data scientist is a sexy job

What’s the sexiest job of the century?

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It’s a big call to say which job is the sexiest of the 21st century. But that’s exactly what Harvard Business Review has said about a job that didn’t even exist 20 years ago.

What makes a job sexy? A job that is attractive, a job that is in demand. One that commands a high salary. A job that rewards you with new challenges every day. One that lets you solve problems that will impact people’s lives. And perhaps most importantly, a job that you love doing, a job that doesn’t feel like a job at all.

Data and scientist – two words you don’t normally associate with sexy

Data scientists. They’re the new rock stars of the internet. We use what they create every day and we probably don’t know it.

Talking in your phone using Siri? That’s the work of a data scientist. When your phone recognises your face, that’s big data. When you’re shopping online and get recommendations, yep, that’s it, too.

woman talking on phone with Siri data science

What do data scientists do?

Data scientists swim in data to make sense of it. They take enormous chunks of data and play around with it to solve real company problems.

They spot patterns and make creative leaps to find answers. Data scientists are intensely curious. They enjoy the freedom to experiment and explore possibilities. Data scientists generate ideas for new products and new ways of doing things.

What skills do I need I become a data scientist?

Data scientists need a curious mix of computer skills and soft skills. They need to be analytical and creative. Here’s a quick run down of some of the things you need :

  • Ability to write code using a mainstream programming language like Java, Python, R, Perl or C/C++
  • Experience using platforms that help you wield large volumes of data like Hadoop, Pig or Hive
  • Creative skills to present your ideas in ways that are easy for other people to understand
  • A love to experiment and fail, a love of exploring possibilities and ask ‘what if’

To get started, you’ll need a degree in an area like computer science, mathematics, bioinformatics or physics. Look at the data scientist job ads on to see more of what you need. It will point you in the right direction.

Studying now could turn into a rewarding career – commanding salaries of well over $150,000 a year.

Images: iStock

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