The world is producing more data than ever before, aided by proliferating sensors with inexpensive and unlimited Cloud computing resources to handle it. As businesses are powered by data, Enterprises are looking forward to extracting value from the data pool that will help them boost revenue and adapt to new market trends. It’s no surprise that data-related career roles and opportunities have mushroomed all across the world. Amid the demands, companies must recruit the best personnel with proven Data Science expertise. This article will help you understand the key Data Scientist Skills.
Introduction to Data Science
Data Science is an interdisciplinary subject that focuses on extracting useful information from vast amounts of Structured and Unstructured Data. By leveraging Big Data, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence, Data Scientists uncover actionable insights for complex business issues.
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Data Scientists and Their Roles
Data Science is a professional with an affinity to make discoveries in the world of Big Data. It combines the analytical reasoning of a coder with the curiosity and problem-solving nature of a Scientist.
Data Scientists are said to have profound knowledge and expertise in Data Science-related fields like Machine Learning, Statistics, Mathematics, Computing Science, Data Visualization, Communication, etc.
A Data Scientist’s work involves understanding an organization’s goals and determining how data can be used to achieve those goals. While the Data Science landscape evolves, the primary roles and responsibilities of Data Scientists remain the same. Some organizations demand that Data Scientists develop their own models and carry out academic research. Companies also hire Data Scientists to come up with new product ideas, features, and value-added services.
Apart from the fact that Data Scientists are offered lucrative salaries, Harvard Business Review has also deemed this career as one of the most in-demand jobs of the 21st century. As the number and diversity of job profiles of Data Scientists grow, there will be intense competition for top-notch talent. As a result, before jumping on the bandwagon, interested candidates should assess their abilities and strengths to see if they meet the requirements of these positions.
10 Top Data Scientist Skills
The top Data Scientist Skills are as follows:
1) Data Scientist Skills: Mathematical and Statistical Knowledge
The entire Data Science process is based on Mathematics and Statistics. Statistical Analysis is required to make sense of complex and diverse data. Therefore, one must be familiar with concepts of Statistical Analysis, including Descriptive Statistics (Mean, Median, Range, Standard Deviation, Variance), Exploratory Data Analysis, Percentiles and Outliers, Bayes Theorem, Random Variables, Cumulative Distribution function (CDF), Skewness, Probability Theory, and Maximum Likelihood Estimators. They should also have a working knowledge of tools like SAS, Hadoop, Spark, Hive, and Pig for working with Big Data for Analysis projects.
The approaches used by Data Scientists, including Machine Learning in general, are primarily dependent on mathematical calculations. Since Data Science is an emerging discipline, Data Scientists may be assigned to fashion their own model for specific tasks. In such instances, a strong background in Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus can help when developing out-of-the-box models.
2) Data Scientist Skills: Data Wrangling
Datasets may be disorganized and chaotic, with ill-defined Database Fields, Valueless Data, and Outliers that no one can understand. As a result, before doing any serious modeling work to extract insights, Data Scientists must transform, standardize, normalize, and clean the data. The process of converting data from one format to another is known as Data Wrangling.
Data Wrangling abilities also entail gathering data from numerous sources and manipulating data formats to fit the needed algorithms. This enables businesses to make sense of the data they have and select objectives they want to accomplish. The latter entails deciding what questions to ask and how to phrase them, as well as modifying the data sources to get the desired results.
3) Data Scientist Skills: Data Visualization
It refers to the graphical representation of data. Data Scientists may need to describe and convey their findings to both technical and non-technical audiences. The use of visuals to explain insights enables those who lack advanced technical knowledge, such as team leaders and corporate decision-makers, to quickly comprehend trends and data patterns without a lot of explanation.
As a result, one must be familiar with Histogram, Bar Charts, Waterfall Charts, Thermometer Charts, Scatter Plots, Line Plots, Time Series, Relationship Maps, Heat Maps, Geo Maps, and 3-D Plots. Some of the visualization tools to be mastered are Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, and Qlikview. Furthermore, Python and R offer great Open-source Data Visualization libraries like matplotlib and ggplot that can create advanced graphs.
Along with Data Visualization skills, a Data Scientist must be able to explain how they arrived at a particular conclusion or analytical results to a non-technical audience. Hence, they must have creative storytelling skills. This helps Data Scientists seamlessly translate the quantitative results into the language understood by the audience. At the end of the day, what matters is how convinced the audience is of the results, and if people don’t comprehend them, the findings may be rendered useless.
4) Data Scientist Skills: Coding
The ability to code is integral to every Data Science position. Programming is a pathway to communicate with the Machine Learning models. And coding enhances Data Scientists’ capability to implement their statistical knowledge, analyze huge datasets efficiently, and develop AI-based tools. It also allows them to create programs or algorithms to parse data and collect data through APIs. Therefore, Data Scientists must be adept at coding using programming languages like Python, R, or Julia.
Having knowledge of multiple languages can help Data Scientists work with any Data Science project. For example, proficiency in Python can enable the use of multiple Data Science libraries for rapid prototyping, whereas R is better for Statistical Analysis and Visualization, and Julia for HPC. This does not imply that Data Scientists must be familiar with the syntax and semantics of every programming language. They can start with one particular language as per their preference and still build a rewarding career around it.
