Top Skills for Data Scientists

Scott H
Scott H
Mar 3 · 3 min read

Over the past few months, I’ve been spending time looking through job boards for data science jobs. One of the first things I always look at in a job listing is the “required skills” section to make sure that I have the skill-set the company is looking for. Alongside my search through job boards, I’m also spending time improving my current data science skills, and studying new ones. I often wonder which skills I should spend the most time working on to give me the best chance at landing a job. These two things made me wonder what skills are most often required in job listings.

After a little bit of research, I found a very relevant blog-post where Aungshuman Zaman did essentially the exact project I had in mind: Scraping glassdoor listings and doing some analysis on the results. His results are very interesting, but there were a few things he didn’t address, so I took his code from GitHub and made a few adjustments. Namely, I added the ability to search multi-word skills (such as machine learning), added the ability to separate by job title (data scientist, data engineer, or data analyst), added to his list of skills, and normalized my counts to show percent of listings instead of total number. Additionally, because I reran the scraping, my job listings are more current than the ones he scraped 6 months ago.

Top 10 Skills for Data Scientists

Above are the top 10 results for “data scientist” listings. I have spent a lot of time recently working on machine learning projects in python, so the fact that “python” and “machine learning” were the top 2 skills made me feel justified in my efforts. I’ve also been spending time working on my familiarity with SQL and Tableau, so seeing those also made me happy. Conversely, I don’t know much about R, but I have come to believe it fills a similar niche to python, so I don’t plan to spend much time on it. Given these results, I do think it would be worth my while to spend some time learning big data techniques such as Hadoop and Spark soon.

Top 10 Skills for Data Engineers

I’m less interested in Data Engineer jobs, but I wanted to see the overlap with Data Science. It seems like if I want to be more competitive in my Data Engineer applications, I really need to learn more about big data.

Top 10 Skills for Data Analysts

I’m also less interested in Data Analyst jobs, but I think the contrast in these skills is interesting. There seem to be far fewer programming requirements of Data Analysts, while skills in GUI-based software, such as Excel, Tableau, and SAS are much more important.

For anyone interested in lesser used skills, or curious about the difference in the three job titles, below is a plot of my full results.

Scott H

Written by

Scott H

Data Scientist in Columbus, OH with a Ph.D. in Physics

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