How Long Does It Take To Become A Financial Manager – Glassdoor has ranked Data Scientists in the top 3 of its “Best Jobs in America” list for 5 years in a row. But how long does it take to become a data scientist?
Many people are familiar with the 2012 Harvard Business Review article that named the data scientist profession “America’s sexiest job,” but some may wonder if the allure continues. The demand certainly continues – Glassdoor has ranked data scientists on its “Best Jobs in America” list for 5 years in a row.
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This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows about data trends. The rapid growth of data-driven decision-making, coupled with the emergence of low-cost, high-performance computing technologies, has made the need for data scientists even greater than HBR predicted in 2012, creating a shortage of data professionals.
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While the need for data scientists is high and the pay quite high – according to Glassdoor, the average starting salary for data scientists is $114,528. If you’re wondering, “How long will it take me to become a data scientist?” the answer is that it may not take as long as you think.
Let’s take a look at this profession to answer the question: “How long does it take to become a data scientist?
Data scientists are a very diverse group of people and their skills will vary from job to job. However, there are some universal skills that every data scientist should learn.
What is data science? It is an interdisciplinary field that analyzes data to solve problems and inform business decisions.
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The core function of a data scientist is to extract information from the real world, apply scientific methods, processes, algorithms and computational systems, and then extract knowledge and insights. The ability to develop machine learning and predictive models are some of the key things that differentiate data scientists from data analysts.
Data science has many programming languages, and most data scientists are familiar with a few. Some of the more popular programming tools include:
If a data scientist wants to find meaningful insights into their company’s problems and opportunities, they need mathematical skills. The latter is necessary to turn real-world scenarios into solvable problems. Mathematics will play a crucial role not only in asking questions that can be answered, but also in interpreting the results provided by the algorithms.
You don’t have to be a math professor to be a data scientist. You just need a solid foundation in the following areas:
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Data analysts may crunch numbers and IT professionals may code, but channeling technical skills to solve business problems is what sets data scientists apart.
To assess a business scenario and develop a data model that provides actionable insights, business intelligence (BI) knowledge is a skill every data scientist needs. For this reason, some data science curricula may include some business or finance classes to give you a foundation for running a business.
Since a data scientist works with business professionals who know much less about coding and statistics than they do, the ability to explain your ideas is essential.
From writing reports to giving presentations, a data scientist must be able to convey his knowledge in a way that even non-technical experts can understand. This includes using data visualization tools like Tableau to bring your data to life. Regardless of the method, be prepared to communicate with those who lack data science experience
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No, you don’t need a degree to become a data scientist. All you need is the skills required to perform the role.
While many data scientists now have at least a master’s degree, 25% have only a bachelor’s degree and some have no college degree at all. Companies are slowly learning that you may not need a degree in that particular field to excel as a data scientist. In fact, more and more companies are happy to hire data scientists who have graduated from data science bootcamps.
Many universities offer a bachelor’s degree in data science, but it takes an average of four years to complete. And depending on the college you choose, you could spend upwards of $99,000 for a four-year degree where you can complete a data science boot camp for less than $20,000.
Because most data science jobs require a master’s degree or higher, although additional education may be required. Some master’s programs can be completed online in as little as one year. And the longer you’re in school, the more you’ll have to pay — although financial aid may be available.
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Since going to college is too time-consuming and self-education is not always considered legitimate, a middle ground is often sought. Data science bootcamps provide just that. With intensive and specific training from industry-leading experts, students who attend data science bootcamps gain a comprehensive and hands-on experience in data science – without the unnecessary courses required by universities.
This data-driven approach allows students to learn the information they need while significantly reducing travel time and costs. For example, the Flatiron School offers full-time data science programs that you can complete in as little as 15 weeks, with a flexible incentive option to complete in 20, 40, or 60 weeks.
By the time they are done, they have several networks to get career support and even career coaching. The only drawback is that some data managers prefer an official name.
Many data analysts already have the math, business, and communication skills needed to become a data scientist—all they need is some coding knowledge. If you’re good enough and have a degree (preferably in a STEM field), self-study and a few certifications that demonstrate your programming knowledge may be enough to get you into the data science industry. Try a free class from Flatiron School to see if you’re ready to get involved.
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Self-study may be the cheapest, but it takes enough discipline to keep going and it’s not for everyone. And proving what and how you know is more difficult. It’s also important to make sure you’re learning the right material from legitimate sources, or you may end up feeling less prepared than you thought you would, so some data science jobs may not consider self-study.
Because there are so many different paths out there, the answer to the question “How long does it take to become a data scientist” is: it can vary.
Those who choose the university route can become data scientists in 3-4 years. For the 75% who decide to get a master’s degree in data science, it may take another 1-2 years.
The total time can be extended up to 5-6 years. Although self-study has the potential to be the shortest route, it is highly dependent on the student. Engaged students can complete their degree in a matter of months, while those who are distracted can extend their journey indefinitely.
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Data science bootcams can help students achieve their goal of becoming a data scientist in just a few months. Some boot camps last around six months, but most are around 12-15 weeks. The bootcamp route may be the fastest way to become a data scientist for some
If this sounds interesting, start your journey to becoming a data scientist at the Flatiron School today.
The Flatiron School offers a comprehensive online data science program that you can complete in just 15 weeks. Schedule a 10-minute interview to learn more.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of June 15, 2021. Current policies, offers, practices and programs may vary. For up-to-date information, visit
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