Soft Skills for Data Science Career
Of course, Technical skills are not the only thing a data scientist needs to be successful. Collaborating with colleagues and other departments and presenting key insights to stakeholders is also part of the role, and these tasks require a range of non-technical skills (or soft skills).
Communicating clearly and respectfully is the key to building good working relationships and getting the information you need as efficiently as possible. Whether you’re an aspiring data scientist or already working, make sure to get involved with group projects to start polishing your communication skills.
Thinking objectively and analytically helps data scientists approach problems thoroughly and from every angle before forming opinions and assumptions. This keeps their work accurate and unbiased and helps them to know when they need to dig deeper to find the whole story.
Developing an analytical mindset and critical thinking skills takes time, and the best way to do it is through hands-on practice with data science projects and work.
An important part of data science is framing the right questions, as well as finding the right answers. Data is intricate and expansive, and there are many ways it can tell us what we want to know, so thinking outside of the box can often help a data scientist find a new lead and unearth powerful new insights.
You’ll develop this skill naturally with time and experience, and by listening to colleagues’ and seniors’ experiences.
Working independently is a very valued skill for data scientists. Stakeholders and managers want their data science team to go away and come back with the desired insights without having to be micromanaged.
Teamwork is an important part of data science, and learning to listen to others and utilize their input is an essential skill. Collaboration can increase working efficiency, minimize mistakes, and improve the overall quality of work.
If you’re currently learning data science, finding a team or partner to work on projects with is a great way to get a head start on building your interpersonal skills.
Storytelling is a term used for presenting data and insights to non-technical colleagues in order to persuade them to see the value of your conclusions and act on your suggestions. It’s a skill that blends public speaking, business acumen, and data visualization to create a relevant, clear, and persuasive story.
You can practice this skill independently, by putting together presentations for your personal projects as if you had a group of managers to report to.
Attention to Detail
The conclusions data scientists come to completely depend on the data they’re drawing upon and how they’re looking at it. Having an eye for detail is a crucial skill that helps them approach a problem from all angles, and explore different possibilities in order to uncover the most accurate information.
While you don’t need to go off and earn an advanced degree halfway through your career, the willingness to keep learning is a mark of a valuable data scientist and employee. The fields of data science and machine learning are constantly evolving, and you need to stay up to date and keep learning to stay ahead of the game.
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