10 Skills Data Scientist

Top 10 Skills Every Data Scientist Should Have


In this post, we’ll take a look at the top 10 skills for a data scientist. These skills are essential for anyone who wants to pursue a career in data science. From analytical skills to problem-solving abilities, data scientists need to be well-rounded in order to be successful.

Data scientists are in high demand these days, as organizations look to gain insights from the ever-growing flood of data. If you’re looking to get into this exciting field, here are our top 10 skills for a data scientist

1. Probability and Statistics

In data science, probability and statistics are essential tools for understanding and analyzing data. Together, these two disciplines help us make better decisions based on data.

Statistics in Data Science

Data scientists use statistics to understand data, to make predictions, and to understand relationships between variables. Statistics are also used to determine how reliable data is and to understand the variability of data.

Statistics is a must-have skill for data scientists as statistics can be considered as the most impactful tool to understand, interpret, evaluate the data. Statistics are at the heart of refined machine learning algorithms in data science. 

Why is statistics important for data science?

Statistical methods are essential for data science because they allow us to make sense of large data sets and draw meaningful conclusions from them. Without statistics, data would just be a bunch of numbers and we would have no way of understanding it. 

So if you’re interested in data science, it’s important to have a strong foundation in statistics.

Free Resources to Learn More About Statistics


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Probability in Data Science

Probability is a central topic in data science, and it is important to have a strong understanding of it in order to be successful in this field.

Probability is used to study randomness. It deals with the chance (the likelihood) of an event happening. For example, if you throw a dice, what is the probability that you end up with, say number 4, happening.

In general, probability is evaluated as the probability of an event happening equals the number of ways it can happen divided by total number of outcomes. So for getting a number 4 on the dice is 1/6 probability

Why is probability important in data science?

Probability is a critical tool for data scientists. It allows them to build models that can accurately predict the likelihood of certain events occurring. It also allows them to assess the risks associated with certain decisions. 

Probability is also used in machine learning to help determine the best possible outcomes of various actions.

Without a strong understanding of probability, data scientists would be unable to effectively extract insights from data.

Free Resources to Learn More About Probability

2. Calculus and Linear Algebra

Calculus in Data Science

Calculus is a branch of mathematics that deals with the study of change. It is essential for many fields of science, including physics and engineering and is a powerful tool that can be used to model and understand complex phenomena. 

There are two main types of calculus: differential calculus and integral calculus. Differential calculus deals with the rate of change of a quantity, while integral calculus deals with the accumulation of a quantity. Both types of calculus are used to solve problems in many different fields.

Why is calculus important in data science?

In data science, calculus is used to understand how data changes over time. This understanding can be used to make predictions about future events or to understand the behavior of complex systems.

Calculus is a fundamental tool in data science and is used in many different ways. 

  • One common use is to calculate derivatives. Derivatives can be used to understand how a quantity changes in response to a change in another quantity. They can also be used to optimize a function or to find the maximum or minimum value of a function.
  • Calculus can also be used to integrate data. Integration is a way of combining data from different sources. This can be used to, for example, find the area under a curve 

Linear Algebra in Data Science

Linear algebra is a branch of mathematics that deals with the study of linear equations and their representations in various spaces. Linear algebra is a critical tool in many fields, including physics, engineering, and computer science.

How is linear algebra used in data science?

Linear algebra is a component of mathematics that is extremely useful in data science and machine learning, as most machine learning models can be represented in matrix form. 

Linear algebra is 

  • All about working with vectors and matrices, which are used to represent data in many different ways
  • Used in data preprocessing, transformation, and model evaluation.
  • Key component of many machine learning algorithms 
  • Used to develop efficient algorithms for solving various problems

Linear algebra is a critical tool for data science, and it is something that all data scientists should be comfortable with

3. Programming

Computer programming is a critical part of data science. It is used to clean and process data, build models, and create visualizations. 

There are many different programming languages, but some of the most popular ones used in data science include Python, R, and SQL.

