Data is everywhere and expansive. A variety of terms related to mining, cleaning, analyzing, and interpreting data are often used interchangeably, but they can actually involve different skill sets and complexity of data.
Data scientists examine which questions need answering and where to find the related data. They have business acumen and analytical skills as well as the ability to mine, clean, and present data. Businesses use data scientists to source, manage, and analyze large amounts of unstructured data. Results are then synthesized and communicated to key stakeholders to drive strategic decision-making in the organization.
Skills needed: Programming skills (SAS, R, Python), statistical and mathematical skills, storytelling and data visualization, Hadoop, SQL, machine learning
Data analysts bridge the gap between data scientists and business analysts. They are provided with the questions that need answering from an organization and then organize and analyze data to find results that align with high-level business strategy. Data analysts are responsible for translating technical analysis to qualitative action items and effectively communicating their findings to diverse stakeholders.
Skills needed: Programming skills (SAS, R, Python), statistical and mathematical skills, data wrangling, data visualization
Data engineers manage exponential amounts of rapidly changing data. They focus on the development, deployment, management, and optimization of data pipelines and infrastructure to transform and transfer data to data scientists for querying.
Skills needed: Programming languages (Java, Scala), NoSQL databases (MongoDB, Cassandra DB), frameworks (Apache Hadoop)
Data Science Career Outlook and Salary Opportunities
Data science professionals are rewarded for their highly technical skill set with competitive salaries and great job opportunities at big and small companies in most industries. With almost 6,000 open positions listed on Glassdoor, data science professionals with the appropriate experience and education have the opportunity to make their mark in some of the most forward-thinking companies in the world.
Below are the average base salaries for the following positions:
Data analyst: $69,517
Data scientist: $117,212
Senior data scientist: $142,258
Data engineer: $112,493
Gaining specialized skills within the data science field can distinguish data scientists even further. For example, machine learning experts utilize high-level programming skills to create algorithms that continuously gather data and automatically adjust their function to be more effective.