The world today runs on data. From the moment you wake up till you get to bed, there are countless interventions that data makes into the regular course of your lives. In fact, some of them are so intrinsic to the modern lives that we aren’t even aware of. On average, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced and used on a daily basis across the world today.
Be it the alarm that you set on your smartwatch or your “turn off the lights, Alexa” command before you drift off to sleep, data is intertwined in every minute aspect of your life. Shakespeare had quibbled, “Life’s but a walking shadow…” but if we were to find its contemporary counterpart it would be life is but a walking shadow of data. Every new innovation is dependent on data analysis and data applications. This is why a career in data science has emerged as a top favorite among graduates from different academic disciplines.
With such data predominating every facet of our lives, those handling data become crucial to the economic and social progress of the world. It is no surprise therefore that a career in data science has emerged as one of the most lucrative graduate destinations for students from a wide array of disciplines.
What is data science?
In order to conducive understand what data science is let’s take a walk down the memory lane. Remember the days before google docs and hard drives when we’d have to “burn” the files into CDs and floppy disks to share content? From that to the ubiquitous USB drives or even software tools like WeShare, sharing data has evolved immensely down the years. This is basically technology adapting to the larger volumes of data that come to be produced on a regular basis in today’s day and age.
If we go back to the memory spaces of the floppy era or even the microdisks for the initial generation of smartphones, we’d not be able to adequately measure up to the enormous quantity of data that floats around today. Better management, calibration, and application of data is the need of the hour and simply, put the science behind handling data is data science.
Who handles data?
The scope of data has not only increased in terms of the quantity but also its varied usage and complicated applications. Every walk of life calls for use of data, which more appropriately is referred to as “Big Data”. Data science stands at the interception of related fields like statistics, software development, computer science, and math. Therefore, it takes a specialized set of skills to appropriately manage data science.
Data science entails analytics and applications in order to develop tangible business solutions. Hence, in order to be a data scientist, one is expected to don more than one hat. Indeed, those belonging to a technological background, especially computer science or software development have a stronger footing in the field. But, as demonstrated earlier, data science also involves making mathematical decisions, analyzing the market statistics and managing them all for business development. Learn more about the importance of data science.
Thus, there is a huge demand for those with degrees in commerce and management as well. In sum, while there is no prerequisite to qualify as a data scientist, it helps to have a strong knowledge base of either computer science or management, commerce, and related disciplines.
What are the different roles in data science?
Data science is not a monolithic field. Data Science has a diverse career path. It involves different specializations and has numerous sub-categories. Since the very nature of data and its potential applications are so diverse, expertise from different disciplines are necessary to handle different aspects of data science.
It ranges from the software side of things which includes data visualization, machine learning, full-stack development to the optimum storage of data, big data management and the analytical side which encompasses market insights and business intelligence. Data science is the confluence of a variety of field expertise. So you may be from a tech background or have a degree in management or commerce, data science holds some highly interesting prospects for you.
Learn about: Data Scientists Salary in India
Is there a demand for data science in modern markets?
One often comes across the question, why a career in data science? The answer is simple. Data is the future. Businesses today heavily rely on data-driven facts and statistics to make business decisions. In today’s highly competitive world, there is no longer scope of assumptions. So businesses base their decisions on the data that is engineered and analyzed by market experts.
These are then fit into programming structures to enhance the performance of the business with the help of technology. So be it the analytical side of things or the programming side of the execution angle, experts from management, commerce and software domains play a predominant role in making data science integral to almost every industry in the contemporary times. You name an industry or an enterprise, you’ll have the application of data science.
Have you ever wondered, why do big conglomerates like Facebook and Whatsapp allow us, users, to avail of their services for free and yet make such stupendous profits? The answer lies in data science. Social media platforms have emerged as robust repositories of data about customer behavior. This provides insights to companies about their target audience and here again, data scientists ingeniously manipulate the data into end to end solutions which in turn help the businesses in making profitable business decisions.
What role does a professional from a commerce background play in data science?
Data science depends on quantitatively converting the information deduced from the market data to implementable reports and solutions, there is a crucial role that numbers play in data science. Since the mainstay of most commerce degrees combines business and mathematics, the skills of a commerce graduate are precious to data science.
One has to make accurate calculations from the available data to inform one or the other business decisions. Accordingly, a knowledge of algebra, probability, and statistics juxtaposed against a thorough understanding of the markets and profits that a professional with a degree in commerce brings to data science is of vital importance.
What role does a professional from a management background play in data science?
Once the necessary calculations are made, the data is fit into machine learning using different algorithms. The ultimate aim of data science is to apply the data insights into usable business solutions. This is where the relevance of a management professional comes in. In order to implement the outputs of data science, you need to have an understanding of the target.
Data analytics and data storage play a crucial role in this regard. Analyzing the huge datasets into predictive and comprehensive formats that are likely to create opportunities for the businesses is what management professionals are good at and this can prove to be an asset for data science.
What are the career prospects for management and commerce students in data science?
As data keeps getting bigger, the demand for professionals with statistical and analytical skills keeps increasing. Currently, data science lacks both. According to a Mckinsey report, U.S.A faced a shortage of approximately 190000 professionals from a management or commerce background to handle big data. So be it a data architect or a business analyst role, those with a management or commerce degree are likely to lead the pay packages in data science.
If you’re still asking why a career in data science, when you hold commerce or a management degree, remember all the big names starting from Google, Facebook, Apple, Airbnb, PayPal, and many others dedicate 70% of their workforce to data science. So with the right aptitude, the sky is the limit in the domain of data science. Read more about the top companies are hiring data scientists.
If you are curious to learn about data science, check out IIIT-B & upGrad’s PG Diploma in Data Science which is created for working professionals and offers 10+ case studies & projects, practical hands-on workshops, mentorship with industry experts, 1-on-1 with industry mentors, 400+ hours of learning and job assistance with top firms.