The Heart of Data Science

Steve Barnard

picture of code

While becoming a great data scientist is, and should be, an ongoing endeavor, at its heart beats six core skills:

  1. Dedication to the foundations of the craft
  2. Patience
  3. Communication
  4. Data Engineering
  5. Domain Knowledge
  6. Giving back

Dedication to the foundations of the craft:

If you are able to dedicate yourself to the constant and never-ending improvement of statistics/math, programming, reading, watching/going to conferences, and truly dedicating yourself to the craft (even if you are just beginning) you have the makings of a great data scientist.

Patience:

Along with hard work comes patience. It may take hundreds of iterations, you may break things along the way; as long as you learn something each time, not a single minute is wasted.

Communication:

Be fearless. It’s ok to be wrong. It’s ok to be right. As long as you are clear. Data insights are useless if only you understand them, storytelling is your friend.

Data Engineering:

A true data scientist should at least understand how the data came into the organization and the processes that transformed and loaded it to the database or files being used. You’d be surprised at how many helpful things you can learn from Data Engineering.

Domain Knowledge:

If you aren’t sure how your organization works, then you don’t truly understand the data and it’s much harder to have intuition and communicate. Don’t worry, domain knowledge can be learned, grab a few books on the subject matter, ask co-workers or LinkedIn connections, and in a few months, you should have a better understanding of your domain.

Giving back:

Giving back is huge, sharing your stories, experiences, hardships, and successes are what makes this community so great. So get out there, learn, and share with the world and together we can make the world data-literate!

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