Data Science Job Growth: Steps to Advance Your Career

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Public and private organizations both collect massive amounts of data to make well-informed decisions. Throughout the day, our phones, laptops, watches, and other smart devices are continuously monitoring our behavior and sending relevant information to organizations we’ve allowed to gather it. Once these and other forms of data are collected, it’s up to a data scientist to manage, interpret, and analyze the data points and turn them into useful insights.

Data scientists are in high demand, and their careers can take various forms. Still, many follow a similar trajectory given the relative newness of the field. Those interested in a career in data science can benefit from considering some essential skills and common data science career paths for job growth.

Data scientists are prevalent in every industry that collects and stores data. These individuals develop and implement processes and applications that transform raw, unmanageable data into meaningful information through visualization and software programs.

The more information a data scientist collects, the better they are at predicting consumer and business behavior, helping organizations become more efficient and effective. Data scientists can help organizations focus their growth and create stabilizing strategies that can help save money and time.

A data scientist holds a printout while working on a laptop.

How to Grow Your Data Science Career

Jobs in computer and data science are expected to grow a robust 22% between 2020 and 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Earning a Bachelor of Science in Data Science is often the first step data scientists take to build a foundation of knowledge and skills that will help them in their careers.

After earning a degree, many graduates apply for associate- or junior-level positions as data scientists or data analysts. Graduates looking to work in finance often apply for financial analyst positions, and those interested in insurance for actuary roles.

During their first years on the job, recent graduates also often pursue certifications from professional organizations to broaden the scope of job opportunities. Earning certifications is more than simply a formality. These credentials allow individuals to become proficient in specific programs and analytical tools, making them more competitive for higher-wage jobs.

Some go beyond certification to enroll in a graduate program, such as a master’s degree in data science or data analytics. This graduate degree can offer specialized training in areas such as machine learning or data engineering and offer leadership opportunities, equipping students for senior-level positions. Some universities offer post-baccalaureate certificates in fields such as big data and machine learning, which can also help advance a student’s prospects.

Skills to Advance in the Data Science Field

Data from Glassdoor indicates that, regardless of specialization, people need a number of core skills to see career growth as a data scientist. Required soft skills include the following:

  • Communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving

Required technical skills often reflect the following:

  • Data wrangling
  • Calculus/advanced mathematics
  • Programming languages such as SQL, R, and Python
  • Data visualization software such as Tableau and Power BI
  • Certifications such as the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP), Cloudera Data Platform Generalist Certification, IBM Data Science Professional Certificate, or Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals

Data Science Job Opportunities

An education in data science and the right skill set can set graduates apart from other job applicants. While data scientists carry a variety of titles, here are some of the more common positions and a brief overview of each.

Data Analyst

Data analysts give an organization an accurate view of its current situation to help executives make informed decisions. Data analysts often work on a team to help collect, analyze, and interpret data through data management software. These analysts are responsible for knowing how data is collected and the processes used to create visualizations of that data.

Information collected by PayScale indicates data analysts earned a median salary of $63,000 as of July 2022.

Business Analyst

While data analysts work directly with data, business analysts are often hired to assess current processes, determine business goals, and offer data-driven predictions to executives and other stakeholders. Business analysts often research new processes and software that would increase an organization’s effectiveness while remaining within its financial parameters.

Business analysts earned a median annual salary of $82,360 as of May 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Actuary

Actuaries use statistics, math, and financial theories to assess potential risks in company decisions or other potential situations. They offer executives estimations of a program’s success, the potential costs that may be incurred, and an analysis of its impacts on the organization. They often work for insurance agencies in calculating coverage and payouts.

Actuaries earned a median annual salary of $105,900 in 2021, according to the BLS.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals in making investment decisions to yield the optimum return. These analysts often work for financial investors to recommend trends and investment opportunities. They spend much of their time researching and studying the latest market dynamics to offer unique and actionable insight to their stakeholders.

The median annual income for financial analysts in 2021 was $81,410, according to the BLS.

Build an Intriguing Career

When compared to all occupations, the number of openings in data science are expected to significantly outpace the average job growth through 2030. This is thanks in large part to the vast amounts of data that organizations continue to collect — and the ability of data scientists to transform that data to predict consumer behavior and provide valuable business intelligence.

A career in data science begins by earning a Bachelor of Science in Data Science, such as the one offered by Maryville University. This program gives hands-on experience and can be coupled with a business minor to help give graduates an advantage when they apply for jobs.
Let’s be brave together. Begin your data science future today at Maryville University.

Recommended Reading

Data Science vs. Data Analytics: Understanding the Differences

What Is Data Wrangling?

Statistician vs. Mathematician: Comparing Data-Driven Professions

Sources

CIO, “12 Data Science Certifications That Will Pay Off”

Glassdoor, Data Scientist Job Description

Indeed, “Top 12 Skills You Need to Become Data Scientist”

Payscale, Data Analyst Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Actuaries

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer and Information Research Scientists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Operations Research Analysts