With all the talk about the field of data science and the growing demand for analysts, many students and interested individuals are checking out this promising field. And with good reason, as the industry offers well-paying positions coupled with a demand that sees no end.
However, the analytical world of data science is not everyone’s cup of tea. “Thriving in a data science job requires a particular personality type and skill set, and many of those rushing into the field may not be well suited for it,” notes Andrej Kovacevic, Editor @ Tech Loot.
As noted by Career Explorer, utilizing Holland Codes, “Data scientists tend to be predominantly investigative individuals, which means that they are quite inquisitive and curious people that often like to spend time alone with their thoughts. They also tend to be conventional, meaning that they are usually detail-oriented and organized, and like working in a structured environment.”
To help you determine if you’re compatible with this career path, consider these “must-have” traits as defined by many industry experts.
Critical thinking: the ability to apply an objective analysis of facts before formulating opinions or rendering judgments
“They need to understand the business problem or decision being made and be able to ‘model’ or ‘abstract’ what is critical to solving the problem, versus what is extraneous and can be ignored,” says Anand Rao, global artificial intelligence and innovation lead for data and analytics at consulting firm PwC. “This skill more than anything else, determines the success of a data scientist.”
Jeffry Nimeroff, CIO at Zeta Global, finds the ability to suspend belief a crucial critical thinking factor. “This trait captures the idea of knowing what to expect when working in any area, but also knowing that experience and intuition are imperfect. Experience provides benefits but is not without risk if we get too complacent. This is where the suspense of belief is important.” He continues, “It’s not about looking at things with the wide eyes of a novice, but instead stepping back and being able to assess a problem or situation from multiple points of view.”
Curious as a cat: an insatiable drive to question, discover, and uncover
“The best analysts are often immensely curious about what customers want, what works, what doesn’t, and why,” notes Piyanka Jain. “They don’t know all the answers, but by being curious, they draw out knowledge from colleagues, then use the data to prove/disprove and quantify the insights. They are truth searchers who know analytics is a journey, not a destination.”
A love of all things statistical: a passion for the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of masses of numerical data.
“To thrive in (and enjoy) a data science job, you have to have an innate love for statistics,” says Kovacevic. “After all, data science is about information and making sense of it. If you’re not the type to spend hours poring over every detail of your favorite sports team’s record and results, you may end up coming to see your new data science job as an endless parade of drudgery and boredom.”
He reminds us that data scientists spend up to 80% of their time collecting and preparing data for analysis, noting that, “if you’re not prepared to deal with that, you might want to rethink your plans.”
When success in the data sciences is on the table, we mustn’t forget to include the role of “soft skills,” such as—
“The ‘storytelling’ ability through data translates what is a mathematical result into an actionable insight or intervention,” says Rao. “Being at the intersection of business, technology, and data, data scientists need to be adept at telling a story to each of the stakeholders.”
If your skillset and personality traits point toward a career in data science, RomAnalytics will make your job search easier. How? We help you get noticed. We coach to win. We have access to unadvertised positions. Give yourself the career boost you deserve by contacting the RomAnalytics team.