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:
- 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:
- Power BI
You'll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
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
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
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.
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
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:
You can find out more about a career as a data scientist from The Royal Statistical Society.