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Data Science for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide

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28th Feb, 2024
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Data Science for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide

Data science is an important part of many industries today. Having worked as a data scientist for several years, I have witnessed the massive amounts of data that are produced. This is what makes data science one of the most debated topics in IT circles. I can say without doubt that its popularity has grown over the years. That is why companies have started implementing data science techniques to grow their business. But does everyone exactly know what data science is? If not, then this blog is for you, where I have gathered all the details related to data science for beginners.

What is Data Science? 

Data science refers to the study of data to extract valuable insights for a particular business. I consider it to be a multidisciplinary approach that combines principles and practices from various fields. It includes statistics, mathematics, artificial intelligence, and computer engineering to analyze large amounts of data. As experienced data analytics professional, I recommend opting for a data science course for beginners to learn more about these fields. I strongly advise going for professional Data Science certifications to learn more about the data analysis process.  

Data analysis further helps data scientists to ask and answer questions like: 

  • What happened? 
  • Why did it happen? 
  • What will happen? 
  • What can be done with the given results? 

Who is a Data Scientist? 

A data scientist is a professional who uses data to understand and explain different phenomena around them. This analysis helps organizations make better decisions. Data scientists also determine the questions their team should be asking. Later, the professionals help figure out how to answer the same questions using data. 

The best data science courses for beginners often highlight how a data scientist doubles up as an analytical professional who can collect, analyze, and interpret data. I like to call these professionals a new breed of analytical data experts who always have the technical skills to solve problems. You can enhance these problem-solving skills by undertaking a course in data science for beginners. As a professional, you will always have the curiosity to explore the problems that need to be solved in data science and analytics. 

Data scientists are part computer scientists, mathematicians, and trend-spotters. The way these scientists manage the IT and business worlds makes them one of the most sought-after and well-paid professionals. 

What Does a Data Scientist Do? 

I find that working as a data scientist can be intellectually challenging yet analytically satisfying. Moreover, enrolling in a data science course for beginners can position you at the forefront of new advances in technology. 

The most important part that I want to highlight is the roles and responsibilities associated with data scientists. Data science course beginners must be familiar with the following tasks that the professionals accomplish regularly: 

  • Develop predictive models for theorizing and forecasting 
  • Find patterns and trends in datasets to gain valuable insights 
  • Create different algorithms and data models to forecast several outcomes 
  • Use machine learning techniques to improve the quality of product offerings or data 
  • Communicate important recommendations to other teams and senior staff 
  • Deploy data tools in data analysis 
  • Ace the game in innovations related to the data science field 
  • Know enough about the specific business to ask pertinent questions and identify all the pain points 
  • Apply computer science and statistics, along with business acumen, to data analysis 
  • Use several tools and techniques for preparing and extracting all kinds of databases, SQL, data mining, and data integration methods 
  • Explain how different results can be used to solve all kinds of business problems 
  • Tell and illustrate stories that convey the meaning of results to decision-makers and stakeholders at every technical understanding level 

Prerequisites for Data Science 

Data science offers several opportunities for tech professionals in every sector. Yet, I feel you do not necessarily need to learn coding or artificial intelligence before enrolling in a course in data science for beginners. Apart from that, having aptitude and solid computer skills is essential. 

Now, let me help you know about the prerequisites that can help you gain a foothold in the field even before you begin with the best online courses for data science for beginners. 

  • Strong Math Skills 

Most data science professionals have a strong background in mathematics. This may be acquired from school. In my experience, data scientists come from innumerable backgrounds. It may be either economics, physics, or even engineering. You can be an expert in data science if you study calculus, algebra, statistics, and probability well. 

  • Knowledge of Object-oriented Programming 

Coding with Java or C can help you if you are new to Python. It plays a crucial role in many data science positions. As a data science professional, I consider Python as one of the easiest “first languages” to learn from a course in data science for beginners. Courses like the Post Graduate Certificate in Data Science & AI from IIITB feature Python and even include it as part of their broader curriculum. 

  • Structured Query Language (SQL) 

Data Scientists and other data professionals need to write queries with SQL. That is why I recommend learning at least the basic SQL skills for any data-centred position with the help of an online data science course for beginners. Fortunately, several data science boot camps cover SQL. However, it is safe for you to have some knowledge about it before you start preparing for a data science program. 

Importance of Data Science 

For me, data science is important because it combines several methods, tools, and technology to extract meaning from data. You can go for the Executive Post Graduate Program in Data Science & Machine Learning from UOM to learn more about these tactics. 

Modern organizations are always inundated with data. It means there is a proliferation of devices that can collect and store information automatically. Online systems and payment portals also capture more data in various fields. The most common examples that I can give here include e-commerce, medicine, and finance. Moreover, elements like text, video audio, and image data are already available in huge quantities.  

A course in data science for beginners describes data transformation as an important element. Earlier, data was compact and was available only in structured format. It could only be processed by business intelligence (BI) tools. However, data science in current times involves faster and more efficient processes. These processes become successful with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) innovations. 

