How to Start a Career in Data Science right after College

Data science offers a sea of opportunities for people looking to start their career. With salary reaching 6-figures for entry-level roles, it is one of the most lucrative career options out there.

Demanding a wide-range of skills –programming, statistics, analytical skills and more—data science makes one of the demanding jobs.

According to IBM, the number of data and analytics related jobs will reach 2,720,000 in 2020. Given that the number of data science jobs is increasing exponentially it makes a good opportunity for aspirants. Getting there, however, wouldn’t be a cupcake. A data science professional is expected to be strong at mathematics, analytical and logical reasoning, and even proprietary soft wares like SAS, MATLAB, etc.

Pre-requisites for a career in data science   

To start a career in data science, you will need a bachelor’s degree, most preferably in mathematics, economics, engineering, computer science, or any numeracy-based subject. A large part of data science comprises mathematics, statistics, and programming. Problem-solving is a major part of data science and thus ideal candidates are good problem solvers.

Roles in data science

Data science is a broad field and offers various roles. Following are common roles: 

  1. Data Architect: The deluge of data across organizations requires companies to appoint someone who can design and maintain systems required to maintain data. Data Architects are responsible for this job.
  2. Data Scientist: These data science professionals use organizational data to solve organizational problems. As a Data Scientist, you are expected to know programming, statistics, machine learning, mathematics among all other skills.
  3. Data Analyst – This is an entry-level role where you are required to perform data analysis using Excel. You are expected to be well-versed in analytics.
  4. Data Engineer – Data Engineers take care of the data systems at the organization. They work to improve the reliability, efficiency, and quality of data. They look for sources to obtain data that can be utilized by data scientists.

Starting at a career in data science

Data science is maturing and demand for data science professionals is increasing in the industry. To cater to this demand, data science certifications and training programs are available globally.  Here are some popular programs —

  1. edX (Data Science Essential): This program is crafted in collaboration with Microsoft and teaches you data visualization and exploration. Some of the brightest minds in data science from MIT and Microsoft teach this course.
  2. DASCA (Associate Big Data Analyst): DASCA is a leading data science certification body globally. It offers six certifications for professionals of all levels of experience. The body offers Associate Big Data Analyst (ABDA) certification, an entry-level certification meant for fresh graduates looking to get their foot in the door in data science.
  3. IBM’s Data Science Foundation — IBM is at the forefront of data science. It offers a foundation certification which equips aspirants with the fundamental data science skills. It is one of the popular data science certifications out there.
  4. Udemy’s Data Science A-Z — This short certification course is created by Kiril Eremenko and covers the foundation of data science. For anyone willing to start learning data science, this would be a good online course. The course covers data modeling, Tableau, visualization, and all fundamentals.

In addition to certifications, colleges and universities offer master’s degrees in data science which can further push your career toward data science.