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Become A Data Scientist

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Working As A Data Scientist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Processing Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • $83,047

    Average Salary

What Does A Data Scientist Do

Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology. They study and solve complex problems in computing for business, science, medicine, and other fields.

Duties

Computer and information research scientists typically do the following:

  • Explore fundamental issues in computing and develop theories and models to address those issues
  • Help scientists and engineers solve complex computing problems
  • Invent new computing languages, tools, and methods to improve the way in which people work with computers
  • Develop and improve the software systems that form the basis of the modern computing experience
  • Design experiments to test the operation of these software systems 
  • Analyze the results of their experiments
  • Publish their findings in academic journals and present their findings at conferences

Computer and information research scientists create and improve computer software and hardware.

Creating and improving software involves working with algorithms, which are sets of instructions that tell a computer what to do. Some computer tasks are very difficult and require complex algorithms. Computer and information research scientists try to simplify these algorithms to make computer systems as efficient as possible. The algorithms allow advancements in many types of technology, such as machine learning systems and cloud computing.

Computer and information research scientists design new computer architecture that improves the performance and efficiency of computer hardware. Their work often leads to technological advancements and efficiencies, such as better networking technology, faster computing speeds, and improved information security. In general, computer and information research scientists work at a more theoretical level than do other computer professionals.  

Many people with a computer and information research science background become postsecondary teachers. In general, researchers in an academic setting focus on computer theory, although those working for businesses or scientific organizations usually focus on projects that may produce profits.

Some computer scientists work with electrical engineers, computer hardware engineers, and other specialists on multidisciplinary projects. The following are examples of types of specialties for computer and information research scientists:

Data mining. Computer and information research scientists write algorithms that are used to detect and analyze patterns in very large datasets. They improve ways to sort, manage, and display data. Computer scientists build algorithms into software packages that make the data easier for analysts to use. For example, they may create an algorithm to analyze a very large set of medical data in order to find new ways to treat diseases. They may also look for patterns in traffic data to help clear accidents faster.

Robotics. Some computer and information research scientists study how to improve robots. Robotics explores how a machine can interact with the physical world. Computer and information research scientists create the programs that control the robots. They work closely with engineers who focus on the hardware design of robots. Together, these workers test how well the robots do the tasks they were created to do, such as assemble cars and collect data on other planets.

Programming. Computer and information research scientists design new programming languages that are used to write software. The new languages make software writing more efficient by improving an existing language, such as Java, or by making a specific aspect of programming, such as image processing, easier.

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How To Become A Data Scientist

Most jobs for computer and information research scientists require a Ph.D. in computer science or a related field. In the federal government, a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for some jobs.

Education

Most computer and information research scientists need a Ph.D. in computer science or a related field, such as computer engineering. A Ph.D. usually requires 4 to 5 years of study after earning a bachelor’s degree, typically in a computer-related field, such as computer science or information systems. During their first 2 years in a Ph.D. program, students take a variety of computer science classes. They then choose a specialty and spend the remaining years in the program doing research within that specialty.

Computer scientists who work in a specialized field may need knowledge of that field. For example, those working on biomedical applications may have to take some biology classes.

Advancement

Some computer scientists may become computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Computer and information research scientists must be organized in their thinking and analyze the results of their research to formulate conclusions.

Communication skills. Computer and information research scientists must communicate well with programmers and managers and be able to clearly explain their conclusions to people with no technical background. They often present their research at conferences.

Critical-thinking skills. Computer and information research scientists work on many complex problems.

Detail oriented. Computer and information research scientists must pay close attention to their work, because a small programming error can cause an entire project to fail.

Ingenuity. Computer and information research scientists must continually come up with innovative ways to solve problems, particularly when their ideas do not initially work as intended.

Logical thinking. Computer algorithms rely on logic. Computer and information research scientists must have a talent for reasoning.

Math skills. Computer and information research scientists must have knowledge of advanced math and other technical topics that are critical in computing.

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Data Scientist Demographics

Gender

Male

67.0%

Female

19.4%

Unknown

13.5%
Ethnicity

White

41.3%

Asian

33.6%

Hispanic or Latino

10.7%

Black or African American

8.3%

Unknown

6.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

21.7%

French

15.9%

Chinese

13.0%

Mandarin

8.7%

German

7.2%

Japanese

4.3%

Russian

4.3%

Portuguese

2.9%

Hebrew

2.9%

Hindi

2.9%

Thai

2.9%

Cantonese

2.9%

Marathi

1.4%

Italian

1.4%

Romanian

1.4%

Dakota

1.4%

Korean

1.4%

Arabic

1.4%

Armenian

1.4%
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Data Scientist Education