According to me, the required expertise and cross-functional skill set show a strong projected growth for data science. This makes it one of the most important processes for organizational enhancement and increased customer satisfaction. 

How to Start Learning Data Science as a Beginner? 

Knowing just about the best data science courses online for beginners is not enough. 

I have curated some steps to learn data science for beginners in the easiest way possible: 

  • Build a Foundation in Math and Statistics 

Like many other science disciplines, mathematics is fundamental to data science. It provides a strong theoretical foundation in this field, and I think all data scientists need these skills to complete their respective pieces of work. 

Statistics and probability are the most important areas to grasp when learning about data science for beginners. Most of the algorithms and models that all data scientists build are programmatic versions of statistical problem-solving strategies. 

  • Learn Programming with R and Python 

I think it is essential to learn programming languages and skills once you are familiar with mathematical concepts. This enables you to translate mathematical knowledge into scalable computer programs. Python and R are two of the most popular programming languages used in data science, making them a good starting point for aspiring data scientists. 

Both the Python and R programming languages are open-source and free, allowing anyone to learn and program in these languages. 

  • Know About the Databases 

Data scientists must also know how to work with databases as a part of the courses in data science for beginners. This helps them retrieve the data they are working with and store it after processing. 

Structured Query Language (SQL) is among the most popular database query languages, enabling you to store new data, modify records, and create tables and views. Many big data tools also have extensions that support SQL queries 

Is Data Science a Good Career Option? 

For me, data science represents a unique career path with excellent potential for expansion in the future. The sector reflects high demand and attractive salary gains for all aspiring professionals. Organizations and businesses are actively looking for data scientists who can extract incredibly valuable insights from large datasets. 

I have also covered some reasons why you should consider data science as a good career choice. All you must do is follow the data science for beginners’ course to improve your own career: 

  • High Demand: Data science presents many opportunities for potential future employees. This makes it a field with higher demand than other sectors. 
  • Numerous Available Positions: The field of data science is huge. That is why it offers you several options for job positions. There is an ongoing need for more professionals across the industry despite data scientists being in higher demand. 
  • A Well-paid Job: Data science is among the highest-paying fields in present times. According to Glassdoor, a data scientist can earn around ₹12,00000 per year in India. That is why I can say that the job in data science can be rewarding for you. 
  • Flexible Field: Data science has several applications in banking, healthcare, consulting, and e-commerce. This provides opportunities for professionals to work in various areas. 

Data Science Job Roles 

When I first started as a data scientist, I was confused by the different types of data science jobs and their responsibilities. You may also be baffled if you are one of the data science course beginners. 

That is why I have made a list of the different data science job roles that you may be interested in: 

  • Data Analyst: Data analysts are responsible for tasks such as visualization, munging, and processing data. They also conduct queries on databases when necessary. 
  • Data Engineer: Data engineers test scalable Big Data ecosystems for various businesses. It enables other professionals, such as data scientists, to run their algorithms on stable and optimized data systems. 
  • Database Administrator: These professionals are responsible for ensuring the proper functioning of all the databases within a business. They have the authority to grant or revoke access to specific company services. This is usually for employees based on specific requirements. 
  • Data Scientist: These professionals must comprehend the challenges specific to a business. It allows them to provide optimal solutions through data analysis and processing. 
  • Data Architect: A data architect creates a blueprint for data management. This makes it easier to connect databases, which centralize them and secure them through security measures. They also make sure data engineers have the best tools and systems for each specific task. 

Conclusion 

Data science is a field constantly evolving with time. As it matures, specialized technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) or specialized machine learning (ML) algorithms emerge. Consequently, new specialized job roles will also arise with the expansion of the field. That is why I recommend going for a course in data science for beginners if you aspire to be a proficient professional in this field. 

You can complete the initial training first as a beginner and later opt for courses like Doctor of Business Administration in Emerging Technologies from GGU for better understanding. Get in touch with upGrad to learn more about such courses in data science.

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Harish K

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Can a beginner do data science?

It can be hard for you to start from a standing start, but you can learn data science by yourself. You can start by mastering the fundamentals of statistics and mathematics. However, you must also learn to code with Python, R, and SQL. For this, you must enroll in a course in data science for beginners.

2How can I teach myself data science?

You can learn data science on your own with the best online courses for data science for beginners. There is no dearth of specific learning materials on the Internet if you want to work towards a career in this field. That said, self-learning always lacks structure. Moreover, you might not know what important elements you may be missing.

3Can I learn data science in 3 months?

For some professionals, gaining foundational skills in data science might take 3 to 6 months. Whereas achieving a more advanced level of proficiency could take the same professional around 1 to 2 years or longer. The time needed to learn data science often depends on your prior knowledge, the learning format you choose, your goals, and the depth of expertise you aim to achieve.

4Who is eligible for data science?

Aspiring students must have a degree in either science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). It is also one of the minimum requirements for data scientists that any newcomer should possess. This helps them enrol in courses in data science for beginners. They must also have prior knowledge of computer science, mathematics, and statistics.

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