How to Know if a Career in Data Science is Right for You

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We know that Data Science is one of the most exciting and in-demand professional fields right now. Data scientists are using programming, and advanced analytics to support organizations in every industry, and address society’s big-picture challenges. But is Data Science the right career for you?

As a Data Science Bootcamp, we see a lot of students who excel at Data Science. If you choose this career path, we don’t just want you to be good at it; we want you to enjoy it. We’ve outlined our top 8 traits of a good data scientist, to help you consider whether Data Science would be a good fit for you. If the following characteristics sound like you, there’s a good chance that Data Science would be a great career choice that you’ll be successful and fulfilled in.

1. You’re Passionate about Technology

At its core, Data Science is about applying the latest technology and mathematical models to solve problems, and answer questions. The best data scientists are the people who are excited about this potential. Think of all the incredible things you could do with all the data in the world, with the right tools. This kind of mindset will help you to think like a data scientist.

2. You’re Good at Quantitative Skills

Being good at quantitative work isn’t the same thing as having a background in Math or Computer Science – although these things help! Are you good with numbers? Did you always do well in Math and Science classes? Can you picture problems visually? Then you probably have the knack for quantitative work that will make you a good data scientist. If you already know how to code, then you have a head start on becoming a data scientist.

3. You’re Hardworking

Many Data Science careers offer a great work-life balance, but we won’t lie: This is a field that requires hard work. At some point (and probably many points) in any Data Science job, you’ll be spending hours in front of your computer running code. You’ll need to have the drive to work through these long projects. And especially if you want to work for a top tech company, you can expect to put in a lot of hours. The upside is you’ll be surrounded by people who are excited about their work.

4. You Thrive under Pressure

As a data scientist, a lot of expectations can ride on your work. This pressure might feel daunting, but it can also be motivating. If this kind of pressure helps you to perform at your best, you’ll likely enjoy the work environment. But you might want to reconsider if you tend to crumble under pressure. To even get a Data Science job, you’ll need to perform programming challenges in a timed scenario. For some people, this approach to work and hiring may be a major turn-off.

5. You Like Solving Problems

To be a good data scientist, you need to know how to use the right tools. To be a great data scientist, you need to provide innovative solutions to problems. To excel in this career, you have to be able to analyze a problem and understand which tools to apply before you ever start coding. If you consider problems to be motivating, rather than defeating, and you enjoy the challenge of thinking through a complex goal, you’ll enjoy this aspect of Data Science.

6. You’re Self Motivated

A career as a data scientist involves a lot of independent work. Although at times you’ll work with a team, sometimes it will just be you and your model. You need to have a sense of accountability and drive to keep working, even when your code hits yet another bug. You’ll have to be able to balance multiple tasks to meet deadlines. If you really depend on outside structure to keep you working, then a job as a data scientist might not be a great fit.

7. You Like Learning

Data Science is a cutting edge field that’s always evolving. In order to stay on top, you’ll have to keep an eye on new developments and regularly learn new skills. It’s normal for data scientists to learn new coding languages and use new online tools every year. If this excites you as a way to keep your career interesting, Data Science might be right for you.

8. You’re a Good Communicator

Yup – you’ll be working with people as well as computers. As a data scientist, you’ll often be communicating complicated ideas about data to people who are not data scientists. That means you’ll have to explain complex information clearly and succinctly. You’ll need to understand a client’s needs and connect them to your work. If you enjoy the challenge of distilling information down and giving presentations, you’ll nail this aspect of Data Science work.

We hope this list of traits that make a good data scientist will help you to reflect on whether this might be the right career path for you. This list isn’t exhaustive. The bottom line is that if you’re passionate about this field, willing to work hard, and good with numbers, a career in Data Science might be a great choice.

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