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How to Become a Data Scientist in 5 Actionable Steps

The Big Data analytics market is expected to grow to $40.6 billion by 2023.

Are you looking to cash in on that opportunity and join the movement? If so, data science can be an ideal industry to pursue. 

In fact, Glassdoor recently named Data Scientist as the best job in America.

Wondering how to become a data scientist? You’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re sharing five steps to get you started in this role.

1. Learn Programming

Before you pursue an advanced degree specific to data science, it’s helpful to prepare yourself first. You’ll do this by becoming familiar with some of the most popular programming languages. 

Start by learning Python for data science. Then, branch into Java and R from there.

Understanding the basics of these languages will give you a solid foundation for when you’re ready to take your next step. It may also reveal to you whether or not a career in this field is right for you!

2. Pursue Post-Secondary Education

If you’re just starting at a college or university, now is the time to choose your major wisely. The most popular ones in the data science field include:

  • Computer Science
  • Statistics
  • Information Technologies
  • Advanced Math

Depending on where you study, you may even be able to pursue a data scientist degree. Of course, you can also find online degree programs in these fields, as well. 

As you focus on your higher education, now is also the time to brush up on database architecture and management systems such as SQL/MySQL. 

As you pursue your studies, take advantage of any networking events on campus or available internship opportunities.

3. Get Your Foot in the Door

When you’re fresh out of college, you’ll often be presented with an entry-level job in your field. These positions may be advertised as Junior Data Scientist or Junior Data Analyst.

Don’t shy away from them, but use them as launching pads to your next career move.

Find a mentor at work who can show you the ropes and continue to pursue certifications and training that can help you grow in your role. 

4. Find an Advanced Degree Program

Once you’ve had some real-world experience in the industry, you’re ready to go back to school and pursue an advanced degree, such as a Master’s or Ph.D.

The same majors you considered as an undergraduate, such as computer science, are equally in-demand here. You may also choose to branch into STEM degrees that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. For instance, physics and biotechnology are applicable fields to consider.

Make sure you understand the ins and outs of the industry niche of your choice. At the minimum, all data scientists at this juncture should have a grasp of data management programs, as well as Big Data frameworks including Apache Spark and Hadoop MapReduce.

5. Grow Your Career

Once you’ve completed your advanced degree program, you’re ready to ask for that big promotion.

To climb the ladder and amplify your earning potential, make sure you’re combining your technical proficiency with hands-on project management and leadership experience. 

Along the way, never stop learning. Network all you can, read industry publications and continue to hone your craft. Relevancy and expertise are your two strongest marketing points, so pursue them accordingly.

Learn More on How to Become a Data Scientist

Are you ready to dive into your education and propel yourself toward new career heights? If so, knowing how to become a data scientist is a great place to start.

This rewarding and lucrative field has plenty of room for eager new learners to join the ranks, so why not get started today?

For more tips on how to excel at technology, business and life, we’re your go-to source. Check back often for advice on how to ace that interview, complete that assignment and leverage new tools along the way. 

Now that you know the job path you want to pursue, why not enhance your career with an IT-specific certification? Never stop learning, and you can’t go wrong.

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