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Essential Skills for Data Scientists: What Employers Look For

This blog explains the essential skills required for a data scientist role

By Fizza JatniwalaPublished 22 days ago 3 min read
Source: https://www.cio.com/article/230532/what-is-a-data-scientist-a-key-data-analytics-role-and-a-lucrative-career.html

The field of data science is blooming these days, and organizations from every type of business sector need these highly-skilled professionals in great numbers. But what is it that the employers expect out of a data scientist? Mere technical skills are not the only necessary means to being a great data scientist; one has to have a mixture of technical, soft, and business approach.

Here are some of the critical skills of a good candidate for the data science job market:

Technical Skills:

Programming: Python is the leader in all data science tools. Employers look forward to a fluency in Python, and some of its libraries might include NumPy, pandas, and Matplotlib for data manipulation and visualization purposes. Quick proficiency in R, another very popular language for statistical computing, also gives one a strong chance in applications.

Statistics and Machine Learning: The working knowledge of statistical concepts has to be clear in the context of hypothesis testing, regression analysis, and probability theory. A data scientist would also need a sound understanding of machine-learning algorithms like linear regression, decision trees, and random forests. • Data Wrangling and Cleaning: Real-world data is rarely spotless. Therefore the ability and functionality to clean, wrangle, and transform messy data datasets into usable formats are important skills for any data scientist.

Database Management: He or she should be adept at managing a relational database like SQL as well as NoSQL databases, say, MongoDB, to extract and handle data from versatile sources.

Soft Skills:

Communication: Data insights are futile if one cannot communicate those; hence, the written and verbal communication skills are very important to project the findings in front of technical and non-technical audiences.

Problem-Solving: Carves its niche dealing with variegated issues that bear innovation-based solutions in data science. Employers are looking for ones like you—ones who can think critically, view things from different perspectives, and ones who would determine the root cause of problems.

Collaboration: Data science rarely happens in a silo. A critical factor for project success will be an ability to work collaboratively with colleagues across many backgrounds: from engineers and business analysts to domain experts.

Understanding the Business Landscape: Data science is not about algorithms; it's about using your skills to solve real-world problems that businesses face today. You can only translate your data insights into actionable solutions when you have an idea of the business domain in which you're working.

Storytelling with Data: Data visualization is a key enabler for storytelling with data. Knowing how to present complex findings in your deliverable through clear and compelling visualizations is the heart of helping engage your stakeholders to drive the data-informed decision-making process.

Mastering Python: Your Gateway into Data Science

Among the technical skills that one has to acquire, Python stands as the foundational language with regard to the subject of data science. If one were to consider data science as a serious occupation, Python is something that an individual must start with.

Courses: There are countless online courses to get acquainted with basic Python for data science. Watch out for courses that introduce core libraries like NumPy, pandas, and Matplotlib with some introduction to machine learning concepts.

Books: There are many great books available to learn Python for data science. Some are classics, like "Python for Data Analysis" by Wes McKinney or "Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn, Keras & TensorFlow" by Aurélien Géron.

Practice Projects: There is no better practice than practicing to internalize Python skills. There are many online resources for students to undergo data science projects for beginners. Progress from small to large-scale projects. Start with simple, smaller projects then move to big ones. Check our best python course for data science.


It's a demanding career in which one needs a good number of skills to become a data scientist. It's a readiness that comes after previously delving into the technical, soft skills, and business acumen detailed above; you are sure to be now ready to land that dream job. This, of course, will begin by getting a handle on the language of data science: Python. Invest in your Python skills, explore the resources made accessible, and get on your way to becoming a first-class data scientist!

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About the Creator

Fizza Jatniwala

Fizza Jatniwala, an MSC-IT postgraduate, serves as a dynamic Digital Marketing Executive at the prestigious Boston Institute of Analytics.

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