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What You Need to Know to Start a Career As a Data Scientist

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Editor Comments: “This is a great post by Julia Silge on the challenges and rewards on moving from software development to data science. I especially like the section on needing creativity and communication to succeed.” – Ted Laderas

Demand for developers with specialized skills is on the rise across the board, and companies are particularly interested in filling data science roles. A recent IBM study projects that the number of work opportunities in data science will increase 15% in the coming years, adding 364,000 openings by 2020. It also predicts that demand for data scientists and engineers will grow by 39% in the next five years.

Why has data science become so important to businesses? “The explosion of data science is motivated by businesses capturing orders of magnitude more data about their customers, processes, products, and services than in the past, everything from website user behavior to turbine engine diagnostics,”says Chris Albon, data scientist and the creator of Machine Learning Flashcards. More than ever before, companies have the ability to gather and store vast amounts of information. Data scientists are responsible for converting that data into insights that can inform decisions, reduce risk, and uncover surprises. Albon says, “Making this data useful requires specialized knowledge and skills that sit somewhere between statistics, computer science, and software engineering.”

As more companies rely on data to make better decisions, they’re hiring for positions in data science to help them get there. If you’re a developer interested in transitioning into a career in data science, here are a couple things to know about the role…

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