Recent research by Burning Glass Technologies reveals that the demand for data scientists has tripled over the past five years, rising 231% as compared to just a 35% rise for other job postings overall in the UK.

This rapid growth in the need for individuals with big data, data science and machine learning skills seems to have become even more accelerated since the start of the COVID pandemic. Businesses suddenly found themselves thrust into a state of crisis, dealing with closures and furloughed employees – and many of them had no prior knowledge of how to adapt and survive. This led to many business leaders turning to data to help them make more informed business decisions and better navigate the unknown situation we suddenly found ourselves in.

Even though lockdown is slowly easing, and the UK seems to be on the road to economic recovery, this knowledge-driven appetite for data is showing no signs of slowing down.  Using automation to help reduce bottom-line costs, create intelligent solutions, gather consumer sentiment, and even create in-depth risk forecasts means that data science will continue to be the thing that many businesses rely on to help them steer through this post-pandemic world.

However, despite this need for data scientists and other associated roles, there also seems to be a shortage of talent out there with the necessary skills. Recent research by IBM, for example, states that many data science roles remain unfilled for 45 days or even longer, with the Office for Students also revealing the UK is currently battling a £2bn data skills shortage.

So, if you are a student who is looking to break into the world of data science – or a graduate or data scientist who wants to move into a different role – what are the ‘what, where and why’ of landing your dream job?

What skills do you need to become a data scientist?

If you want to become a data scientist you will need to have a Bachelor’s degree in a science, statistics or technology-related subject. To really improve your chances of success in this field, you may also want to think about going on to complete a Master’s or PhD in a similar field too.

Having said that, more and more businesses are becoming aware that the higher education route is not for everyone, and so they are starting to offer other routes into this career, such as apprenticeships and work experience.

Technical skills are always a good thing to have when it comes to the field of data science, especially anything related to AI techniques, coding languages or machine learning. These are not a must-have but they can help your chances as employers will see you as someone who can get started in a role without needing too much training. 

Where could I work as a data scientist?

In the past (or pre-pandemic should we say) most data science jobs would have been based in large cities like London. However, with COVID disrupting the way we work most people are now able to work from anywhere – as long as they have the right equipment and support in place. This has led to a sharp increase in the number of people working remotely, which in turn is leading to a much more flexible workforce.

Why should I become a data scientist?

As we started off this article by saying, data science is a field that is full of opportunities as more and more businesses are looking to increase their use of data to help them to reduce costs through the use of data-driven decisions.

Becoming a data scientist also means that you will be part of an exciting and ever-evolving industry in its early stages, where no two days will be the same – and the business world is effectively your oyster.

Data science is an extremely varied, and rewarding career path to set out on, and its role within the world of business has grown vastly over the past five years – and this shows no sign of slowing down.

If you want to build out your data science team or are looking to work in data science, then Agile Recruit can help. Take a look at our latest data science jobs, or get in touch with one of our consultants to find out more.

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