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Essential Data Science Skills to Be a Data Scientist

This blog is a guide on what are the essential data science skills you need to be a data scientist who is responsible for analysing large sets of structured and unstructured data. A data scientist role includes more than computer science, maths and statistics.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the essential data science skills to become a data scientist. The below list of must-have data science skills can get you hired and retained your job in any top tech company.

Essential Data Science Skills to Be a Data Scientist

  • SQL
  • Logical Skills
  • Non-Technical Stakeholder Communication
  • Checking the Data and Findings Against the Output and the Business Situation
  • Skills to Create Business Strategies
  • Ability to Wrangle Through Messy Problems
  • Building Relationship
  • Tableau Skills
  • At Least One of These Programming Languages - Python or R
  • Mathematics
  • Modeling

Before we move forward to understand the above-mentioned skills, let’s know the role and responsibilities of a data scientist.

What is a Data Scientist? Data Scientist Role and Responsibilities

Data scientists are the experts who have the technical skills to gather and analyse large sets of structured and unstructured data. They have the ability to solve complex problems.
Data scientists are the ones who make sense of unstructured and messy data. Including technical skills, they need to possess skills like communicating complex ideas and making data-driven decisions as well. Data scientists are the ones who take the business to the next level with their leadership, team membership, high-level analytical thinking as well as effective communication.

Learn the Required Skills to Be a Data Scientist

Now, let’s understand each of the essential data science skills you need to be a data scientist.

1. SQL (Structured Query Language)

SQL is the language that helps you in the operations like add, extract and delete the data, as well as analytical functions and transform database structures.
SQL is a huge expectation of companies. They want you to be able to write complex queries in SQL. Almost 90% of data science includes data cleaning and manipulation. You need to be proficient in SQL. Not only syntax, but you should also know how we can manipulate raw product tables to get the data. You need to have the ability to defend your actions if business owners and stakeholders ask you why you are doing so.

Learning SQL and being proficient in SQL can boost your profile as a data scientist.

2. Logical Skills

It doesn’t merely include mathematical logics. This is something that shows your ability of business and interpersonal logic as well. In data science, exceptional business and interpersonal skills are equally important to your technical skills.

3. Non-Technical Stakeholder Communication

It includes translating business needs and technical requirements to the non-technical stakeholders through the presentation, building a strong relationship and partnership, managing different attitudes and perspectives.

4. Checking the Data and Findings Against the Output and the Business Situation

You should have the ability to explain your models and explain that the data you pulled makes a lot of sense.

5. Skills to Create Business Strategies

You are given a task or project to complete, do you understand what does that mean for the business? Do you know why you’re doing so and how it will benefit that business? Before making business strategies, you should have the ability to understand how that business works. Understanding the strategic goals of the company is one of the important data science skills to be a data scientist.

6. Ability to Wrangle Through Messy Problems

It includes the ability to wrangle through messy problems such as messy data, relationship and politics. You should know how to get through these problems. You should have the ability to clean the messy data to get anywhere with it. This data science skill can help you in your way to becoming a successful data scientist.

7. Building Relationship

To solve the complex problems, you should have the ability to understand how to work with product, and how to collaborate with business owners and executives. Strong willingness to help others can be your strength in politicking and relationship building.

8. Tableau Skills

Be able to make the information sources simpler for the people who are not comfortable with even basic bar charts and graphs. It’s one of the popular and powerful data science skills needed to become a data scientist. This skill aims to make analytics easy for everyone.

9. At Least One of These Programming Languages - Python or R

For data science, the most popular programming tools are Python and R. You should know at least one of these two amazingly flexible data analytics languages. This data science skill is helpful for data collection, data exploration, data modeling and data visualization.

Check out our article on Python vs R for Data Science to find out which language is better.

10. Mathematics

The amount of math you will need as a data scientist depends on your role. Some statistics and probability theory are the most common concepts that every data scientist needs to know.
Now, what about other types of math? The interviewers may still test your linear algebra and calculus skills.

11. Modeling

Learning modeling techniques can make you able to understand how you should collect, update and store data. It is an essential data science skill valued in the business if you know how to gain insights and prepare data for predictive modeling.

Data science skills to be a data scientist do not include only language or package, but also soft skills that are very important and hardest to find.

What if all candidates have the equal skill set? How do hiring managers choose the right candidates / data scientists from all of them?

1. They may hire based on your team fit and willingness to learn. Attitude and being fit in a team are often heavier than data science technical skills.

2. Mostly your hiring depends on your attitude. Do you think you know everything? Shouldn’t you understand that you are just starting out and still there are some data science skills like soft skills that you need to learn? Sorry to say but you definitely have to drop your ego first.

3. It also depends on how you convey the right attitude in an interview or maybe in your resume. You also need to show how you can do the basic stuff really well with the soft skills. Show them you have the attitude that focuses on learning and being a team player.

Soft skills hold equal importance to your technical skills to be a data scientist. Soft skills can result in higher productivity and efficiency. The combination of technical and soft skills gives you the opportunity to boost your data science performance and take your career to unprecedented heights.