Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Six Trends in Data Science

Adam Shapley, writing in Silicon Republic, tells us If you want to be a data scientist, you need to know about these 6 trends. The trends he lists are as follows:
  1. All industries are open, but you should try to specialise
  2. Balance robust academic achievements with on-the-job learning
  3. Data analytics experience is essential, machine learning helps
  4. The GDPR is increasing data governance demand
  5. Make sure you have a solid business intelligence foundation
  6. Keep your technical skills up to date
While I am mostly involved in the education of Data Analysts, this is still an interesting list. I was particularly interested to find that "half of those working in data science have a PhD, whereas less than 2pc of people in the US over 25 years old have a doctorate" (in point 2 above). While a PhD is not a "must-have" for all data science roles, potential employers are sure to take notice. 

Shapley also recommends that Data Scientist learn and maintain news skills regularly. Data science is a complex area, and scientists will need to "demonstrate the most relevant skills and experience to this industry".

Calliostoma zizyphinum (L.).
Image source: UK Natural History Museum.
A PhD can take a long time to achieve - typically 3-5 years. Mine took 4 years and involved a lot of data analysis on shelf shape variation in the painted topshell (Calliostoma zizyphinum) - it takes time to carry out research, analyse results, and write it up. My own thoughts are that a good Masters would also be very valuable in a Data Scientist role - much of course will depend on the level of academic experience sought by employers.

According to Glassdoor, Data Scientist is #1 in the list of Top 50 Best Jobs in America. It rates very high and pays wells ($110,00), today there are 4,184 job openings in the US. A great job like this would make it worthwhile to consider a PhD - even though it could take a long time to achieve, it would be worth it in the long run.

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