Looking for that first job to kick off your ascent to adulthood? Maybe you fancy a career change? If you’re on the lookout for a new way to challenge yourself in the workplace, might we suggest taking up a job as a data scientist? That might sound a little out of the blue, but stick with us here. Data scientist was ranked as the best job in America this year… and last year… and the year before! That’s three years in a row. There’s got to be something pretty special about the job, don’t you think? Here’s all you need to know about working in the best job in America.
Money, money, money
First and foremost, data scientists aren’t struggling for cash on a regular basis. Job site Glassdoor state that the average compensation for someone in this job is $120,000 per year. We’ll be lucky if we’ll ever see that much money in our entire lives. It’s no wonder that it’s ranking so strong in the country, or that job satisfaction was rated 4.2 out 5 by employees.
Alongside offering great pay, the job makes you a vital component of the company you work for. As Ling Cheng, a Data Science Manager at Glassdoor points out, “more companies are starting to realize the potential they have in their data,” and they aren’t going to throw away someone that’s helping them to develop and thrive. There has never been a better time to be a data scientist.
What does it involve, though?
Data scientists are a bit like consultants, in that they advise managers on what decisions to make regarding operational efficiency and product management. Cheng likens the work to being a detective, because you have to interpret the data and compare what it’s telling you against what you believe in.
The job bears similarities to being a data engineers, but the two are very much different. Engineers are responsible for providing data scientists with the information they need to analyze, and therefore require skills that are more tailored toward software development. The scientists can take this information and then turn it into dashboards which present everything in a clearer, visual way.
“Insights, dashboards, and building products – I think those are kind of the big areas,” Cheng answered when asked about the most important roles for the job.
The life of a data scientist
As is normally the case with the best jobs, no two days are the same when you’re a data scientist. You could be coding, analyzing papers, having discussions with managers or engineers… it varies on a regular basis. While some of the tasks may be repetitive, what you’re doing them for is always different. If the work is something you can feel passionate about, it never gets boring.
Being a data scientist also gives you a lot more control than some people believe. While there’s a misconception that other people devise a bunch of questions for you to just sit there and answer, the reality is a lot more complex. You have an active role, and as you discover new or unexpected information while analyzing the data, you can change the way that things are run by the company. Data scientists aren’t there to take a back seat.
Entering the job
With all that’s been said, you can’t just walk into a data scientist role. You’ll need to get yourself a degree, although whether you’ll need an advanced one depends on the role you intend on taking. “More analytics-focused DS roles typically just need a bachelor’s degree,” Cheng highlights, “but ML-focused roles tend to prefer either advanced degrees or more experiences.”
While this can take a while to achieve, Cheng recommends an easy way to gain some experience in the meantime. She suggests taking something you’re interested in and finding a way to approach it from the role of a data scientist. It will help you get into the right mindset and prepare you for the job once you have the qualifications.
Still sound like a job worth doing? If so, best get yourself onto the right course ASAP. That degree is going to take you a few years.