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Overview of Educational Requirements to Become a Data Scientist

Majors Overview May 6, 2013

Data scientists improve the efficiency of information processing systems in firms and other organizations. Other duties include researching, designing and testing companies’ data management software to ensure that they comply with industry practices and business requirements.


Data scientists research the latest application development tools, oversee the construction of large-scale data sets and recommend ways of improving data quality. They also perform decision-making and problem solving duties with peers, subordinates and superiors.

Aptitude and Tools

Data scientists must have good communication and programming skills. In addition, vision and math acumen are vital in this field. Data scientists work on computer servers, integrated circuit testers and object oriented development tools including Sun Microsystems Java and C++.

How to Become a Data Scientist

Most companies rely on business software for their operations. This has led to an increased demand for data scientists. Positions for data scientists are available in many settings including software corporations and computer system design and manufacturing companies, among others.


Data scientists are highly specialized professionals. The field requires special post high school training or degree. The minimum qualification required in this field is a bachelor’s degree in software engineering or a related field.

Aspiring data scientists should attain at least a high school diploma or its equivalent to be admitted to a Bachelor of Science degree program. Typical course units include mathematics, database management, data structures, software design, software architecture and computer programming.

Students who go through the bachelor degree program are prepared for a career in software engineering or data science. The program imparts various skills including troubleshooting and problem solving, designing and maintaining software systems and working with a team.

Career Experience

Obtain relevant career experience in a reputable organization. Many employers require work experience as a prerequisite for employment. Data scientists can be employed as computer programmers, IT consultants and software developers. They can also fill entry-level positions such as help desk associates or IT assistants. The entry-level positions provide a good starting point for those who need work experience to make their way into higher positions. With experience and skills, data scientists can be promoted to higher positions such as system designers or project managers.

Industry Certification and Higher Education

The field of Information Technology is ever changing because technology keeps advancing. This means aspiring data scientists must be willing to continue pursuing higher education throughout their careers. The education keeps them versed on any changes in the industry.

Obtaining certification especially in vendor specific software and applications can increase a data scientist’s marketability with employers. Some of the certifications include Google Apps Certification, Cisco career certification, Apple certification program and Microsoft certified professional, among others. In addition, a master’s degree in computer or software engineering may be required for higher positions in IT.

The main job duty of a data scientist is to solve complex problems by employing deep knowledge in the scientific discipline. These professionals are expected to work with other elements in science including statistics and computer science. However, they are not expected to be experts in other subjects. Data scientists are expected to apply their knowledge and skills to find and interpret data sources, manage data, merge data sources and ensure data consistency.

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