Definition of a Data Scientist

The business of data science involves the management and analysis of large data sets, or “big data.” A Data Scientists’ main objective is to give meaning and value to this data. So, skills in statistical analysis, coding and mathematics are necessary to complete this job. This area of work sets itself apart from that of a statistician, though, through the innovative use of web analytics and machine learning, which go beyond traditional database management tools.

Roles and Responsibilities

The goal of data science is to help a company make effective, strategic decisions. In this way, one of the qualities data specialists must possess is inventiveness; they are expected to design models and algorithms that collect, store, process and retrieve data. This is not unlike the work of a data analyst, in that both roles help a company interpret data in a meaningful way. However, data science is further concerned with creating new ways to model data through prototyping and algorithms.

Skills in Data Science

The task of identifying and developing new ways to interpret and automate data streams requires a range of skills that are common in the IT field, including knowledge of statistics, a good grasp of databases, and experience in areas such as marketing and finance.

Training for Data Science

Data science is a discipline that has developed with the emergence of “big data” a term created in 1997 to describe large data sets that can be analyzed to reveal patterns or trends. Today, many companies in the field of finance and medicine utilize the skills of these specialists.

This position normally requires a Bac+4 or Bac+5 in computer science, management, marketing or statistics. Although training opportunities at “big data” companies are limited, the number of openings is increasing.

In Demand Qualifications

The following accreditations offer a route into data science:

  • European Masters in Data Exploitation and Knowledge Management
  • Masters in Engineering (Big Data)
  • Engineering degree, with a specialization in Big Data

These are taught in large cities such as Lyon, Paris, Grenoble, Nancy, Nantes and Reims.

Evaluating the Skills of a Data Scientist

There are multiple routes into data science, so evaluating candidates on qualifications is not straightforward. However, a Master’s degree or PHD offers a good indication that a candidate has the skills and knowledge required.

Again, a data scientist must have knowledge of:

  • basic statistics
  • analytical tools, such as SAS
  • programming languages (Python, Java, Perl or C/C++)
  • machine learning
  • linear algebra and functions with several variables
  • the NoSQL database

Even if there is no single test to determine the level of knowledge necessary for a good data scientist, we can perform a thorough check of the skills of the candidate, which will be more effective in the end.

Salary for Data Scientists

The salary a Data Scientist varies, depending on the level of employment within a company. For a team leader, working alongside a data science team, the salary can be up to 180,000 euros. A junior position can start at anywhere between 45,000 and 120,000 euros.