what is a data scientist?

Data scientists play an integral role in how modern businesses deal with customers, vendors, and even internal processes. With the wealth of data available to a typical business, the number of insights available is practically limitless. Still, those insights are not easily detected, which is where your job as a data scientist comes in.

You are responsible for collecting huge amounts of data and transforming it into something practical. You help solve business-related problems using your expertise to develop data-driven techniques. You aim to stay on top of the latest techniques and tools in this fast-developing area of business and technology.

You will use many of the expected technical skills and some unexpected ones. For example, deep learning and machine learning are vital to making practical use of large amounts of data. You are also responsible for data preparation, which is converting raw data into a format that is more accessible to people who are not data scientists.

Do you think working as a data scientist would suit your mentality and skillset? If so, keep reading to find out how to get into this line of work.

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average salary of a data scientist

According to Payscale, the average salary of a data scientist in India is between ₹346,000 and ₹2,000,000 per year, with an average of ₹874,000. More experienced data scientists will typically command salaries at the higher end of that range, but your industry and the employer will impact the potential money you can make. Data scientists earn high salaries because employers recognise the importance and monetary value of what they do.

factors that affect data scientist's pay

The primary factor affecting your salary as a data scientist will be your qualifications and experience level. Data science is still relatively new, particularly in India, so employers place a great deal of faith in the qualifications and experience of data scientists. You are unlikely to be hired in this role without a bachelor's degree in data science.

Another important factor is the location of your employer. The types of companies that need these roles tend to be in or around big cities, making them more lucrative locations for data scientists than smaller towns.

data scientist roles
data scientist roles

types of data scientist

There are several types of data scientists, each with a unique set of skills and responsibilities. The field is increasingly breaking down into smaller subcategories, but some of the main data scientist roles include:

  • machine learning scientists: in this speciality, you work with artificial intelligence to create algorithms that analyse immense quantities of data with machine-like speed to produce human-like insights.
  • digital analytics consultants: this area of data science requires some marketing and business skills. You are responsible for collecting data from company webpages and filtering and processing that data as needed.
  • data engineers: in this role, you are responsible for creating the digital infrastructure used to analyse and process data in a manner that fits the organisation's requirements.
  • software programming analysts: programmers who can use various programming languages (such as Python) typically perform these roles. Your job is to automate various tasks and streamline the process.
  • business analytics practitioners: as a business analytics practitioner, you focus on the aspects of data science concerned with things like ROI (return on investment) that directly impact the organisation's success.
  • statistician: statisticians are found in many fields, but the role of a statistician within data science is important. In this role, you provide an organisation with reliable indicators of progress.

working as a data scientist

Your liking for statistics and complex problem-solving are amply satisfied in your work as a data scientist. You not only address technical challenges but also meet important business requirements. Your work is varied and sometimes intense, analysing large data sets and providing readable information and insights for other team members or departments.


education and skills

Given the relatively new nature of this role in India, getting into a position requires academic qualifications such as:

  •  bachelor's degree or certifications: ideally, you have a bachelor's degree in data science, though that may not be essential if you plan to expand your education by, for instance, getting a master's. An undergraduate degree should be considered a minimum requirement for getting hired as a data scientist.
  •  master's degree or equivalent: around a third of all data scientists in India have a master's degree. If you plan to go down this route, you can start to expand your skill sets, such as getting a degree in computer studies or economics.
  • doctorate: getting a PhD is not essential for a role as a data scientist, but it will help you move higher up the pay range more quickly.

skills and competencies

Beyond qualifications, there are also various skills and competencies that a data scientist would benefit from. These include:

  • problem-solving skills: big data analysis can often feel like a series of problems that need solving. An aptitude for solving problems will make this aspect of the role easier.
  • technical abilities: a range of technical skills help you succeed as a data scientist, regardless of your speciality. For example, a level of coding ability will always be necessary, even if you are not working as a software programming analyst.
  • industry-related knowledge: while data science is quite a transferable skill, it will be necessary to know your industry well enough to know which trends are useful.

FAQs about working as a data scientist

FAQs about working as an data scientist:

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