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How to become a Data Scientist

Data Scientist

Career progression and salary expectations for a Data Scientist


Junior data scientist

| Up to £45,000

Data scientist

| Up to £55,000

Senior data scientist

| Up to £65,000

The role of a Data Scientist

A data scientist is tasked with extracting, analysing and interpreting vast amounts of data using statistical tools and other techniques to produce usable findings for a business.

Once the data has been interpreted, the findings will be presented to the business in a clear and consumable way, that’s easy for recipients to understand. Data scientists work across various sectors including finance, health, retail, IT and many more. Businesses in these sectors produce a lot of data which, when organised and analysed well, can be used to help the business operate more efficiently. Typical duties of a data scientist include: 

  • Working with the business to identify issues and provide solutions
  • Selecting the appropriate statistical techniques for a project
  • Using machine learning and other tools to produce solutions to problems
  • Putting forward suggestions to improve data collection methods 
  • Creating reports to summarise what’s happening within the business
  • Keeping on top of technological developments to ensure the most up-to-date and advanced methods are being used
First of all, if you don’t enjoy working with statistics and complex sets of information, being a data scientist might not be the job for you. People working in this role spend most of their time analysing and interpreting data using the most advanced analytical tools - so you’ll also need a great eye for detail to get the job done.

However, if you enjoy working as part of a team and testing your knowledge to come up with the best outcome (see also: data visualisations) for a business, you’ll thrive in this job. A good data scientist should have: 

  • Excellent analytical thinking skills
  • Some experience working with analytics tools
  • Great listening and communication skills
  • The ability to work to strict deadlines
  • Great time management skills 
"After graduating with a degree in Mathematics, I decided I wanted to work in the field of data science. The days can be long, and the business can place pressure on us to come up with answers or solutions quickly, but working as part of a wider analytics team means this pressure is shared, and we can turn to each other to find the best way to work. And because new tools and techniques are constantly emerging, it makes data science a really exciting area to work in!"

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