How Budding Data Scientists And Students Can Leverage Lockdown

With the nationwide lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak, professionals and students have more time on hand than ever before.

“Long days ahead,” said a young data scientist.

With the nationwide lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak, professionals and students have more time on hand than ever before. As the thought of long days lingered, one couldn’t help but wonder how this data scientist could make productive use of his 'long days'.

Today, the professional term ‘data scientists’ is used loosely. There is a situation in which every second technical person calls himself or herself a data scientist, without actually having the skill for it. So, what makes one a data scientist?

A data scientist in the true sense of the term is one who has the ability to: 

Consult: Guide and understand stakeholder expectations through a deep understanding of the domain and an RoI-driven approach.

Solve problems: Structure open-ended questions and utilise a hypothesis-driven approach to achieve the expected results. 

Apply techniques and technology: Understand key techniques and tools like statistics, algorithms and machine learning.

On the ground, data science professionals need to have the technology skills sets to apply: 

Augmented analytics

Natural language processing

Graph analytics

According to Gartner, these skills have the potential to grow 100% annually, along with emerging skills such as:  

Commercial artificial intelligence and machine learning;

Blockchain in data and analytics

The first two requirements of a data scientist, consulting and problem-solving, are more challenging to pick up. However, there are numerous ways young data science professionals and students hone those skills. Reading is a good way to start. Thanks to the internet, there are several articles and books available that can help young data science enthusiasts explore thinking techniques, attain domain knowledge and learn about key business metrics. 

Learning the third essential skill set, techniques and technology, is relatively easier. To tackle this, budding professionals could self-learn online by enrolling for nano-degree programmes. These programmes not only guide young professionals and improve skills, but they also provide a professional experience that is beneficial when seeking work opportunities or freelancing. 

Here are some recommendations:

Become a data engineer

Become a data analyst

Become a data scientist

However, the best way to learn is by undertaking real, hands-on projects. Here’s a suggestion to start with a mini project at home: forecast the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Take up a project to predict potential COVID-19 cases across the globe daily using the real-time data available on the internet and through the media;

Identify misinformation on the internet (maybe just Twitter to begin with) regarding coronavirus by using natural language processing;

Use image recognition to identify crowds or gatherings of more than five or six people to improve the lockdown situation. It will require some effort in collecting data, though.

The point is there is tons of information and online guidance available to assist data science professionals and students to work on such projects and improve their skills.

It is said that every dark cloud has a silver lining. Amidst this coronavirus outbreak, there is an opportunity for all of us to slow down, brush up our skills, learn new things and explore personal development. 

It is a golden prospect for data science professionals and students. Utilise these long days productively and prepare for the future.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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