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Skills required to become a data scientist in 2021

Skills required to become a data scientist in 2021

A lot changed in the business world between 2016 and 2021  but what remained unchanged is the value of data scientists. Ranked among the top 3 in Glassdoor’s annual ranking in the U.S.A., the job role remains the most in-demand high-tech profession across Europe.

If you have chosen a career as a data scientist then you couldn’t have decided better. While demands for data scientist qualifications are on the rise, the skill gap in this domain is vast. This gap works remarkably well for students looking to enter this industry and professionals considering a career change.

The widening skill gap and shortage of capable data scientists has become a concern for business giants. As per Capgemini, 55% of organisations  feel the need for proficient data scientists and the skill gap  has grown to 57%  in the U.K.

As the business world spearheads new technological developments, the scarcity of data scientists remains a prominent issue. This crooked demand-supply graph clearly indicates that enhanced data scientist skills is the need of the hour. If you are looking for success as a data scientist, then the following information will be of great use to you.  

Important skills for data scientists

Data rules the world of business and is available in surplus amount. While being the most vital factor in decision making, data can’t do much on its own. It has to be acquired, processed, cleaned and integrated for various processes and these are the responsibilities of a data scientist. 

It is a role that requires various expertise and according to the CEO of Lattice, Shashi Upadhyay, data scientists are like unicorns - one of a kind. The range of skills and knowledge that they possess is uncanny and can scarcely be found in any other profession. 

Every organisation increasingly relies on data scientist for a variety of reasons ranging from sourcing new opportunities to improving customer interaction. That’s why professionals in this field are required to possess various technical and non-technical skills.  

Technical skills 

Given the job responsibilities of a data scientist, it is no surprise that sound technical knowledge takes the prime spot here. Students seeking a lucrative career in data science can enrol in a specialised programme for this purpose. Here are some of the main technical skills that are required to become a data scientist in 2021: 

  • Programming

Every data scientist is required to have knowledge of programming languages: Python, Java, C/C++and more. Among these, Python has long been regarded as the most preferred coding language. In 2018 nearly 66%  of data scientists used Python daily. The reason for its popularity is that the programming language is multi-purpose and can be easily deployed in numerous applications and websites.

  • Analytical tools

Another important technical skill is the knowledge of analytical tools such as SAS, Hadoop, Spark, Hive, Pig, and R. These tools are used for extracting meaningful insights from collected data.  

  • Data visualisation 

Understanding data is necessary for a data scientist as it helps them make sense of surplus data. This technique transforms data into storytelling form, making it easier to showcase things like outliers and trends. In short, it is like a visual art that helps to display the message more engagingly. 

  • Understanding of unstructured data 

A holistic understanding of different data sources is necessary for successful data scientists. Hence, a data scientist working with the marketing team must have some knowledge of marketing platforms including various social media channels. 

Non-technical skills 

Apart from the various technical expertise, data scientist requirements also include certain non-technical skills that are equally important. Some of the most essential pan-industry skills that a data scientist is required to have in 2021 are: 

  • Business acumen 

Working with data requires awareness and creativity so it is important that data scientists stay updated with industry trends and practices. They need to know what will help the organisation grow and what challenges may be encountered. Similarly, the right business knowledge will help a data scientist to explore all potential opportunities.   

  • Communication skills 

Excellent communication skills have become a major requirement in every sector. Data scientists are also required to present information and communicate ideas to business heads. To be able to articulate effectively and share your point convincingly, communication skills are mandatory for data scientists. 

As the demand for proficient data scientists is on the rise, it is necessary to be industry-ready. Data Science for Executives offered by London School of Business and Finance allows you to develop all the necessary skills and knowledge pertaining to this sector. Taught through a modern-day curriculum and real-life case studies, the programme gives students a valuable understanding of data science tools and practices. Click on the links shared to know more!


This article is written by Nandita Kaushal.

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