What Makes a Good Data Scientist?

what makes a good data scientist

What makes a good data scientist? What are the personality traits to be a successful data scientist? What are the skills that differentiate between a great data scientist and an average data scientist?

Data science is the process that allows us to derive essential insights from the analysis of data. The responsibility of a data scientist is to leverage data to help make informed decisions. A data scientist role is vital in the progress of any company or business. The number of data scientists continues to grow and so is the competition. So what makes you a good data scientist? What characteristics can make you a better data scientist than others?
Technical skills is a must-have and the basic requirement for any data scientist. A great data scientist possesses some more distinctive characteristics that make him or her stand out.

1. A Good Data Scientist is Obsessed with Prioritizing Work to Effectively Meet Deadlines

As a data scientist, you must constantly prioritize your work to effectively meet the deadlines. You might be managing several tasks such as tasks from stakeholders, graphs of progress over time for meetings, predicting long-term benefits, decision making on customer retention, etc.

It's difficult to balance what task is more important than another. Here you have to make decisions about what can influence the business and what you should choose to do first.

Before prioritizing any work, you should know:

  • Do the results of this particular analysis affect the company?
  • Is it innovative enough to get something new for the business?

2. A Good Data Scientist Always Focuses on Solving Problems, Not Only Using Tools

Most data scientists tend to focus on using tools but what makes a good data scientist is being obsessed with solving problems. A good data scientist always focuses on making efforts to understand the problem and the requirements for solving that problem, only then move onto choosing tools and techniques for the given task.

Stakeholders do not care about the tools you are going to use, they only care about the solutions. A good data scientist knows how to write good quality code, ready to accept criticisms from others, and most important a great data scientist understands what solution can make a data science project successful.

3. Good Data Scientists Have The Ultimate Communication Skills

What makes a good scientist great is good communication skills.

A good data scientist is the ultimate communicator. As there's a lot of communication involved in this industry, you should be able to communicate well with stakeholders and your team members. One of the most important skills what makes you a great data scientist is effective business communication as you have the responsibility of:

  • Understanding the clients' business needs
  • Delivering constant feedback
  • Proposing strategies to meet those needs

what makes a good data scientist great

So whether it is understanding the business requirements, opportunities at hand, communicating insights, probing data with stakeholders, or storytelling, a good data scientist always needs to be persuasive with good communication skills.


To be hired as a data scientist you must have technical skills -- this is a given and what we try to teach at StrataScratch. The above skills are the distinctive characteristics that make you a successful data scientist. You can go through our previous blogs to know what skills are required to be a data scientist: Most in-demand data science technical skills and Essential Data Science Skills. But what makes you a good data scientist is your ability to understand and communicate the ins and outs of the business and to solve problems.

We also recommend checking out our post "How to Become a Data Scientist from Scratch" which will take you through every necessary step to become a successful data scientist.

what makes a good data scientist

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