of data mining, machine learning, data analytics, statistical research techniques of modelling, clustering and segmentation will help you reach the top in this field.

Pros
  • Excellent pay, way above other job profiles
  • The work is always exciting since you will be working with different teams across different industries
  • You will be working with the most advanced analytical tools
Cons
  • Long stressful hours of work
  • The job is complex and time-consuming
  • SContinuous need to stay updated with the latest in technology

Famous Personalities

Alex “Sandy” Pentland

A professor at MIT for the last 29 years, Alex Pentlandco-founded many companies like IDcubed.org, Cogito Health, Sense Networks and Ginger.io. The Forbes magazine has named him the - World’s Most Powerful Data Scientist. He also works in the capacity of an advisor in organizations like HBR, Nissan, Motorola and Telefonica.

Corinna Cortes

The Head of Google Research-NY, Corinna Cortes is a Danish data scientist who has earlier worked at AT&T Labs. She has an MS in Physics from the University of Copenhagen and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Rochester. Corinna specialises in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Algorithms & Theory and General Science.

Andrew Ng

Best known for his Machine Learning Course, theco-founder of Coursera and the founder and Lead of Google’s Deep Learning Project,Andrew Ng is now the Chief Scientist at Baidu where he does research in Deep Learning, Big Data and AI. He is also an Associate Professor at the Stanford University. Through Coursera, he made the data science knowledge accessible to everyone for free!

Timeline

1962 Mathematician John W. Tukey predicts the effect of modern-day electronic computing on data analysis

1977 The International Association for Statistical Computing (IASC) is formed

2001 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), a pre-cursor to Cloud-based applicationsis created

2006 An open-source, non-relational database Hadoop 0.1.0 starts getting used

2008 The title - Data Scientist becomes a buzzword

2009 The term No SQL is reintroduced

2001 Job listings for data scientists increase by 15,000%.

2015 Google’s Speech Recognition & Voice becomes the latest technology


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