Why do I need data science skills?

Put it this way, if you don’t learn to harness the powerful tools of data science, you’ll be cutting yourself off from job opportunities in almost every industry and profession, in countries all over the world.

It’s no coincidence that the role of data scientist has been named among the top five best jobs in the US for the past five years. Below, we take a look at how, why and where you can put your data science skills to good use.

In today’s digital world, you’d struggle to find any business that isn’t using data in some form or other. Companies of all sizes, charities, organisations and governments throughout the world now collect and analyse data about their customers, service users and other stakeholders.

Whether seeking to improve customer service, performance, profit, or all of the above, among the many top companies proactively hiring data scientists are Accenture, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Fidelity Investments, Google and PayPal.

What ‘data’ are we talking about and who uses it?

If you stop to consider the different types of data available – and the insight it can provide – it soon becomes clear that you don’t necessarily have to be a ‘techie’ or work for a tech company to put your data science skills to good use.

Below, we highlight some of the diverse professions where data science skills will help you stand out in a competitive job market, but the possibilities are truly endless.


Big data and analytics can provide online and store-based retailers with insight to keep customers happy and returning for repeated purchases. Data optimisation tools can inform decisions about pricing based on things like transaction history and customer reviews.

Machine learning algorithms, such as time series analysis and real-time monitoring of transactions, can assist in fraud detection, flagging up potential credit card fraud to avoid financial loss.

Augmented reality (AR) through data visualisation can even let customers ‘try before they buy’, using a camera to test the colour of a lipstick on themselves or see how a rug or chair looks in their living room.


From leisure and entertainment, to law, energy, education and the charity sector, organisations everywhere rely on marketing to raise awareness and engage with customers and supporters. To target marketing strategies, for example, they use data from marketing campaigns, including click-through rates, lead generation and point of sale (POS) information.

To understand where potential customers live and work, they draw on a wide range of personal data to identify, for example, demographic characteristics like age, gender, occupation and education level.

Social media and technology data, such as browsing history, email address, use of mobile devices and social media engagement, can pinpoint which channels to use and the best time of day to reach different audiences.

Interested in upskilling in data science? Southampton Data Science Academy offers tutor-led courses that will help you apply what you learn to your work: 

Discover more >

Business administration

To remain competitive, businesses are constantly looking to find ways to increase efficiency while maintaining the quality of their products, goods or services in industries as diverse as aerospace, banking, computing, construction, healthcare, telecommunications, logistics and transport.

Regardless of size – whether a sole trader, a public or private limited company, franchise or multinational – businesses collect business data to inform their business strategy and gain a better understanding of all aspects of their business operations.

This can range from process data, such as the number of days it takes customers to pay invoices or to fulfil orders, to inventory or supply chain data to track stock levels in storage or transport, or availability of raw materials, which might affect production capacity.

Human resources

Human resources (HR) and personnel departments around the world are using data to influence decisions about staff recruitment, employee engagement and to evaluate performance. Predictive analytics can highlight which applicants are the best candidates for a job, while career progression, training, absenteeism and benefits data can improve staff satisfaction and retention.

With increased regulation around data protection and security, it is more important than ever for working in HR to understand exactly what data is stored by their employer and how best to protect it, but the same can be said of any public, private or third sector organisation.

Is it time you improved your data science knowledge?

In just six weeks, studying while you continue to work full-time, you can expand your technical knowledge and increase your confidence working with data, enabling you to leverage greater data insights and improve your workplace performance straight away. If you don’t already work with data, our training could open doors to a new career.

We offer three flexible online short courses: one on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning for business; and two covering the fundamentals in data science, a non-technical and technical version. The latter is tailored to those with a basic understanding of programming and experience with Python or a similar language.

Why not contact one of our course advisers now to find out more?

Topics: data science

Want to know more?

Recent Posts