How to Become a Data Scientist

Average salary in Canadian dollars,
Strong job growth expected beyond 2025
15% green-arrow-up
32k+ jobs on LinkedIn
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Shaohua Zhang is the CEO of Toronto-based data and AI training company, WeCloudData. He is a former data science instructor at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), and has held positions as Senior Data Scientist, Head of Technology or Chief Data Officer at Rogers, Blackberry, Kik Interactive and Beam Data. Shaohua holds a Master of Engineering, Internetworking and Master of E-Commerce, Data Mining, both from Dalhousie University.

What do you think is the most valuable resource in the world? For companies that are adapting to a changing digital economy and undergoing deep digital transformations, data has become as good as gold.

In fact, tens of zettabytes of data are being produced every year. To put that into context, 1 zettabyte equals 1 billion gigabytes: It would take literally billions of years to download all that data!

Despite companies generating so much data, there still seems to be a shortage of accessible, valuable and actionable information. This has led to demand for professionals who are able to help businesses store, organize and extract meaningful insights from their data.

And this is where data scientists come in.

Data science is an evolving and in-demand field with enormous growth potential. With its rapid growth, booming job prospects, solid compensation and cutting-edge technologies, the Harvard Business Review once declared it the “sexiest job of the 21st Century.” As more companies realize the benefits of employing data scientists, data science roles are becoming more specialized and abundant.

However, the path to becoming a data scientist is not always as straightforward as more traditional roles. For example, nowadays, you don’t necessarily need a degree. Greater importance is being placed by employers on your skills and experience, so understanding how data science can be used to build better data-driven products will be key to landing a job in this field.

In this guide on how to become a data scientist, we will explore emerging career paths, training and certification opportunities, key data science skills, salaries and more to help aspiring data scientists like you find the straightest possible path to career success.

But first, let’s differentiate between two commonly misunderstood terms in data science.