Data Scientist

Data science is a progressive, exciting and relatively undersubscribed career pathway. With the arrival of ‘big data’ there is a growing need for data scientists. You can work across multiple sectors from finance and e-commerce to retail, medicine or transport.

What does a data scientist do?

A data scientist‘s job is to use tools and methods from statistics and machine learning to piece together relevant data, building models and algorithms to create insight into big data for companies.

Employers are looking for specialised knowledge and an in-depth understanding of programming languages used in big data such as Java, C# and Python that will be required for even junior level positions. There has been an increase in the use of big databases such as Hadoop and MongoDB.

Take a look at our profile of Ben Houghton to learn more.

What qualifications do I need?

Data scientists typically have a background in mathematics, statistics or other numerate subjects such as computer science or engineering and have an understanding of computer programming and programming languages.

Almost all positions require a high-level BSc degree, that is relevant but not necessarily computer science based.

For a postgraduate qualification, a range of universities offer Master’s degrees in topics such as MSc Data Science and Analytics, MSc Business Analytics or MSc Big Data Technologies

The ONS sometimes offer Data Analyst Apprenticeships, with strong mathematics GCSE/A-level.

How do I find a job as a data scientist?

You can search for jobs across multiple industries at

These job search tools are specifically for data science jobs:

What are the career prospects of a data scientist?

Progress will depend on your ability to develop and adapt your skills to analyse data sets, as well as your commitment to the organisation or industry. Taking on a senior role usually requires management of junior data scientists and can take between 2-5 years depending on your skillset.

There are also options to work for start-up companies and join projects that are outsourced by larger organisations.