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Data Science: Essential Questions You Need To Answer Before Starting Your Career You must judge whether this is the right career path for you and know what all comes after you have graduated

By Dr. Kulneet Suri

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You may have heard that the field of data science is comparatively new. You may have also heard that there is a high demand for professionals and the trend is likely to continue for the next decade or so. All these are definitely tempting and but are not enough to make an informed decision. As with any other degree, you cannot randomly become a data scientist without knowing the full story. You must judge whether this is the right career path for you and know what all comes after you have graduated.

To ease your process of selection and decision making, this post compiles a set of essential questions that you should get answers to before starting your career in Data Science. These answers will clear the picture for you and help you to take the first step right while joining the top data science courses after 12th.

What do you do as a data scientist?

A common misconception that goes around is that the work of a data scientist is only about coding. The statement, in fact, is only partially true as the role of a data scientist is yet to be properly defined. Companies hire data scientists under different roles but the core job remains the same: deal with and analyse a massive set of data that will provide value to the company's business goals.

By analysing data, you will have to solve matters such as how to increase the current productivity, improve product quality and customer satisfaction, and reduce the manufacturing time and so on. To summarise, you will have to increase the business' revenue using data.

How much coding should you learn?

While data science may not only be about coding, it is definitely an integral part. Coding comes in during the mathematical processes of dealing with large quantities of data that you simply cannot solve manually.

For instance, if a course is teaching you Python, try to learn this language to an expert level. Even if you face any other language during your job, the core principles of using them remain the same. So, you may not know five different languages but you can still land a top job.

Who hires data scientists and what is the pay like?

Data scientists are required everywhere. You can get into fields such as technology, marketing, financial services, corporate setting, government services, healthcare, gaming and so on. In fact, tech companies hire most of the data scientists (41 per cent) followed by marketing companies (almost 13 per cent). To give you a clearer idea, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Flipkart hire data scientists on a regular basis.

As the demand is high and the number of professionals available is low, the pay in this field is generally high. You can easily expect a six-figure annual income once you graduate and that can easily go up to seven within a matter of two years. Depending on your skills, you can get any amount you want.

What does the future look like?

Data science has already been named the top job in America for the year 2016. Statistics also suggest that during the decade 2014-2024, the field has an expected growth rate of 11-14 per cent. Also, almost 80 per cent of the data scientists out there suggest that there is indeed a shortage of professionals in this current field. All these establishes the fact that data science is, in fact, the next big career option.

But the field is also prone to automation as most of the task is ultimately done by machines. Algorithms can run bulk quantities of data through tools and produce faster results than any human possibly can. However, this does not mean that machines will replace data scientists totally. The courses will teach you to understand the automatic algorithms, better their technology and use your creativity to invent new techniques. If you learn to find optimal solutions for a problem at hand, you will never be searching for jobs.

To conclude

If you are fresh out of the 12th standard now, there cannot be any proper time to start your career in data science. Both new and old companies are starting to realise the importance of this field and investing without limits on the right professionals. Even universities have branches who recruit scientists to help firms with their data or develop tools to process things better and faster.

Seize the opportunity, select the right institution and kick start your career. You will be dealing with real-world data sets and the scope for growth is limitless. Data science is indeed the next big thing.

Dr. Kulneet Suri

Senior Director, Institute of Management Studies-Noida

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