Do Data Scientists Really Have the Best Job in America?

Man does data science on blackboard

If you're involved or interested in IT, then you're probably well aware that Big Data has exploded in popularity, relevance, and interest over the past several years. From family-owned farms to national governments, everyone seems to be seeking to incorporate big data and data analysis into their business models.


This explosion in the relevancy and utility of big data has also generated high demand for data scientists and individuals skilled in data analysis.


Recently, employment facilitator Glassdoor ranked Data Scientist as the best job in America. With a median base salary of $110,000 for the average data scientist, it might seem fairly obvious why data scientists love their jobs. There are several factors, however, relating to job satisfaction, as well as facets specific to the position, that make the job so desirable among IT professionals.


Let's take a look at some of those factors, as well some certifications that can help interested individuals get the skills they need to become a data scientist.


Never a dull moment


A common complaint that employees in virtually every field have, whether IT and non-IT, is that their jobs are monotonous, and that "work" involve essentially repeating the same set of tasks day-in and day-out. Consequently, these employees become bored and report lower job satisfaction than individuals whose jobs afford them diversity in the tasks and responsibilities they perform.


Boredom or excessive routine is rarely a problem for data scientists, because they are involved in virtually every step of a product's life cycle. From researching a product's viability to determining what features a product should include in its next iteration, data analysis has become absolutely crucial. As a result, data scientists have an incredibly diverse set of roles, responsibilities, and projects that they are expected to fulfill.


High impact


Because a lot of organizations and businesses are just starting to integrate data analysis into their operations, data scientists have the unique opportunity to uncover untapped insights and have a tremendous impact on the businesses employing them. The value and impact that data scientists create is often directly measurable and quantifiable.


As a result, data scientists can see the tangible results of their work, making it all the more meaningful to them.


Opportunities aplenty


According to a 2016 LinkedIn study, the number of data scientists has doubled over the last four years. Given the ever-increasing relevance and necessity of competent data analysis, there are no signs of this trend slowing down. This high demand allows data scientists to be fairly selective when deciding on the companies they want to work for and the kind of work they want to do.


Businesses operating in the manufacturing, retail, IT, and professional services sectors are all looking to integrate big data into their operations, giving qualified data scientists a significant leverage when it comes to finding a company with a culture, area of operations, and approach to work that is right for them.


Getting certified


GCI Database Finger of God tablet

Beyond the education that most IT professionals get in programming and statistics courses, there are several certifications and credentials specific to the data scientist role that can help you get the ball rolling on your path to becoming a data scientist.


Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)


The Certified Analytics Professional credential is one of the most widely-recognized vendor-neutral data analysis certifications available. It is offered by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences and costs $695 for non-members.


CAP offers accreditation in seven major domains of the data analysis process: business problem framing, analytics problem framing, data, methodology selection, model building, deployment, and lifecycle management. CAP candidates can expect a rigorous, holistic course that covers all major aspects of the data analysis process.


Certificate in Big Data Analytics and Optimization (CPEE): INSOFE


The International School of Engineering (INSOFE) offers an intensive 18-week program featuring 10 courses that cover all of the major topics relating to data science, including data analytics, working with big data, R and Hadoop skills, statistical modeling, machine learning, text mining, and optimization. INSOFE is a world-renowned organization and their certifications are widely-recognized across jurisdictions.


Mining Massive Data Sets Graduate Certificate: Stanford University


The Mining Massive Data Sets Graduate Certificate is a highly sought after credential offered by Stanford. It focuses on teaching students to work with and manipulate large quantities of data into actionable insights and intelligence. The certificate involves learning about powerful techniques and algorithms for extracting data from a wide variety of different types of data sets. Candidates should have basic computer science and data science skills before applying. While the tuition is relatively pricey at $13,440 to $19,800, the incredibly useful skills you learn coupled with the prestige and instant brand recognition of a Stanford certificate make it invaluable to any aspiring data scientist.


Microsoft Professional Program Certificate in Data Science


Microsoft offers holistic certification in virtually every aspect of data science. To acquire the certificate, applicants must complete a 9-step program that teaches students everything from data science essentials to understanding statistical models to programming with R for data science. Each one of the courses in the program are affordably priced at $49 per module, making it ideal for aspiring data science professionals who aren't looking to break the bank to get certified.


Data Science Certification: Coursera


Coursera, through its partnership with John Hopkins University, offers a 10-course data science certification that is ideal for beginners to the field. Each course focuses on covering the essentials of the various components of data science. Furthermore, the certificate is offered for approximately $99 and can be completed in roughly 3 to 6 months.


Best Job in America: Now Hiring YOU


Data Science is a field brimming with opportunity. With data scientists reporting the highest job satisfaction coupled with exceptional salaries, it's no wonder why data science is rapidly becoming a hot field in IT. With the right certifications, any IT professional can become a data scientist. And land in one of the top-rated occupations in the United States.


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About the Author
Nenad Dumanovic NEW

Nenad Dumanovic is the founder and principal of Impressify, a PR company that specializes in delivering PR, content marketing, and business writing services for startups, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profits. He is editor-in-chief of Konstantine News, a digital politics magazine launching in April 2016.