A generation ago, every child would predictably answer when they were asked about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Most would say, “I want to be a doctor when I grow up.” Some might exclaim, “I want to be a fireman or a police officer.” A few might even declare, “Someday, I will be an astronaut or a scientist.” There is a new job or occupation that might fancy the imagination of children in the years ahead. Many who are in college today have the advantage of studying a relatively new field called Data Science. The pioneer data scientists occupy very vital positions in various disciplines and sectors, including health care and medicine, product development and research, engineering, astronomy, business, and finance, to name a few.
What is a Data Scientist?
A data scientist is an expert in the analysis of large bodies of data and information. Their mastery covers the field of mathematics and computer science, and they have a knack for identifying trends in data and information.
These days, employment background screening involves looking at the computer skills of a job applicant or history in working with the software. Premium is also placed on applicants that have certifications in information technology, coding, or computer engineering. Those with a degree or certification in data science will find opportunities in various industries. Given the ubiquity of computer-based tools across sectors such as business and finance, manufacturing, research, and development, to name a few — careers for data science experts will be thriving for many decades to come.
Their keen eye for data allows them to sort, categorize, and group them into cohesive, organized, and logical sets. Having a solid grasp of statistics, they can interpret patterns and explain their significance. Using data analysis, they can untangle complexities in the information that help policy and decision-makers to select and choose a course of action. Having these abilities make them highly valuable to corporations, governments, schools, and practically every part of society.
Growing Demand for Data Scientists
Industry experts say that the field of data science will be one of the most in-demand professions by the year 2021 and beyond. As early as 2018, the demand for data and information research scientists was already climbing as the market opened at least 5,200 positions for people who possess the proper education and training.
Two years ago, the median annual salary of a data scientist was already $118,370 up to $140,000 depending on the person’s education, training, and experience. Currently, the highest paying field or industry for data scientists is software publishing, followed by research and development jobs related to engineering, life sciences, computer design, as well as careers in the academe.
Impact on Society
Data science professionals will have a profound impact on society as their work intersects with the daily lives of people and just about every job, business, or occupation there is. For example, the scale of use of artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition software will continue exponentially as companies and entire countries look for better ways to manufacture goods, provide public security, and run the national and international economic engine as a whole.
The explosion of data initially required the development of more advanced storage systems, which led to the invention of physical storage drives and devices, and eventually, the development of cloud storage technology. With these storage innovations in place, the next logical step was to use a system for making sense of all the stored data, hence, the recognition for the importance of data science.
The COVID-19 pandemic, as an example, required the participation of many data scientists who tracked the source of the virus, evaluated the spread of the contagion from country to country, and analyzed the data and records related to viral transmission, patient recoveries, mortality, and other data sets associated with the novel coronavirus.
This November, there will be general elections for federal public officials in the U.S., including the Office of the President of the United States of America. This early, it is possible that political parties have already hired many data scientists to analyze surveys and poll results. These specialists will take the pulse and temperature of voters about specific issues and concerns that would affect how they vote.
Leading Us into the Future
Data scientists are also working on information that is outside the planet. They make computations and study patterns of data compiled by astronomers and astronauts during space missions. Perhaps these wizards of numbers and patterns will also unlock the mysteries of the Universe and determine if humanity does have a chance of exploring deeper into space, and maybe find another home planet. This new field of discipline has already produced a significant impact on human society and will continue to do so. Only time can tell if data scientists will also help us find hope for a future in other planets someday.