What is a Data Scientist?

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What is a Data Scientist?

The role of a

data scientist

is a relatively new breed of analytical data experts thanks to Big Data technology and is an evolution of the business or data analyst. The demand for data scientists has grown significantly because of this.

So what is a data scientist? It is someone who performs statistical analysis, data mining and retrieval processes on larger variants of data to identify and report trends, figures and other information. The data analysis that is performed is then stored in data warehouses or centres that can help gather business intelligence and solve or diminish any issues or potential problems with the business.

A typical

data analyst

may only look at the data from a single source whereas a data scientist will explore and examine data from multiple sources. Not only do they sift through large quantities of data to provide business insight but they will also view data from different angles with the intent to recognise patterns in data and present the data in a graphical format for simpler analysis.

Data scientists combine the roles of a mathematician, a

computer scientist

and a trend-spotter. Big Data has key information for intelligent business decisions and due to the overwhelming size and complexity of data, the need for someone who can collect large amounts of data and transform it into a usable format has become a necessity for companies.

What is Data Science?

Data Science is knowledge discovery through data exploration and deep learning. This involves using mathematic and algorithmic solutions to solve the majority of the analytical problems and analysing quantities of raw information to gain high levels of insight and use that to strategize intelligently.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Data Scientist

A data scientist may be engaged in a variety of projects and here are some examples of their responsibilities:

  • Collects large amounts of data and transforms it into usable and visual data
  • Uses data-driven techniques to solve a variety of business problems
  • Using analytical techniques such as machine learning, deep learning and text analytics
  • Analyse patterns, trends and similarities in data to provide business insight
  • Eliminate noise and identify canonical data points
  • Make comparisons and derive relationships
  • Generalise the data to make useful statistical predictions

What skillset does a Data Scientist need?


data scientists

should have a background in data analysis or as a statistician but can come from non-technical fields too including business or economics. The common denominator is someone who can solve problems by combining maths with a strong business acumen.

Data scientists should also have the following understanding and qualities:

  • Knowledge of programming languages including SAS, R and Python
  • Being able to work with Big Data using data storage applications like Hadoop or Hive.
  • Statistics, deep learning and machine learning
  • Understanding of databases such as MySQL and Postgres
  • Data visualisation and reporting technologies
  • Tackling problems around data quality, clustering and dimensionality

How much can I earn as a Data Scientist?

Data scientists can earn a salary anywhere between £35,000 and £85,000. The amount is dependent upon a number of factors, one of which is location. It is not uncommon for

data scientists

in London to be paid more. A data scientist contractor could earn up to £500 a day on average.

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