How Long Does It Take To Become A Delivery Nurse – Glassdoor has ranked data scientists #3 on its “Best Jobs in America” list for 5 consecutive years. But how long does it take to become a data scientist?
Many people are familiar with a 2012 Harvard Business Review article that called the data scientist career “America’s sexiest job,” but some may wonder if it remains attractive. The demand continues – Glassdoor has ranked data scientists in the top 3 on its “Best Jobs in America” list for 5 years in a row.
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This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows about data trends. The explosive growth in data-driven decision-making, coupled with the rise of low-cost, high-power computing, has led to greater demand for data scientists than HBR predicted in 2012, leading to a shortage of data professionals. .
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While demand for data scientists is high and salaries are relatively high, the average data scientist starting salary is $114,528, according to Glassdoor. If you’re wondering, “How long will it take to become a data scientist?” The answer is that it might not take as long as you think.
Let’s look at some information about this career 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 skill sets vary from job to job. That said, there are some general skills every data scientist should master.
What is data science? It is a specialized field that analyzes data to solve problems and inform business decisions.
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The basic task of a data scientist is to take real data, use scientific methods, processes, algorithms and computational systems, and then extract knowledge and understanding. The ability to develop machine learning and predictive models are some of the key things that set data scientists apart from data analysts.
There are many data science programming languages, and most data scientists will be proficient in a few. Some of the most popular programming tools include:
If data scientists are going to find meaningful insights into their company’s pain points and opportunities, they need math skills. The latter is what it takes to turn a factual situation into a solvable problem. Mathematics will play an important role not only in formulating questions with answers, but also in interpreting the results your algorithm provides.
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 can do numbers and IT professionals can write code, but transferring technical skills to solve business problems is what sets data scientists apart.
To assess business conditions and have data models that provide actionable insights, Business Intelligence (BI) knowledge is a skill that data scientists need. For this reason, some data science courses may include some business or finance classes to provide a framework for doing business.
Because data scientists work with business professionals who know less than they do about coding and statistics, the ability to explain their ideas is essential.
From writing reports to presenting, data scientists must be able to convey their insights in a way that non-technical experts can understand. This includes using data visualization tools like Tableau to bring your data to life. Either way, be prepared to communicate with those who don’t have a data science background.
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No, you don’t need a degree to become a data scientist. All you need are the necessary skills to perform the role.
While many data scientists today 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 this field to excel as a data scientist. In fact, a growing number of companies are happy to accept data scientists who come from a data science bootcamp.
Many universities offer bachelor’s degrees in data science, but earning one takes an average of four years. And, depending on which university you choose, you can spend upwards of $99,000 for a four-year degree where you can complete a data science bootcamp for under $20,000.
Like most data science roles, a master’s degree or higher is required, although additional education may be required. Some master’s programs can be completed online in less than a year. And the longer you stay at school, the more you’ll have to pay – even if financial aid is available.
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Going to college is too long and self-education is not taken for granted, often looking for a middle ground. Data science bootcamps provide just that. With rigorous, job-specific training from industry-leading experts, students who participate in data science training gain hands-on, in-depth data science experience—without the unnecessary courses required by universities.
This data center approach allows students to learn the information they need while greatly reducing the length and cost of their journey. For example, the Flatiron School offers a full-time data science program that you can complete in as little as 15 weeks, and you can complete their flex-paced options in 20, 40, or 60 weeks.
When they do, they have many networks to gain career and even professional support from. The only downside is that some data managers prefer formal levels.
Many data analysts have the math, business, and communication skills necessary to become a data scientist—all they need to add is coding experience. If you have enough prerequisites and some kind – preferably in the STEM field – self-study and some certificates proving programming skills might be enough to get into the data science industry. Try a free Flatiron School lesson to see if you’re ready to take the plunge.
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Self-study may be the cheapest, but it requires enough discipline to stay on task and it’s not for everyone. And it’s harder to prove what you know and how. It’s also important to make sure you’re learning the right material from the right source, or you might feel less prepared than you think – which is why some data science jobs might not feel like the right self-training.
Since there are so many different paths to get there, the answer to “how long does it take to become a data scientist” is: it can vary.
Those who take the university route can become data scientists in 3-4 years. For the 75% who decide to pursue a master’s in data science, it could take another 1-2 years.
The entire period can be affected up to 5-6 years. While self-study has the potential to be the shortest path, it really depends on the student. Determined students can complete their studies in months, while distracted ones can extend their journey indefinitely.
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Data science bootcamps can help students achieve their goal of becoming a data scientist in just a few months. Some recommended bootcamps last around six months – but most last around 12-15 weeks. The bootcamp route may be the fastest option for some to become data scientists.
If this sounds interesting to you, start your path to becoming a Data Scientist at Flatiron School today.
The Flatiron School offers an in-depth data science online program that you can complete in 15 weeks. Schedule a 10-minute chat with recruiters to learn more.
Disclaimer: Information in this blog is current as of June 15, 2021. Current policies, offerings, procedures and programs may vary. For up-to-date information visit
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