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Essential Prerequisites Switch to a Career in Data Science | GradValley

“Dangerous to jump to conclusions, need data…!”

~ Sherlock Holmes, Season 1, Episode 3

The science of deduction as the fictional mastermind calls it, data is inevitable in tons of aspects these days. It’s not just Sherlock Holmes who has understood the vitality of data but millions of people across the globe. What was a mere buzzword that got everyone wondering about its potential is a full-fledged industry right now.

India alone has over 50,000 opportunities for data scientists. Startups are increasingly turning to data to understand consumer behaviour, lead generation touchpoints and operational loopholes for service optimization and performance. This wave of revelation has made employees with redundant skill sets and stagnating careers switch to data science for better career prospects and lucrative paychecks.

However, becoming a data scientist is not as easy as it sounds. It is easy once you understand how to become one. There are a few prerequisites to become a data scientist – more like some essential skills you need to develop and this post will walk you through the entire requirements.

Educational Prerequisites

One of the primary requirements you need to meet to become a data scientist is to have a good educational background. In school, you should have learnt subjects like math, statistics and computer science. You should have a sound knowledge of concepts like probability, algebra, coding and more.

Statistics is an inevitable part of data science as it deals with records, data and everything else a data scientist would require to work on. All the number crunching, fact-sourcing, pattern recognizing tasks come from a firsthand experience with statistics and the more a data scientist is used to resorting to stats for insights and decisions, the better consulting detective he or she is becoming.

As far as basic educational requirement is concerned, an engineering degree is good to get you going on this career path. Engineering is a blend of most of the concepts and subjects data science deals with. Besides, if you have an MBA or another post graduate degree, that adds to your exposure as well.

Computer Skills

Computer skills is your technical side we are talking about. If you are a coder or a programmer, data science is tailored for you. By default, data scientists are supposed to know all or most of the following languages –

• Python

• R

• Apache Spark

• Hadoop

• Structured Query Language

• Unstructured Data

• Excel


Machine Learning is also integral in data science and you should be focussing on this tech if you are eyeing for a job or opportunities in big companies or companies that are into products that rely on data. Such data-driven products have algorithms at their fulcrum and is recommended to be equipped with Machine Learning and have exposure to concepts like random forests, regression techniques, ensemble methods and so much more.

Non-Technical Skills

It’s not just the technical skills that will land you your dream job. Being a data scientist means that you would be majorly working with people who aren’t.

What does this imply?

You also need to possess the skills to talk in layman terms, tone down your findings, convert them into what people can understand, convince them and get your insights ruling. For this, you need to have a good communications skill to have clarity in thoughts to reflect on the clarity of your findings. Plus, you need visualization skills to narrate your insights-story in the form of charts, graphs, presentations to emphasize the data-backed solution you propose.


Also, you must have a strong business acumen to actually understand the business from the operations perspective to actually think about multiple approaches you can take to uncover loopholes you never knew existed. For instance, if you do not have a strong business acumen, you would never understand that a loophole in the sales funnel process is actually crippling your company’s revenue system. That is why an MBA degree complements your skill sets here.

Lastly, curiosity and your tendency to question facts and figures will take you a long way in data science because…that is exactly what everything is about!

We are sure that this article would have given you a clear idea on where you stand in your career-shift path and on the skills you need to develop to progress in it. You can get in touch with us any time to know more about becoming a data scientist and we would be glad to assist you. Drop an email, walk in or call us to get consulted.

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