Data Scientist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Data Scientist, or Data Science Professional, is responsible for overseeing the collection, storage and interpretation of data for businesses. Their duties include sifting through data points to create organized categories, comparing data points to current company processes and writing reports outlining business predictions or proposals.

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Data Scientist duties and responsibilities

A Data Scientist’s job is to use data to help businesses make decisions. Here are some common duties and responsibilities of a Data Scientist:

  • Collecting data through means such as analyzing business results or by setting up and managing new studies
  • Transferring data into a new format to make it more appropriate for analysis
  • Creating new, experimental frameworks to collect data
  • Building tools to automate data collection
  • Searching through large data sets for usable information
  • Creating reports and presentations for business uses
  • Correlating similar data to find actionable results
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What does a Data Scientist do?

Data Scientists typically work for corporations across industries to provide them with meaningful insights about how to improve their current business operations. They use their knowledge of coding and other computer programming tactics to automate data collection and storage tasks. Their job is to work closely with company departments to pull data following department decisions or initiatives to weigh their success. They may also be responsible for creating a system for collecting and storing data within company databases.

Data Scientist skills and qualifications

Data Scientists must possess skills in a few key areas, such as:

  • Exceptional technical writing skills
  • Ability to communicate complex data in a simple, actionable way
  • Ability to visualize data in the most effective way possible for a given project or study
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Experience with machine learning and AI
  • Familiarity with data management tools
  • Ability to work independently and with team members from different backgrounds
  • Excellent attention to detail

Data Scientist salary expectations

A Data Scientist makes an average of $124,189 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Data Scientist education and training requirements

Data Scientists need a master’s degree to work. Most applicants will come from backgrounds like computer science, social science, mathematics, statistics or engineering. In some cases, Data Scientists earn a bachelor’s degree in the field they’re interested in, such as marketing or IT, then earn a master’s degree in statistics or a related field. During their master’s programs, students should undergo internships to get practical training and experience. 

Data Scientist experience requirements

Data Scientists can find entry-level work once they get a master’s degree. Employers should seek recent graduates who have completed an internship in a similar field. Senior-level Data Scientists usually need at least five to seven years of experience. Experience in data analysis can serve as a substitute in some cases. 

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Frequently asked questions about Data Scientists


What is the difference between a Data Scientist and a Data Analyst?

Data Scientists and Data Analysts have similar job responsibilities, however, they differ in seniority and the scope of their duties. For example, Data Analysts receive objectives from higher ups to review company data to provide them with information about employee retention, customer service abilities or sales quotas. Further, Data Analysts usually only pull data from company databases to complete their tasks. 

In contrast, Data Scientists take on a more proactive role within a corporation. They pull data from company databases and outside sources to make predictions about company success or other factors. Based on their assessments, they address reoccurring issues or potential business opportunities to upper management. Therefore, they don’t rely on instructions from upper management about what to look for, like Data Analysts do. For this reason, Data Scientists hold more seniority and may communicate with Data Analysts to research certain data figures.


What are the daily duties of a Data Scientist?

On a typical day, a Data Scientist reviews their to-do list and searches internal or external databases for specific data points relating to areas like employee retention or market trends. Throughout the day, they participate in meetings with the data team and upper management officials to discuss their findings and make predictions about company operations based on their data. During downtime, they compile reports and create charts to illustrate their findings.


What qualities make a good Data Scientist?

A good Data Scientist has excellent written and verbal communication, which enables them to write reports and present their findings to upper management regarding topics like. market predictions, financial goals or employee training needs. Further, a good Data Scientist values continued education and makes an effort to obtain certifications in different coding languages and data management software to perform their job duties well. A good Data Scientist also enjoys working as part of a team and communicates with their coworkers to pull data and compile reports.


Who does a Data Scientist report to?

A Data Scientist typically reports to the Director of Data Science or Head of Data Analytics. These individuals delegate tasks to Data Scientists and other data professionals to pull data figures and update company databases. Data Scientists may also report to the Chief Data Officer (CDO) within a corporation.

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