What does a data scientist do?


Harvard University, probably one of the most reputed, respected and well-known university worldwide, dubbed a profession as a data scientist to be the sexiest job in the 21st century. So, the very first question after reading this statement that comes to mind is, what does a data scientist even do and in what makes it ‘sexy’? 

What does a data scientist do?

Before answering this question, think of some of the ways the daily lives of people has changed from what it was a decade ago and what it is now. What is the major cause of this change? One of the strongest candidates is the rapid growth of information and technology. But it can go only to some extent. In order to help the information technology field and to maintain progress in what it does, it needs to be fed with information on which the technology can be based upon. This information is fed by the data scientists. It is their job to obtain relevant information from the masses of data. This data can be of many types, such as prediction, classification, recommendations, detecting patterns, grouping of similar information, detecting fraud, image, voice, text or visual recognition, etc. 

Every information is extracted with a set goal. One cannot predict the growth in the number of potatoes cultivated if the end goal is to classify the potatoes according to the type of soil they grow in. That is why it is extremely important for a data scientist to know their end goal. 

The job of the data scientist was termed ‘sexy’ not because it is seductive or appealing, but instead it provides the input for the technology that makes the life of a data scientist ‘sexy’. 

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What are some of the skills that a data scientist must have?

No job is without its difficulties if you have the right mindset and skills to do it, and no job is easy enough if you have no idea what you are doing. People should decide what they want to do based on their skill set. Some of the required skills for a person to become a data scientist are: – 

  1. Knowledge regarding how business’ work from the inside out, and should have the hunger to learn. The information that they’ll carve out from the data will be, at the end, provided to a business only. 
  2. Most of the data is usually numeric or related to numbers in some way. Hence, for a data scientist, it becomes important to have a good knowledge of stats and probability. 
  3. The data scientist will be needed to devise a new algorithm to find out relevant information from the set of data provided to them. Programming skills are a must. 

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