Starting Your Data Science Career? Here’s What Employers Are Looking For

March 18, 2019 Amanda Krebs


As you embark on a data science career, you may be overwhelmed by the decisions ahead of you. “Data science skills are in demand at all levels,” says Jennifer Oppenheimer, a Managing Director at ES Technology, a division of The Execu|Search Group. “For even entry-level job seekers in this field, there are many opportunities to choose from.”

In fact, employers in need of data scientists are more willing to train than ever before. “In many cases, an internship can lead directly to an Analyst role,” Jennifer explains. “Companies are looking for talented candidates that can work their way up to a senior level within the organization.” For job seekers, this means that they can look forward to a wealth of training opportunities. Because employers know that data science professionals are in high demand, they will offer more career development in the hopes of retaining talented data science experts.

So, what are employers looking for in entry-level data science professionals?

Strong technical background

Naturally, your data science career will rely heavily on your technical abilities—even at the entry level. “Top companies not only want to see a degree in Mathematics, Statistics, or Computer Science, but they are also looking for specific programs and languages,” says Jennifer. “If you boast some of the most in-demand skills in data science, be sure that they are heavily emphasized on your resume.” This may include skills like:

  • SQL
  • Python
  • R
  • MatLab
  • Advanced Excel Skills
  • SAS
  • Data Visualization tools like Tableau

Soft skills

While you may consider your technical skills important to your data science career, keep in mind that soft skills like communication, problem-solving, or presentation skills are also incredibly important. “As a data scientist, it’s often not only your job to analyze and compile data, but also to present your findings,” explains Jennifer. “This includes being able to communicate effectively with business owners, C-suite executives, and company stakeholders.” If you lack the skills to present findings and potential solutions, employers may move on to another candidate.

Read Also: [Infographic] How To Build Your Online Brand In 4 Simple Steps

Personal branding

Employers are looking for candidates who are passionate about data science, and one of the best ways to determine that is a simple google search. “When you are active on LinkedIn or you boast an extensive online portfolio, employers are impressed at your initiative,” says Jennifer. “Being active in the data science community, either online or through industry events, is an excellent way to stand out amongst your competition.”

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