Python in Data Science

Python is one of the most popular programming languages. It  is a versatile language that can be used for a wide variety of applications. One of the most popular uses for Python is data science. 

Python is well-suited for data science for a number of reasons:

  • Easy to learn and use, making it a great choice for beginners
  • Large and active community, providing support and resources
  • Wide range of libraries and tools that can be used for data science
  • Versatile language that can be used for both exploratory data analysis and production-ready machine learning models
Python Programming Logo
Free Resources to Learn Python for Data Science

R in Data Science

R programming is a statistical programming language that is commonly used for data analysis and data science. It is used to handle, store and analyse data and can be used for data analysis and statistical modelling. 

The R language is widely used among statisticians and data scientists for developing statistical software and data analysis.

There are many reasons to use R programming for data science 

  • R is a free and open-source programming language that is designed for statistical computing and graphics. 
  • R is also a popular language among data scientists due to its flexibility and the large number of available packages. 
  • R can be used for a wide variety of data science tasks, including data cleaning, data visualization, statistical modeling, and machine learning.
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Free Resources to Learn R for Data Science

SQL in Data Science

SQL (Structured Query Language) is a programming language that is used to manage databases. It can be used to create, update, and delete data from a database. 

SQL is a standard language that is used by many database management systems, such as MySQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server.

SQL is widely used in data science because 

  • It allows you to easily manipulate and query data, making it ideal for exploring and understanding large datasets
  • Easy to learn, even if you don’t have a lot of programming experience
  • Let’s you handle large amounts of data 
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Free Resources to Learn SQL for Data Science

4. Data Visualization

Data visualization is the process of creating visual representations of data. This can be done using a variety of methods, including charts, graphs, and maps. 

Data visualization is used to help people understand data by providing a clear and concise way to see relationships, patterns, and trends.

Data Visualization Example

How is Data Visualizations used in Data Science? 

Data visualization is a key component of data science.

  • It allows data scientists to take complex data sets and turn them into easy-to-understand visuals that can be used to make informed decisions.
  • Data visualization can also help us to find patterns and trends in data that we would otherwise miss.
  • Data visualization can be used for exploratory data analysis, to communicate findings, or to build dashboards and reports.

There are a number of different data visualization tools used in data science. Some of the most popular ones include


Tableau is a powerful data visualization tool that is popular among data scientists. It allows users to create highly-customizable visualizations and reports from data sets. Tableau is easy to use and can be used to create both static and interactive visuals.

Tableau is a great tool for data exploration and for communicating findings to others. It can help data scientists to quickly identify patterns and trends in data sets. Tableau can also be used to create beautiful and presentation-ready visuals.

Example Tableau for Data Visualization

Image credit: SelectHub

Microsoft Power BI 

Microsoft Power BI is a powerful data visualization tool that can be used by data scientists to explore and analyze data. With Power BI, data scientists can create stunning visualizations that can help them understand data better and make better decisions.

Power BI is easy to use and it has a wide range of features that make it ideal for data science.

Example Microsoft Power BI for Data Visualization

Image credit: SelectHub


QlikView is a powerful data visualization tool that can help you see relationships and patterns in your data that you might not otherwise be able to see.

With QlikView, data scientists can quickly and easily create beautiful visualizations that tell a story and help them communicate their findings to others.

QlikView is easy to use and has a wide variety of features that make it perfect for data science.

Example QlikView for Data Visualization

Image credit: SelectHub

Python Libraries: Matplotlib and Seaborn

Python libraries matplotlib and seaborn are two of the most popular tools for data visualization in Python. Both libraries are powerful and offer a range of features. 

Both matplotlib and seaborn are used to create static, 2-dimensional graphs, and they are both excellent tools for visualizing data. Matplotlib is generally used for more basic plots, while seaborn is used for more complex, statistical plots.

