It’s no secret that data scientists are in high demand in the IT job market. A 2019 Stack Overflow developer survey shows how just 7.9% of software developers worldwide specialize in big data and machine learning. However, if you want to be a standout data scientist, you need to expand your knowledge and stay up to date with the latest market trends — whether you’re just learning the ropes or you’ve been doing it for years.

In this article, we’ll review the five most important big data skills to help you become a successful data scientist. 

1. Python (+ related frameworks and libraries)

Python is the current favorite programming language for big data, data science, and machine learning projects. Its simple syntax is relatively easy to learn. But more importantly, it can handle giant data sets.

Python’s biggest advantage is the sheer volume of available frameworks and libraries — each related to data science, big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Here are the most useful ones for data scientists:

2. Other Programming Languages

Python earned its own spot because it has fast become the most frequently used and most useful programming language for data scientists. However, it’s not the only language that data scientists should know.

The more experience you have, the more you should develop your knowledge of other programming languages, but which one should you choose? 

Here are the most important:

Before choosing which to learn, read about the pros and cons of each — and where they’re most frequently used — then consider which will work best in your projects.

To get you started, try this article comparing JavaScript and Python for machine learning.

3. Machine Learning

If you look at the requirements of most data scientist roles, machine learning will often be one. There’s no doubting the power of this technology. And it’s sure to grow in popularity in years to come. 

It’s certainly a skill you should devote time to learning (particularly as data science becomes increasingly linked to machine learning). And the marriage of these two technologies is resulting in some interesting, groundbreaking insights and applications that will have a significant impact on the wider world.

To stand out from other professionals in the data science field, learn to use machine learning techniques to solve data science problems based on predictions of key organizational outcomes. 

Better still, if you can build a skill set including supervised machine learning, neural networks, adversarial learning, reinforcement learning, decision trees, and logistic regression: you will not only have more professional opportunities — you will be in a position to negotiate the highest rates on the market.

4. Probability And Statistics

Data science uses algorithms to extract information and insights, then make informed decisions based on data. Therefore, tasks like estimating, predicting, and inference-making are somewhat inseparable from the job.

As a result, both probability and statistics are integral to data science — and they’ll help you create estimates for data analysis by enabling:

…and much, much more.

As you can see, probability and statistics play a huge role in data science, so we’re confident it will continue to be worthwhile for you to focus on them in 2021.

5. Business Knowledge

Data science requires more than technical skills. Of course, they are necessary. But when working in the IT industry, you shouldn’t forget about business knowledge — because a critical part of data science is driving business value.

As a data scientist, you need to have a robust knowledge of the domain in which your company operates. And you should know what problems your business wants to solve; only then can you propose new ways to leverage its data. 

To do this, you’ll need broad industry knowledge coupled with an understanding of how one particular solution could impact the wider business. In essence, business knowledge will allow you to generate more effective analysis — focused on assessing, sorting, relating, and authenticating data. 

If you’d like to become a data scientist, but you’re not sure where to start, check out IT Academy: here, you’ll find a  Python and Data Science course that prepares participants to work as a Junior Data Scientist or Junior Python Developer.

Anton Guba
Co-founder of IT-Academy programming school. Experienced team leader, coach and mentor with over 9 years of experience in both software development and testing. Follower of the best IT Industry practices (Continuous Integration, Continuous Development, TDD & BDD, Clean Code, Code Review).
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