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Data scientist

Alternative titles for this job include Data engineer, machine learning engineer, AI data scientist

Data scientists use software, artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyse and interpret large amounts of data.

Average salary (a year)

£30,000 Starter


£70,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm flexibly

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a data scientist

You can get into this job through a:

  • university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards
  • a graduate training scheme


With a relevant degree or postgraduate qualification, you can apply for graduate training schemes in AI and data science. Particularly relevant subjects include:

  • maths
  • statistics
  • computer science
  • data science
  • operational research

Subjects that teach high-level statistics, like physics, engineering or psychology may also be useful.

Graduates of other subjects may still be able to enter AI and data science, for example, by doing a master's conversion course.

People from backgrounds that are under-represented in the profession, may be able to get financial support through a scholarship to do this.

Work experience through internships and year in industry placements will give you an advantage when looking for jobs.

Try to get experience of relevant coding, analysis and data manipulation software packages like:

  • R
  • SQL
  • Python
  • Power BI
  • Excel

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


You may be able to get into this job through a degree apprenticeship.

Relevant apprenticeships include:

  • data scientist integrated degree apprenticeship
  • artificial intelligence (AI) data specialist higher apprenticeship
  • digital and technology solutions specialist degree apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information


It may be possible to start in an entry-level job that involves working with data and work your way up into a data scientist position. You could do this by doing work-based qualifications or teaching yourself through online learning.

You would need to show an interest in solving problems and understanding how businesses work. Knowledge of maths and statistics, and some experience of computer operating systems would also be useful.

Other Routes

Data scientists work in lots of different sectors and often you can transfer the skills you develop between these sectors. You may be able to find trainee roles or graduate schemes with:

  • government departments
  • the NHS and healthcare organisations
  • finance and professional services firms
  • IT companies
  • retail and sales organisations
  • university research departments

More Information

Career tips

Look out for coding bootcamps for people who are under-represented in data science.

You can also find free coding courses through The Skills Toolkit.

Professional and industry bodies

You may find professional development training and networking opportunities with:

Further information

You can find out more about a career as a data scientist from The Royal Statistical Society.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of maths and statistics
  • knowledge of computer operating systems and software packages like R or Python
  • an understanding of how businesses are managed and operated
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could:

  • use data to identify, manage and solve business problems
  • gather and manage data from different sources to create models and test hypotheses
  • manipulate, analyse and visualise data using statistical software
  • produce recommendations and explain them to different audiences
  • build complex mathematical and analytical models using algorithms and machine learning techniques
  • identify and explain how AI and data science can benefit your organisation
  • keep up to date with developments in data science and AI

Working environment

You could work in an office or remotely.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could specialise in a specific area like:

  • artificial intelligence
  • machine learning
  • database management

You could move into a more senior data scientist role or take on responsibility for people or project management.

You could move between different sectors or go into academic research and teaching.

You may be able to work as a freelance consultant.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Digital and Technology Graduate Apprentice

  • Wage: £29,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Unit 7 SEGRO Logistics Park, Derby

Apprentice Data Analyst

  • Wage: £20,000.00 Annually
  • Location: 23 Springfield Lyons Approach, Springfield, Chelmsford

Courses In England

BSc (Hons) in Data Science - The University of Winchester - Data Scientist Degree Apprenticeship

  • Start date: 18 September 2023
  • Location: Winchester

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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