5) Data Scientist Skills: Deep Learning and Machine Learning Knowledge
Organizations are increasingly employing Data Scientists to deploy Machine Learning models, in which they train models to learn about data sets and then look for patterns, anomalies, or insights into the data. When endowed with the practical knowledge of Machine Learning, one can learn when and how to use Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms at their organization. They can create effective AI solutions, train and deploy models for a variety of use cases like Image Classification, Fraud Detection, Language Translation, Chatbots, etc. However, in situations where companies deal with Structured Data, Data Scientists may leverage Gradient Boost Machine to achieve better accuracy. Here, expertise in algorithms like XGBoost, LightGBM, and Catboost will prove highly useful.
While these are the prerequisites, it is also crucial to be familiar with current Machine Learning and industry regulations. For instance, in recent years, the usage of ethical Machine Learning algorithms has been prioritized in many established incumbents. Data Scientists must aim to create and using algorithms that are transparent and have minimal negative biases.
6) Data Scientist Skills: Product Intuition
Organizations expect Data Scientists to think like problem-solvers and use their skills and expertise to develop the best feasible solution for a problem statement. In an industrial setting, Data Scientists must have an understanding of systems that produce the data that is later analyzed. This is why a Data Scientist has to have a keen product intuition to construct hypotheses about how the system would behave if it were altered in a certain way. They should also be familiar with the product in order to define Product Metrics that may be used to determine what is intended and what is worth changing.
Sometimes, in vast data sets, valuable data insights may not always be obvious. However, if a skilled Data Scientist has strong product intuition and understands when to delve beneath the surface for useful information.
Most of the data we deal with today is Unstructured in nature, most of which are sourced from Social Media interactions. The practice of representing, analyzing, and extracting actionable patterns and trends from raw Social Media data and user-created content is known as Social Media Mining. It’s a combination of Social Media and Social Network analysis, along with robust NLP algorithms that aid brands in gaining new perspectives on human behavior and interaction. This is similar to Data Mining but is confined to the world of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, influencer blogs, etc.
With the ever-increasing popularity of Social Media, companies leverage Social Media data for Sentiment Analysis, Keyword Extraction, and Market Trend Analysis. Because Social Media is an easy-to-use and ubiquitous container of data, Data Scientists should be familiar with NLP techniques. Budding Data Scientists must have the ability to mine useful context and insights from noisy and dynamic Social Media input datasets. This can help their organization offer personalized Marketing, identify and truncate pain points in customer experience, improve search results for everyday Search Engines, Survey Locations, and make decisions regarding potential future markets.
8) Data Scientist Skills: MLOps
Data Scientists use various experiments to create Machine Learning models before picking the optimal model based on its performance metrics. However, Data Scientists often discover that their models got stranded either in the production. This is due to the fact that putting Machine Learning models into action is more challenging than training them. If a model is challenging to use, hard to interpret, and computationally extensive, extracting the business value may be impossible. Another challenge in the Machine Learning model deployment lifecycle is building an integrated ML system and continue operating it in production.
MLOps allows Data Scientists to quickly deploy, maintain, monitor, and update ML models. In other words, it aids in the automation and monitoring of all stages of the ML system development process, including integration, testing, releasing, deployment, and infrastructure management. Knowing how to utilize MLOps platforms may help Data Scientists reduce the time and effort it takes to deploy models, reduce team friction, improve collaboration, and improve model tracking. As a result, they will be able to focus on true model development work, establish a genuinely cyclical lifecycle for the contemporary ML model, as well as standardize the Machine Learning process in order to prepare for more regulation and policy.
9) Data Scientist Skills: Business Acumen
Technical expertise can be most effectively applied when combined with sound business judgement. Without it, a budding data scientist might not be able to identify the issues and the difficulties that must be overcome for a company to advance. This is crucial for assisting the company you work for in pursuing new business prospects.
10) Data Scientist Skills: Communication Skills
Communication is the next talent on the list of the top data scientist skills. Data scientists are adept in extracting, comprehending, and analyzing data. However, you must be able to effectively explain your results to team members that come from different professional backgrounds if you want to succeed in your position and help your organization.
As the demand for Data Scientists grows, the profession becomes more appealing to students and experienced professionals. Apart from the above-mentioned technical and analytical skills, having good communication skills will help Data Scientists collaborate and share ideas among teams. They should also be critical thinkers who can apply objective analysis to a particular subject or situation before forming views or making decisions. In addition, Data Scientists must adapt to new technologies as fast as possible and be able to respond positively to changing market trends.
A Data Scientist must possess intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and the desire to not only discover and solve issues using the data available but also to answer questions that have never been addressed.
The first step in implementing any Data Science algorithm is integrating the data from all sources. However, most businesses today have an extremely high volume of data with a dynamic structure that is stored across numerous applications. Creating a Data Pipeline from scratch for such data is a complex process since businesses will have to utilize a high amount of resources to develop it and then ensure that it can keep up with the increased data volume and Schema variations. Businesses can instead use automated platforms like Hevo.
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