Data science is a growing industry that spans a range of careers. According to recent research by Statista Research Department, the amount of data created and replicated reached a new high in 2020 at 64.2 zettabytes, and is projected to reach 181 zettabytes by 2025. With this level of growth, now is the time to switch careers if you’re not already working in data science.

Read on to learn about the key skills you will need.

Knowledge of analytical tools

A range of analytical tools is used in data science, including SAS, Spark, R, and Hadoop. You will need to know how to use these and have a strong understanding of how they work. You don’t have to be an expert, as this skill can be taught and improved on, especially if you’re technically minded and are curious about the inner workings of technology.

You can also improve your chances of switching careers by taking a data science online masters such as one of the programs available at Baylor University. They offer remote learning with a recognized qualification, making it easier than ever to find the time for learning around your other responsibilities.

Programming ability

Understanding programming languages is also a key skill in data science. It’s another skill that can be learned, but some people find this easier than others. You should have a strong interest in using programming languages such as SQL, C, C++, Java, and Python. These are essential in this career.

For example, Python can be used in data mining or developing algorithms. Data mining is used for gathering information held in a company’s database and using it to gain a deeper understanding of their customer’s shopping habits and more. This information can then be used to improve the products and other aspects of the business according to their needs or habits.

Algorithms perform a similar function, providing predictions and clustering data to turn it into a valuable asset. Both these aspects of data science have changed throughout the years. So, the knowledge you have now may be less relevant in a few years. However, if you understand the concept of programming and have the skills to keep up with the changes, you will be in demand by businesses looking to fill data science roles.

An understanding of business

Working in data science, there is a large focus on improving and understanding the complex nature of data. Much of this is intended to improve the business. So, it helps to have a strong comprehension of how businesses function and their limitations. This can help you shape the data in a way that is useful to businesses, and to avoid suggesting solutions that won’t work for them. Although the data may speak for itself, any business knowledge you have can only contribute positively to the interpretations.

If you own your own business, then data science can be beneficial to you, and help you to gain an advantage over your competitors. One example of this is if you’re working with suppliers and you’re considering making a large wholesale order. If you have access to the relevant data, you can determine the risks involved, such as the losses if you fail to sell the products, the chances of selling most or all of the products based on your audience and access to a potential audience, and much more. Understanding both data and business will help you make a more informed decision, compared to only knowing about one of these.

Excellent communication skills

Communication skills are essential too if you want to work in data science. You’ll rarely be working alone, even when you’re left to get on with your job, other team members will want to hear your input. So, you need to be able to communicate the results from the data and discuss potential problems and solutions.

You may also need to present your findings to others inside of your company, or partners from outside it. This means delivering the information so that laymen can understand it. Now, all these people will have the same understanding of data as you. This is where an understanding of business is useful, combined with your ability to communicate. You will grasp exactly what they need to know, and how to share this information so they see how the business will be improved by what you are suggesting.

This skill can increase your employability in most industries, including data science.


Being able to adapt is a great skill to have in this career. We’ve already mentioned that the technologies used are constantly changing for the better, and so are people’s motivations for using specific businesses. Results from past data may no longer be valid, which is why data science is a long-term and stable career choice.

For example, the reason people may previously have chosen one brand over another could have been because the brand was aligned with their values, such as caring for the environment or supporting a specific charity. During times when money becomes an issue, their choice may change. They may still support these values but need to prioritize price and convenience due to a limited income or because they can no longer afford to travel as far. You could assume this, but the most recent data will confirm whether this is true, or if customers are still open to purchasing the same products and supporting these causes.

Data science seems to be the future and isn’t going anywhere. So, if you have some of the required skills and the mindset to learn the rest, you could have a successful career in this field.