What makes a great Data Scientist?
So, you want to become a Data Scientist; well, I don’t blame you! After all, this profession is fascinating and very promising. But, do you really have what it takes to be a successful Data Scientist? I’d like to group the essential traits to achieve this goal into three categories: academic, skills, and personal. Let us explore each category, shall we?
What academic background do you need? Education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will give a head start. That is not to say that Data Science is an elitist profession; on the contrary, given that the field is still developing, people from many different backgrounds can become great Data Scientists; nevertheless, solid knowledge in calculus, linear algebra, and (especially) statistics, will help you understand and better use the models and techniques employed.
On the skills arena, programming may be the most important one. You need a good domain of at least one: Python or R; these languages are indispensable for the daily work of the Data Scientist. Another valuable skill is the use of SQL and a good understanding of how relational databases work. Lastly, the ability to create compelling graphs is a very appreciated one!
Finally, what personality traits are essential for a Data Scientist? Well, being an analytical person may come first in the list. Communication skill is another basic trait; just think about it, your findings are useless unless you are capable of sharing them with both: colleagues and a non-technical audience. On the other hand, you must be someone people like to work with; remember, Data Science relies on community and teamwork. Last but not least, be brave! Don’t be afraid to fail, try new approaches, be wrong, and try again!
By: Karlo Jiménez