CUSP’s MS in Applied Urban Science and Informatics trains students to become data scientists specifically focused on urban issues. Not sure where to begin on the journey to a career in data science? This how to guide, originally published by Fortune and written by Dawn Rzeznikiewicz, can get you started. View the original article.
It may come as a surprise that the title of “data scientist” is relatively new—in fact, it was coined in 2008 by two data analytics professionals at LinkedIn and Facebook. Today, we know it as a fast-growing field, but the term and career really only took shape after the arrival of big tech and the corresponding opportunity for analysts to find trends and solutions within data.
“It’s a weird thing because it’s very vague,” says Maurizio Porfiri, a frequently published Institute Professor at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. “I discovered after a while that I had become a data scientist: people just started to refer to me as such. So, now I kind of believe it,” he adds with a laugh.
With the data scientist career relatively new-to-the-scene, many working data scientists have taken somewhat indirect paths into this line of work. But because data science is becoming essential in almost every type of business, the academic offerings in this discipline continues to grow. In fact, Fortune’s first-ever ranking of the best online master’s in data science programs includes 15 schools.
Below is a step-by-step guide to the type of education, skills, and experience needed to become a data scientist.
1. Get a technical undergraduate degree
A majority of data scientists—or 68%—have a college-level degree, according to The State of Data Science 2021, a study conducted by Anaconda, a data science and machine learning platform. While the increase in online courses and certifications have made this step less of a requirement—the remaining 32% of respondents didn’t hold any type of college degree— a bachelor’s degree involving technical skills is still the most direct entry into the field.
Shray Mishra, a machine learning engineer at Tower Hill Insurance Groupdidn’t get his bachelor’s degree at a time when data science was an option. Even so, he suggests those people who are interested look into degrees that include programming and statistics. “In hindsight, if I had known at that time that I wanted to go into data science, I would have selected a degree more in line with computer science.”
2. Consider your area of specialization