To be a successful data scientist performing quality work, you obviously need to possess certain qualities and have skills you can use in your daily work routine. Luckily, much like skills and qualities for any other job, you can learn them with time. Here’s which traits you need to have to be a successful data scientist.
#1 Statistical Thinking
First and foremost, a good data scientist needs to be able to think statistically. It’s obvious that a data scientist will need to work with data and statistics all the time which is exactly why you need to be able to think in statistical terms and understand the logic of it all.
In essence, efficiency and happiness at work entirely depend on how well you understand what you are doing. If you don’t know what you should do, you won’t be able to perform your job well which will make you feel unhappy all the time. But to understand your job as a data scientist, you need to get the logic of data science – in other words, to use statistical thinking.
Though it’s important to know the logic of data science (which could be considered the rules or the foundation of data science), you should also be able to adapt to new situations. In a way, adaptability is about creativity, but for data scientists, adaptability is about flexibility.
For example, if you are a data scientist who collaborates with websites that write essays for you to get some statistics about their customers, and you get into a difficult situation, you need to be able to solve the issue. Find a compromise that everyone will be satisfied with that will allow you to continue your research.
Contrary to popular belief, communication is actually the element that many people aren’t very strong in. A lot of the problems companies have stem from poor communication, so it doesn’t matter whether you are interested in data science learning or you sell clothes online – you need to have good communication skills to be successful.
Because data scientists need to work with others to collect data, it’s inevitable that these communication skills will be instrumental in helping you get to success. If you work in a team, you will also need to communicate with your team members properly to complete the research.
Speaking of working in a team, decision-making is another important skill you will need (but it’s also crucial for solo work). As a data scientist, you need to be able to make serious decisions even when you have several acceptable choices.
For example, you might be researching Nigerian news and focusing on particular topics discussed on them. Are you going to look only at TV broadcasts, or will you take into account all mediums? Broadcasts will be easier to examine but using all mediums will give you a fuller picture. What you choose will entirely depend on your own reasoning (unless you have someone else making decisions for you).
Being a data scientist is not an easy job, and some research will require particular durability from your side as it can take years to complete (even if such cases are quite rare). Some specialists can become exhausted doing so much research with their body and mind harmony pretty much non-existent which is exactly why persistence is so important.
Being persistent is about pushing on even when you are tired, uninspired, unmotivated, or simply feeling down. It’s your job, so you need to do it well, and if you can’t do it well, you need to find a way to be persistent by motivating yourself any way you can.
As mentioned above, you might have to work in a team at some point which means you will need to have good communication skills. But another important trait you should remember about in such cases is teamwork.
For instance, if you need to collect reviews of companies from their customers, you will need to work in a team deciding who makes the list of companies, who gets in touch with them, who finds customers, and who collects the data you need for the research.
Data scientists are known for being able to pay a lot of attention to detail as this aspect of their work is essential to the results they get from their research. Being detail-oriented is crucial for being able to find patterns in data, make important decisions, analyze complex information, and so on.
For example, you may be doing research about the time management skills of American students. You will need to make sure to set apart learning and work because students – unlike graduates – will be spending a lot of time on education with many of them working in some capacity.
Just like persistence, patience is one of the most important skills for data scientists. If you aren’t patient, you can end up making rushed decisions, messing up your findings, making stupid mistakes that could have been easily avoided, and so on.
Say, you are researching Nigerian music. You will definitely need to have a lot of patience because music from this country is probably not as popular as music from the UK or the USA which means it will be way harder to find information about the topic.
It may seem like curiosity isn’t a very important skill, but it is actually essential – not just to the job of being a data scientist but to any kind of job. If you aren’t curious about your work even in the slightest, you probably won’t enjoy it.
Likewise, it’s good to be generally curious about anything and everything when you are a data scientist. If you are researching the benefits of yoga, you need to have at least some curiosity about the subject to be able to enjoy the research process.
#10 Technical Prowess
Last but not least, a good data scientist will need to possess technical prowess meaning that you need to know how to use all the necessary programs involved in your job. It’s not just about basic computer skills – you need to have particular knowledge about particular programs.
Data scientists work with large amounts of data that we as humans can’t analyze on our own. Luckily, technology has come a long way and there are special programs used by data scientists to analyze this very data.
All in all, becoming a great data scientist is possible once you start developing these skills and qualities in yourself. The process will be gradual, but all of them will definitely help you become a much better specialist in your field.
About the Writer
Anna likes writing from her university years. When she graduated from the Interpreters Department, she realized that translation was not so interesting, as writing was. She trains her skills now working as a freelance writer on different topics. Always she does her best in the posts and articles.