How to Become a Data Scientist Online

Dec 19, 2019

The article below describes the steps to become a data scientist online. It also presents career-related facts of a data scientist, such as required skills, job growth, and salary details.

Data Scientist Career Overview

Many online resources are available to meet the undergraduate and graduate degree requirements needed to begin a career as a data scientist. These professionals are responsible for interpreting patterns in data using advanced computer algorithms and reporting the results. The below table lists the required skillset, job growth, and median salary of a data scientist.

Required Skills Knowledge of machine learning, Python, and R; data analysis, statistical analysis, data modeling, and data mining skills
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 16% for all computer and information research scientists
Median Salary (2019)** $95,998

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Steps to Become a Data Scientist Online

One must typically hold a bachelor's and master's degree and have sufficient hands-on experience solving data problems to become a data scientist. Many schools offer these undergraduate and graduate degree programs online, and there are multiple online data challenges and competition through which one can gain sufficient hands-on experience.

Step 1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree Online

Consider obtaining a bachelor's degree online in either mathematics, statistics, or computer science to gain the computational, statistical, and mathematical skills needed to become a data scientist. An undergraduate degree in computer science introduces computer programming languages, coding techniques, database concepts, and security-related concepts, which can provide the necessary foundational skills helpful for data scientists. A mathematics bachelor's degree program can include topics related to advanced calculus and algebra, which can play a prominent role in data science. On the other hand, a statistics degree program provides exposure to probability, regression analysis, inferential statistics, and time series analysis, which can be useful for extensive data analysis. Many schools offer online options to earn these bachelor's degrees. The typical duration is four years, and students need to complete around 120 credits.

Step 2. Earn a Master's Degree in Data Science Online

A master's degree in data science offers advanced training through capstone projects and other hands-on learning experiences to help in becoming a data scientist. Online master's degree programs are available with a duration of one to two years, where students need to complete 30-35 credits. Master's degree programs are available with different concentrations, such as computer science, healthcare data, and computational biology and bioinformatics, enabling students to learn data science concepts in the context of a particular field of interest.

A master's degree curriculum introduces data processing concepts along with data presentation skills, such as data collection, data mining, data cleansing, predictive analysis, and data visualization concepts. Different programming languages, computer analysis, machine learning, deep learning algorithms, and software tools for detailed analysis and data presentation could be a part of the curriculum. Students can also learn natural language processing, statistical programming and analysis, security concepts, database models, and artificial intelligence topics.

Step 3. Gain Practical Experience

To get an entry-level job as a data scientist, one must have excellent programming and analytical skills. To sharpen your skills, you might participate in fellowships while enrolled in your graduate degree program. Practicing data problems and coding skills in online data challenges and competitions can also get you work experience. After thorough practice, consider creating an online blog or portfolio that showcases all your skills and expertise in capstone projects and performance in online competitions to add extra value to your resume.

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