International economic and financial hubs like Kuala Lumpur have banks, investment companies and industrial companies that produce lots of data. Even small businesses and startups these days are producing lots of data from their businesses and everyday processes.
The good news is, when there is data, there is always a need for data scientists. Do a quick search on job marketplaces such as JobStreet or Recruit.net and you’ll find lots of companies who needs data scientists and analysts.
And if Malaysia isn’t enough for you, you’ll be happy to find that there are plenty of data scientist jobs in Singapore as well. A search on Indeed.Com.Sg
Ask yourself these questions if being a data scientist is for you
A good data scientist or analysts would need to possess some technical and business skill. The best data scientists are usually those who are all rounded and have few skillsets.
Here are the questions to ask yourself:
1 – Do you like to solve logical problems and work with numbers?
If you are someone who gets excited when it comes to solving logical puzzles and numbers, you’ll have the basic trait of a data scientist.
Ask yourself if you have the habit of making guess estimates as part of your work-life. For example, you found yourself guessing the time it takes for you to get to work via different routes or perhaps you found it interesting to estimate the number of cars that passes by a petrol station in your neighborhood.
2 – Do you find yourself challenging assumptions made by people or businesses?
A huge trait of a data scientist is to back every proof and findings with data.
A company can claim that they make most of their sales through running billboard advertisements around the country. However, that alone is a mere assumption. A great data scientist would have stopped the person right there and ask ‘why’? Why did the company assume that most of their sales came from billboard advertisements? Are there data to back up this assumption?
With properly backed data, data scientists can help a business propel in many different ways. In the example above, data scientists can help the business to determine which advertising channel works better. In many other cases, a data scientist would primarily be able to mine, analyze and use data to give the business a competitive edge
3 – Do you like statistics and is willing to dig into programming?
Data science is a vast field and there are many fields you can choose to specialize in. Machine learning is a field that requires mathematics and statistics skills while a technical role in Big Data would require more programming skills.
However, with that said, you will still need a good foundation in both the branches. It could begin to sound like a long journey, but mastering both the skills and getting a working knowledge of both the two fields will put you on towards a great career potential.
If you find yourself constantly curious about statistics or always attending programming courses & workshops, this might be a great indicator that being a data scientist will be a good fit for you.
4 – Do you have good communication skills?
As a data scientist, you don’t work alone. In fact, the career requires you to collaborate with other people from different backgrounds and skill sets.
A good data scientist would be able to decipher and turn technical data into a visualization that is easily understood by non-technical people. The same way a doctor speaks to a plumber, both speaks English, but both of them would have difficulties understanding each other if they start using their own industry’s technical terms. Good communication skills would be essential for any type of data scientist or business analyst.
Companies often seek data scientists and business analysts who have strong communication skills and business acumen.
So if you have good communication skills, that means you’re only one step closer to being a good data scientist.
5 – Can you work hard?
A final question to ask yourself. Are you willing to work hard?
The reality is data science is hard. But with everything that is hard, it also means its worth doing.
For some people, the data science subject can seem rather hard as it requires interdisciplinary – a broad set of skills. Some people tend to struggle when doing something outside of a skill area that they are specialized in. In summary, the skills you’ll need involves programming skills, math & statistics and also communication skills.
I’m not going to lie to you that data science is easy. You will require some effort to learn data science and then work on real life data science experiments to be a great data scientist. What I can promise, though, is that data science is huge and its demand is only growing, not only internationally but in Malaysia itself.
What is the typical pay of a data scientist in Malaysia?
Looking at the market rate many Malaysian companies are offering, the typical pay of a junior data analysts range from RM5000 to RM8000 per month. The pay grade is higher when it comes to experienced data scientists. Then again, this comes down to the value you can bring towards a company that is willing to hire you.
If you’re new, work up your portfolio by helping your local startups with data mining and analysis. One best way to work your way up to be an experienced data scientist would be to work on real life data analysis.
Where do you go from here?
Ready to learn data science and start a data science career? The best way to start is to understand data and to understand the role of a data scientist. Without understanding the field, you won’t have a good idea about how the whole industry work.
You can also join the ‘Introduction to Big Data’ course for free or stay notified for classes that I constantly teach in. Otherwise, here are some brilliant TEDx videos that focus on big data and data science.
It will also help to get a data science certification and use it as a leverage to get accepted in job offers. What are some questions that I’ve missed out in this post? Let me know in the comment section below as I’d love to learn from you as well.