Data scientists are curious and analytical professionals who “wrangle” large
datasets and use the patterns and information they find to help companies solve
big problems. They might like thinking in terms of probability and statistics,
and they probably feel most comfortable when they can rely on data and hard
evidence to answer a question. However, that doesn’t mean they always think
in black and white. Data scientists also need to be creative and curious in order
to be able to interpret information when the answer is not always obvious.
You will find data science roles in just about every industry, and for a large
international business like Microsoft, they play a key role in ensuring that
Microsoft’s customers have an excellent experience, however they interact
with the company.
Data scientists analyze large sets of data (facts and statistics), find patterns,
and test hypotheses. They may use machine learning, computer science, and
programming languages like SAS, R, SQL, and Python. At Microsoft, data
scientists help the company understand what their customers want to buy
and how they want to find it. They analyze customer behavior to accurately
predict what new and exciting features similar customers will like. They then
partner with other parts of the company to turn those insights into actionable
next steps for company growth. Data scientists must always use knowledge
of the industry, common sense, and contextual information to determine what
the data is trying to tell them, and the lessons they learn may help companies
to improve strategies and optimize revenue
A data scientist will need at least a bachelor’s degree, and an advanced
degree like a master’s degree or a Ph.D. may make someone more
competitive for this role. A degree in data science, analytics, computer
science, or computer engineering would be beneficial in this position.
To prepare for this career, students should take courses like computer
science, physics, algebra, calculus, and statistics that will allow them to
build analytical and critical-thinking skills. Data scientists will also need to
develop excellent communication skills.