How to career change from an IT profession to data science

How to career change from IT to data science

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Everyday more IT professionals are making the switch to an exciting career in data science.

After completing a Data Science Full-time program, Byron upskilled to data science and never looked back. Being a successful IT professional involved with both business and IT projects, Byron was a strong candidate for a data science career change. Byron was looking for something more “interesting than purely IT programming and project management roles” and “could see the supply [and] demand” for skilled professionals in the data science industry.

Following his data science industry certification, Byron found an internship at GoCatch, an Australian company. Three weeks later, Byron was working full time in the industry.

1. Which IT professions can lead to a smoother data science career transition?

Transitioning into a new career can be a daunting prospect but can also be rewarding if the transition is done smoothly and successfully. Some of the IT professions that will make the career switch more seamless include:

  • Software Engineer – generally a strong knowledge of programming languages such as JavaScript, HTML, Python or CSS is acquired with software engineer positions. These skills translate into the work of data scientists.
  • Business Analyst – similarly to data scientists, business analysts are required to solve business problems and facilitate solutions. A solid business acumen is vital.
  • Database Administrator – the storage and organisation of data is an essential skill used in both data science and database administration.

If you are not from one of the above professions, don’t stress! Listed below are the 5 most necessary skills mentioned in job postings for data science according to a 2019 Indeed Prime report:

  1. Machine learning
  2. Python
  3. R
  4. SQL
  5. Hadoop

2. Are skills in IT necessary for a career in data science and analytics?

A background in IT is not a necessity but certainly favourable when making the switch to data science and data analytics.

In addition to having IT experience, companies are looking for data science professionals who possess a data science mindset. With the current ever-evolving landscape of the data science industry, IT professionals are constantly required to upskill and stay educated. A hunger to learn and a curious mind to think outside the box and solve complex business issues are key traits of successful data scientists and analysts.

Founder of Whiteboard, Nick Kolegraff, believes his data science mindset has been an integral aspect of his whole data science career. The constant throughout his career has always been “a drive for consistent unquestionable results”. He also lends the advice to IT professionals making the switch to data science that “you can’t be afraid or done with the idea of continually proving yourself”.

There’s no mistake that lateral thinking is required in the data science industry and having the right mindset can go a long way in progressing your data and IT career wherever it may take you.

Do you have the data science mindset?

3. I already have experience in IT, why should I upskill to data science and analytics?  

Let’s take a quick survey – do you want to:

  • Become more valuable to your company and aid in resolving current business problems?
  • Contribute to making your company more successful?
  • Create greater career prospects and opportunities for employment?
  • Double your current salary?

If you answered yes to the above, then it’s clear why you should upskill to data science and analytics if you already have an IT background.

It’s easy to see why there’s such a demand for skilled data scientists worldwide given the benefits they deliver to organisations. Back in 2012 the Harvard Business Review dubbed data science to be “The sexiest job of the 21st century”. Their claim still holds true today, with the industry experiencing exponential growth since.

Back in 2018 on Indeed’s best jobs in Australia, data scientists ranked at number six with 378% growth over the past 3 years and an average base salary of $113,223.  Upskilling to data science may be the best investment you ever make.

4. What jobs will I be qualified for once upskilling to data science?

Over the past two decades almost every industry has been improved by the emergence of data science, data analytics and the way we use big data. This means that almost every industry is hiring skilled data science professionals.

Let’s take a look at some of the different jobs you can become qualified for with your new certification:

  1. Data Architect – work to design, create, deploy and manage a business’ data architecture.
  2. Data Scientist – find, clean, organise and evaluate an organisation’s data.
  3. Data Engineer – work to make the data readable for data scientists by performing batch or real time processing.
  4. Statistician – concerned with the interpretation, analysis and reporting of information and data for business purposes.
  5. Machine Learning Engineer – delivery of software solutions and creating data funnels.

5. What do the future job prospects look like for a data scientist?  

The job prospects for a data scientist are very positive with a steady growth expected within the industry. Brian Holak from TechTarget admits that the booming demand for data scientists will continue to increase with time. Driven by big data and AI, the demand for data science skills is growing exponentially with the supply of skilled applicants growing at a slower rate. This means that the supply and demand gap for data science professionals is becoming greater. A McKinsey Global Institute report predicted the data scientist supply and demand gap to be as much as 50%.

In Australia, the data science demand is particularly high with the Australian government focusing on cybersecurity. The Australian government implemented a cyber security strategy in 2016 with investments of more than $230 million across five themes of action up until 2020.

Luckily, there are companies educating and empowering passionate IT professionals to close this gap. The Institute of Data provides one of the most efficient ways to becoming a certified data scientist through our industry-focused part time and full time data science & AI training programs.

If you are an aspiring data scientist with a background in IT and a data science mindset, don’t hesitate –  upskill today. To find out more information, speak to a Data Industry Career Consultant by booking a free consultation. It may be the best investment you ever make.


Cyber Security full time and part time training programs also available now.

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