Are you interested in getting a job as a data scientist? This is a very rapidly growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 113,300 data scientists in the United States. The number of data science jobs is expected to grow 36% between 2021 and 2031.
Unfortunately, getting a job as a data scientist is easier said than done. You will need to understand your career options and plan accordingly if you want to get a job in this growing field.
What You Need to Know When Seeking a Job as a Data Scientist
As we go further into the Digital Age, the IT industry continues to be one of the fastest-growing sectors around the world. More specialized professions, such as data science tend to pay better than generic ones such as computer programming. According to Indeed, a US-based computer programmer has an average income of $73,473 per year. On the other hand, data scientists can earn a median salary of $100,910 a year.
The tradeoff with the higher salary is that data science jobs can be more competitive than computer programming jobs. As a result, it can be harder to start a career as a data scientist. These high-paying jobs, many of which can be done remotely from a worker’s own home, are in high demand. Because of the higher number of applicants, it can be difficult for new workers to break into the industry.
However, by following a few simple tips, prospective new data scientists can increase their chances of getting one of these coveted positions. It may take some time to advance to a desired position like project lead or head data scientist or machine learning architect. However, the first step, as they say, is to get your foot in the door and, through time and hard work, that dream job could be yours.
Taking Classes to Get Certifications
The first step for most positions is to make sure you have a certification or a diploma from a program that shows you understand how to do the job. A company looking to hire someone to set up and maintain physical networks around their offices will likely be more interested in hiring someone with a Cisco Entry Level certification, for example. The same goes for data scientists. You will want to get certifications showing that you have the skills needed to excel in a data science position.
There are a variety of educational paths that you can take to be a successful data scientist. 365 Data Science reports that 18.3% of data scientists have computer science degrees. However, some universities have more specialized degrees in data science. You have a better chance of finding a job with a data science degree than one with less relevance to your future job.
You may also want to look into getting a certificate that shows you have expertise in data science. Some of the top certificate programs include Certified Analytics Professional (CAP), Cloudera Data Platform Generalist Certification, Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate, and SAS Certified AI and Machine Learning Professional.
The beauty of these certifications is they can be taken anywhere in the world. Passing a data science course in Bangalore could lead to a machine learning job in India, America, or any other number of countries because the knowledge is universal.
Be Prepared to Prove Your Knowledge
Certifications are an excellent way to get a job as a data scientist and will get you pretty far but if you can’t prove to the interviewer that you can actually do the job, all the programs you’ve passed to get here won’t really matter. You can have an Expert Level Cisco Certification but if your network doesn’t provide any connectivity, you probably won’t be hired. Again, the same issue will apply to data scientists.
However, certifications by themselves may not be enough, depending on the job you’re looking to obtain. Let’s say you’re looking to get a job in programming in Python, which is one of the most common languages that data scientists use, for instance. An interviewer might put you in front of a computer and say, “write me a ‘Hello World’ script in Python.” If you can’t do it within a few minutes without looking up commands or the code doesn’t work, you probably won’t be getting that job. They won’t imagine that you will be able to write complex data science programs if you can’t create such a simple task.
Don’t Be Afraid to Accept a Lesser Position
In most circumstances, having the right certifications and working knowledge should be enough to get you a job. If it doesn’t, consider taking an entry-level position in the company and working your way up. Let’s say there’s one particular company you’d like to work for and your specialty as a data scientist is machine learning. You can set up a complex network for a company with 250 computers that all require hardwired connections to train new applications and create powerful AI applications.
However, maybe the company doesn’t need any machine learning specialists right now. All the positions are filled and until someone retires or they expand, there’s no need for another person in that department. However, if you accept a job at the Help Desk, they’ll almost certainly look for internal applicants who want to transfer before considering an outsider hire. With your abilities, you’d probably be at the top of that list.
You may need to start off as a regular programmer or data scientist with a broader focus before moving to become a machine learning specialist. You just have to be patient.
Other Miscellaneous Tips
Finally, if none of the above tips have helped you, consider starting your own company and offering data science services to customers directly. Find a business proposal template online, fill it out, and send it to other businesses who might need data scientists. Individual customers are great but a business client means sustained income. If they like you and you do a good job, they may even hire you directly.
If you still can’t find a job in IT and don’t want to start your own small business, start analyzing your previous interviews. Think about why you didn’t get hired and how you can fix it. Did your blue jeans make you look unprofessional? Is there a glaring typo on your résumé that you overlooked?
For coders, learning a new programming language can help add to your portfolio and increase the chances of getting a job. According to UK research firm SlashData, there are 10.1 million active Python developers worldwide and only 1.8 million users of Ruby. Knowing both will give you an advantage.
Have a Plan to Get a Job as a Data Scientist
These are just a few tips that you can use to help get your dream job as a data scientist. As long as you have the necessary skills and don’t mind an entry-level position, you should have no problem landing a job in the IT sector.