I Want That Job!: Data scientist

Data science can tell a lot about our digital footprints
By Laura Aka
November 30, 2020

People working in data science can collect raw information and present it to companies to help them understand their consumers’ behaviors and also how to make better business decisions.

“In the last decade, economists have stressed the significance of processing, understanding, visualizing, and communicating insights from data, and how that’s going to affect our immediate future. And the ability to do so effectively, is what gives the most successful companies out there, their competitive advantage today,” says Melissa Matalon, a technical program manager with Facebook.

A background in STEM-related education plus computer programming or modeling is one way to get into a data science job. Online learning opportunities, including classes and bootcamps are available to those who want to learn about the field.

Data analytic skills can be broadly applied to related roles in any industry. Matalon names a few, including health care, media, banking, and sports.

She adds, “Everyone is viewing content or purchasing items with a digital footprint. So all of these actions can now be tracked in almost real time using the latest technologies that are being created to process vast amounts of data. With all of this infrastructure in place now, what makes it so valuable is the people that have acquired the skills to translate this information from a jumble of numbers to actionable insights. I think this is why data scientists are so in demand across every industry.”

Eric Bradlow, vice dean of analytics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, says the field of data analytics is recession-proof.

“Every industry needs people that can learn how to ingest data, analyze data, help companies, make business decisions through data. It’s a set of skills that you would think, ‘Wow, you hear all these people doing data science.’ No, there’s actually a shortage of people that can do data science. So as data science becomes a deeper and even more rich field, I think even more companies are going to have need for data scientists.”

In 2019, the median annual wage for a category that includes data scientists and mathematical science occupations was $94,280. This from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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