With the rise of Silicon Valley and the advent of a new technological revolution, it was only a matter of time before our world became the utopic, digital world described by decades of science fiction. Unfortunately, the last couple of years have been more dystopian than utopian because of the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing governmental and economic instability.

But they served their purpose, pushing consumers more and more onto digital platforms as it was no longer safe to go outside or do business in person. When the pandemic does finally pass by, the world will be more digitally oriented than it ever was before.

For corporations, this means that they need to make rapid changes to how they do business, switching to online platforms to cash in on the accessibility and the convenience offered by online shopping and learning to read data to adjust their marketing and hook more customers. Hiring a data scientist is quickly becoming a necessity for these companies, and the occupation has since exploded in popularity.

With the time of transition brought on by the pandemic and the ensuing labor shortage, there has never been a time to switch careers. If you’re detail-oriented, looking for an occupation with opportunities across industries, and looking for a job that will only get more viable as time goes on, data science may be the track for you.

Here’s everything you need to know about the data science field and how to enter it if you’re interested.

Black Mirrors: The Prevalence of Data

Part of the reason data science is becoming such a viable career option is that nowadays, more people put their personal information on the internet than ever. Social media sites like Facebook allow customers to post about their preferences and the products they buy, as well as critical demographic information, which companies then collect at an ever-decreasing price.

We live in an era of “Big Data,” as professor Anidaya Sen puts it, and every single piece of information consumers put online from browser history to Instagram posts becomes archived and part of a massive historical dataset that companies can then use to tailor their marketing strategies. While this may be a dystopic-sounding reality for most consumers, for companies, this pool of data represents an invaluable source of information—if they can find someone to dredge it, that is.

Data Dredgers: A $100,000 Profession

Those tireless dredgers are known as data scientists, and their primary responsibility is to sift through copious amounts of data from a variety of sources, recognize the patterns inherent within, and then translate those patterns into practicable models that they can then use to determine the best course of action for their corporation.

If that sounds complex, it’s because it is. Data scientists tend to be people with an eye for detail that can recognize patterns, critical thinking skills that can analyze those patterns and string together a hypothesis, and who can clearly communicate their findings once testing has been done on that hypothesis.

Unlike data analysts, who are typically tasked with using similar methods to answer questions like oracles from Ancient Greece, data scientists are responsible for testing hypotheses and coming up with reliable courses of action.

Corporations tend to rely on the findings of data scientists extensively, as the strenuous testing their results undergo tends to make them highly reliable. As a result, data scientists typically get paid over $100,000 a year, nearly double the rate of data analysts.

Easy Ways to Make the Switch

Fortunately for people looking to make the switch, data science can be an easy profession to enter, provided you’re willing to put in the work. Instead of going back to a four-year university and paying thousands of dollars, you can go through a data science Bootcamp—a flexible, fast program that gives you all the education and qualifications required to hop into a job in a matter of months.

Data science boot camps tend to be intensive programs with options available for every schedule and lifestyle. While all of them cover the basics needed to get certified, there are also options for people looking for more extensive education, meaning the price tends to vary depending on what you’re looking to get out of them. However, generally speaking, these boot camps tend to cost around the price of a semester at a four-year university.

Help Wanted: Apply Within

While the labor shortage has left quite a few businesses across a broad spectrum of industries short-staffed, it has also opened up quite a few opportunities for people looking to switch jobs. If you’re thinking about making the switch to data science or looking to rake in a significant amount of money while jumping into a profession that will only appreciate in value as the years go on, there’s never been a better time.

Guest writers and carefully selected for Career Enlightenment. Thanks for reading!

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