Can You Get a Job in Data Science Without a Degree?

The advent of eCommerce and social media continues to generate massive amounts of business data. Organizations successful in this modern economy leverage data science to glean actionable insights from all this information. It’s created a strong demand for data scientists with the skills and acumen to help companies gain an advantage.  

In short, data scientists enjoy plentiful job opportunities with lucrative salaries and interesting work. If this career path intrigues you, it helps to understand whether you need a college degree. So let’s take a closer look at what it takes to become a data scientist.  

The Wise Company Considers Hiring Data Scientists Without a Degree  

While many data science job listings require at least a Bachelors’s degree or higher, some companies remain open-minded. In fact, DJ Patil, the first Chief Data Scientist of the United States, focuses on skills over education. In 2016, Patil tweeted the following opinion. “Data science doesn’t care about what you majored in or if you even got a degree. It’s what you do with data that matters,” his tweet stated.  

Given that take from arguably the first data scientist, anyone with the right skills can enter this lucrative field. Having a non-technical degree or high school diploma makes little difference, considering the high demand for data scientists. You simply need to learn the right tech skills and combine them with a measure of business acumen. Of course, earning a few related tech certifications helps your chances at an interview and subsequent job offer.  

The Skills and Tools You Need as a Data Scientist  

If you never designed a simple database or wrote a SQL query, immediately learn these skills. They provide the foundational database knowledge critical for success as a data scientist. Using MySQL or a similar database helps you acquire these capabilities.  

Python continues to grow in popularity among programmers because of its suitability for data science applications. Again, if you don’t know Python, learn it as well as some of its libraries used for data analysis. R is another language used for data science, but Python remains easier to learn. Earn a certification or two in this area to build out your résumé.  

Statistics is another critical knowledge area for the data scientist. Leverage your newfound Python skills to learn how to perform statistical analysis of data. Finally, business acumen helps you find those actionable insights within data. Try to focus on a business area where you have some experience. 

Ultimately, getting a data science job without an advanced degree requires the right skills and certifications. Consider volunteering on an open-source or charitable project to gain some experience. Developing your own data science projects also helps. 

Curious about a data science career?

Speak with the recruiters at Technology Partners. As one of the top IT staffing agencies in St. Louis, let us help you follow the right path. Connect with us soon!  

We can help you gain the flexibility you desire in your career. See our current opportunities.

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