Data Scientist job description guide

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What is a Data Scientist?

Data Science is an interdisciplinary role working at the intersections of data analysis and statistics, data visualisation, business intelligence, and even machine learning and artificial intelligence.

It is the role of the Data Scientist to extract insights from, and spot trends in, data sets, both traditional and Big Data, and apply them to real world problems, usually within a business context.


What should be included in a Data Scientist job description?

Data Scientists have a broad range of responsibilities. In general, their roles can be understood in a series of steps:

  • Gathering a good set of data for analysis
  • Creating reports and data visualisations
  • Communicating their results and recommendations to the relevant stakeholders and business units

As such, a Data Scientist job description needs to include:

  • Identify opportunities to leverage data insights and drive business solutions
  • Optimise the data collection process
  • Clean, mine, and analyse data
  • Develop models and algorithms
  • Develop and maintain database(s)
  • Create visualisations of data
  • Communicate findings to relevant stakeholders

Typically, Data Scientist roles are split into Types A and B: Type A analyses the data, and B builds models of the data.


What skills and qualifications should a Data Scientist have?

As a highly technical and analytical role, Data Scientists need to have strong numeracy skills, particularly in statistics and data science. And though a tertiary education is not essential, most have qualifications in data science, mathematics/statistics, or computer science.

  • Working with databases, including a good knowledge SQL
  • Working knowledge of relevant programming languages, including Python, R, Java, Javascript, C/C++, MATLAB, Scala, Julia, and SAS
  • Understanding and application of machine learning techniques
  • Advanced statistical knowledge

Soft skills should include:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Presentation skills
  • Business acumen

How much does a Data Scientist earn?

$120,000 - $200,000

A Data Scientist salary is determined typically by the number of years of experience, soft and technical skills, and the scale of responsibilities in the organisation. To find out what a Data Scientist is earning this year, download our complimentary Robert Half Salary Guide.

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