Data Science Career Guide

As technology continues to progress at exponential rates, more companies across an increasing range of sectors are starting to utilise Big Data to help make business decisions. The insights offered by this data can help identify opportunities, shortcomings, and trends that may be contributors to how a company performs.

Naturally, this growing adoption of Big Data has created an even higher demand for data science specialists, which means a career in data science is more realisable – and rewarding – than ever. But how do you get into a data science career, and what direction should you take? Our guide will walk you through some of your options.

To begin with, a data science qualification will be a fantastic aid for your career. By studying for a data science certificate, you will develop the specialist skills and understanding needed to dissect and interpret data for your place of work. Beyond that, there are a number of additional benefits that a certification brings to the table as well.

A data science certificate adds credibility to your knowledge

Similar to most fields, having recognition of your capabilities from a respected institution can vastly increase your employability in the eyes of recruiters and employers. It clearly communicates that you meet certain professional expectations of a data science specialist, and can effectively integrate within their business.

A certification is proof of your passion and proactivity

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a hiring manager who doesn’t include qualities such as “self-motivated” or “productive” on their list of desirable traits. By making the effort to earn a data science qualification, you send a clear message about your commitment to your work. In a field that’s forever evolving, proving you have the motivation to self-learn is invaluable.

It opens you up to a wide variety of job roles

As we mentioned earlier, a career in data science can see you entering a near-limitless number of sectors. The use of Big Data has never been more mainstream, so whether you want to work in food, finance, or fashion, there will undoubtedly be companies within these segments that are looking to hire.

In essence, a data science certificate helps maximise the chance of landing a job that you genuinely care about. The skill sets you gain can be applied or translated to different industries, corporate cultures, and countries – giving you the flexibility to find work that matches your needs and interests.


There are many different ways to build your data science knowledge - our skills guide will show you how: 

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Now that we’ve covered the scope of this field, let’s explore some specifics and understand how you can build a career in data science. Once you gain your certification, there are multiple roles you can choose from to progress in your career. While they certainly have areas of overlap, it can be useful to understand some of the key difference between them to navigate which path you’d most like to take.

Data Engineer

The role of a Data Engineer typically involves designing, managing, and optimising the data architecture of a project or an organisation. They work with data on a large scale, ensuring it’s collected and processed efficiently, while also being easily accessible – a position which calls for a robust knowledge of several programming languages such as Java and Python.

Data Scientist

A Data Scientist performs high-level market research with the data gathered by a company, tracking hidden trends and other insights. While they’ll also have a broad knowledge of programming languages, Data Scientists heavily rely on their mathematical and statistical expertise to create models and tests that can answer questions posed by key stakeholders.

Data Analyst

A company will look to a Data Analyst to dissect and present data in a way that clearly illustrates any insights – generally through charts and other visualisations. This demands advanced knowledge of Excel in addition to programming experience. The reports created by a Data Analyst help companies understand the business implications of their decisions.


If you want to fast-track your career progression in the field of Data Science, Southampton Data Science Academy’s online courses will give you the expertise needed to excel:

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Topics: become a data scientist

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