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Big Data Scientist: Job Description, Salary & Educational Requirements

Big data scientists are capable of developing new methods of processing information that's relevant to their industry. They have a leadership role in processing big data. Read on to learn about this career and how to become a big data scientist.

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Career Definition of a Big Data Scientist

Big data scientists may work in a number of different fields, such as business, healthcare, telecommunications or finance, to analyze very large sets of data. Their ultimate objective is to identify ways to improve operations within their industry. This may mean identifying unauthorized access to financial data for the financial big data scientist, while healthcare big data analysts may help to assess the success of certain types of treatments. Big data scientists gather information and use it to develop strategies to address specific issues or identify specific problems.

As big data scientists process data, they develop theories about what conclusions can be reached from that data. They perform calculations and statistical analyses of data to support conclusions and recommendations, and they may also develop formulas for calculations. They produce reports or make presentations about their findings. Successful big data scientists will be able to persuade their business or industry to adopt policies or take specific actions based on their conclusions. They ensure other professionals in their industry prioritize big data analysis as an essential tool for shaping their operations.

Educational Requirements At least a bachelor's degree; industry-related training
Job Skills Communication skills, problem-solving skills, teamwork skills, creativity, analytical skills, mathematical skills, objectivity, presentation skills, leadership, investigative skills
Median Salary (Feb. 2018)* $91,791 (data scientists/engineers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 33% (all mathematicians and statisticians)

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

In order to become a big data scientist it's necessary to have at least a bachelor's degree. It's common for professionals in this field to complete graduate studies. Fields of study that can be beneficial include disciplines that develop analytical skills, such as computer science or statistics. These fields of study are also good options because big data scientists perform complex calculations and may need to create their own formulas. Big data scientists can work in a number of industries, so it can be necessary to have some training or experience with the industry they work in order to understand the significance of specific types of information.

Required Skills

Big data scientists must have exceptional analytical skills so that they can evaluate the information they retrieve. They also need to have strong investigative skills in order to know what types of data to look for or where to locate essential data. Problem-solving skills are needed to develop solutions to specific issues impacting their employer and/or industry. They also need to have strong communication and presentation skills so that they can effectively relay their findings to managers.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide specific occupational data on big data scientists. They can be compared to mathematicians and statisticians because they require many comparable skills and perform some similar tasks. The BLS expects mathematicians and statisticians to experience a 33% job growth rate from 2016 to 2026. PayScale.com reports that the median annual salary for data scientists/engineers was $91,791 as of February 2018.

Related Careers

If a career as a big data scientist sounds appealing, then you may also be interested in other careers in analytics or even economics that involve using similar skills. Learn more about comparable career options through the links listed below.

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