Schools

Northwestern University

7.8%

Stanford University

7.8%

New York University

6.5%

University of Southern California

5.9%

Columbia University

5.9%

University of California - Berkeley

5.2%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.9%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.9%

University of Washington

4.9%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.9%

Johns Hopkins University

4.9%

University of Texas at Austin

4.6%

University of Cincinnati

4.2%

Cornell University

4.2%

Stevens Institute of Technology

4.2%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.2%

George Washington University

3.9%

George Mason University

3.9%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.6%

Arizona State University

3.6%
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Majors

Statistics

16.7%

Computer Science

14.1%

Mathematics

8.9%

Information Systems

7.8%

Management Science

6.2%

Physics

5.7%

Chemistry

5.3%

Economics

4.5%

Electrical Engineering

4.4%

Business

4.1%

Finance

4.0%

Computer Engineering

3.7%

Biostatistics

2.5%

Industrial Engineering

2.3%

Mechanical Engineering

2.0%

Information Technology

1.9%

Operations Research

1.7%

Biology

1.4%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.3%

Computer Information Systems

1.3%
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Degrees

Masters

46.6%

Doctorate

26.7%

Bachelors

17.9%

Other

5.8%

Certificate

1.9%

Associate

0.7%

Diploma

0.4%
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Real Data Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Data Scientist JD.Com American Technologies Corporation Santa Clara, CA Oct 17, 2016 $250,000 -
$270,000
Chief Data Scientist Tibco Software, Inc. Chapel Hill, NC May 01, 2015 $237,600
Data Scientist Baidu USA LLC Sunnyvale, CA Sep 02, 2015 $205,000
Chief Data Scientist Noodle Education, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Nov 30, 2016 $205,000
Principal Data Scientist Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jul 28, 2016 $200,000
Principal Data Scientist Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Oct 22, 2015 $200,000
Data Scientist Tastemade Inc. Santa Monica, CA Jan 10, 2016 $195,000
Data Scientist 3 EBAY, Inc. Bellevue, WA Nov 30, 2015 $195,000
Director, Data Scientist KPMG LLP Knoxville, TN Oct 31, 2016 $192,000
Principal Data Scientist Microsoft Corporation Bellevue, WA Jun 09, 2016 $190,000
Data Scientist Maplebear Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 05, 2016 $189,000
Staff Data Scientist Kohl's Department Stores, Inc. New York, NY Jun 27, 2016 $187,500
Staff Data Scientist Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Oct 24, 2016 $187,000
Data Scientist Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. San Bruno, CA Sep 14, 2015 $185,000
Data Scientist Edataforce Consulting LLC New York, NY Sep 04, 2015 $124,800
Data Scientist Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Feb 03, 2016 $124,775 -
$164,775
Data Scientist Microsoft Corporation Bellevue, WA Jan 25, 2015 $124,769
Data and Applied Scientist Microsoft Corporation Bellevue, WA Feb 18, 2016 $124,580
Data Scientist Viglink, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 09, 2016 $124,072 -
$142,000
Data Scientist Microsoft Corporation Mountain View, CA Sep 20, 2015 $124,000
Data Scientist Microsoft Corporation Mountain View, CA Jan 07, 2016 $124,000
Data Scientist IBM Corporation Yorktown Heights, NY Oct 08, 2016 $107,300 -
$222,700
Data Scientist IBM Corporation Somers, NY Oct 08, 2016 $107,300 -
$222,700
Associate-Data Scientist BOOZ Allen Hamilton Inc. Washington, DC Aug 14, 2016 $107,250
Big Data Scientist American Express Company New York, NY Sep 13, 2016 $107,100
Data Scientist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jul 28, 2016 $107,100 -
$127,100
Data Scientist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Apr 23, 2016 $107,100
Data Scientist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jun 20, 2016 $107,100 -
$127,100
Data Scientist Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Jan 10, 2016 $107,071 -
$112,000

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Top Skills for A Data Scientist

  1. R
  2. Pl/Sql
  3. Machine Learning Algorithms
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Used statistical analysis to determine data behavior.
  • Created PL/SQL packages and Database Triggers and developed user procedures and prepared user manuals for the new programs.
  • Executed massive voice-of-customer initiative by scrapping twitter feeds and developing machine learning algorithms to assess the sentiment of each tweet.
  • Translated scientific and statistical designs to a developer based on common Python coding language.
  • Maintained a $542M utilities budget by delivering business intelligence and predictive analytics.

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Top 10 Best States for Data Scientists

  1. Washington
  2. California
  3. New Mexico
  4. New York
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Idaho
  7. Minnesota
  8. Alabama
  9. Colorado
  10. Tennessee
  • (865 jobs)
  • (2,985 jobs)
  • (72 jobs)
  • (1,110 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (330 jobs)
  • (51 jobs)
  • (278 jobs)
  • (123 jobs)

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