Matplotlib Example Data Visualization

Image credit: Mastering Matplotlib by Lawrence Alaso Krukrubo

5. Machine Learning and Deep Learning

Machine learning (ML) is an application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that allows systems to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed for the task. 

Deep learning, on the other hand, is a type of machine learning that uses a deep neural network to model complex patterns in data.

Machine Learning in Data Science

Machine learning is a key tool in data science. Here are some of the reasons why: 

  • Machine learning enables analysis of massive amounts of data
  • It can help us automatically identify patterns in data and make predictions about future events. For example, a machine learning algorithm could be used to predict the price of a stock based on historical data
  • Machine learning enables systems to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed for the task

Free Resources to Learn Machine Learning

Some of the best free resources available online to learn machine learning

Deep Learning in Data Science

Deep learning techniques are becoming more and more popular among data scientist since:

  • Deep learning is a type of machine learning that uses deep neural network to learn from data
  • Deep learning algorithms are able to learn from data that is unstructured, such as images,audio, and text
  • Has been shown to be very effective at solving complex problems. Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that is used to solve complex problems that are difficult to solve using traditional machine learning methods
  • Can be used for supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning.

Deep learning in data science is used to extract features from data, build models, and make predictions

Free Resources to Learn Deep Learning

Some of the best free resources available online to learn deep learning

6. Data Handling and Wrangling

Data is the lifeblood of data science. Without data, there would be no data science. Therefore, it is important to handle data with care. 

Data handling is a critical skill for data scientists. It is important to be able to clean and filter data sets so that they can be used for analysis. 

Data wrangling is the method of cleaning, structuring, and transforming data so that it can be used for analysis. This procedure can be quite time-consuming, but it is essential for ensuring that the data is accurate and usable.

There are a few steps that are typically involved in data wrangling, including:

  • Acquiring data from various sources
  • Cleaning and processing the data
  • Storing the data in a usable format
  • Exploring and manipulating the data

These steps can vary depending on the type and size of the data, but they all play a vital role in the data wrangling process.

7. Database Management

Database management is the process of organizing and storing data in a database. 

Database management is a critical task in any organization that relies on data to make decisions. A well-managed database can provide accurate and up-to-date information that can be used to improve decision-making.

The most popular database management systems are

  • MySQL
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Oracle

​​Database management is a critical part of data science. A data scientist must be able to effectively manage databases in order to ensure that data is accurate and accessible

8. Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application that helps users organize, calculate, and analyze data. It features a variety of built-in functions and formulas that make data analysis easier, and it also supports custom macros and programming for more advanced users

Microsoft Excel Logo

Is Excel Used In Data Science?

Excel is a powerful tool that can be used for more than just simple data entry. In fact, Excel can be a valuable tool for data science. 

It can be used for

  • Data wrangling, which is the process of cleaning and structuring data for analysis. 
  • Data visualization, which is the process of creating visuals to help understand data.
  • Statistical analysis, which is the process of finding trends and patterns in data.

Excel is often used in data science for data cleaning and data manipulation tasks. However, it is not typically used for data analysis or for building data models. 

This is because Excel is not designed for handling large amounts of data or for complex data analysis. For these tasks, you will need to use a more powerful data analysis tool, such as R or Python.

9. DevOps

DevOps is a term that refers to the collaboration between Development and Operations Teams to deliver software faster and more efficiently

It is a culture and set of practices that aim to reduce the time it takes to deliver software by streamlining the software development process. It is also designed to improve the quality of applications and services by automating the testing and deployment process. 

DevOps is a culture that emphasizes collaboration and communication between developers and operations teams. 

DevOps and Data Science: DataDevOps? 

DataDevOps or often just DataOps, is the combination of DevOps and Data Science

DataDevOps helps organizations to better manage the process of developing data-driven applications

  • It helps to automate the tasks involved in data science, including data collection, preprocessing, modeling, and deployment. 
  • It also helps to manage the application development process, including provisioning, testing, and monitoring.

Overall, DataDevOps helps organizations to improve the quality of their data-driven applications and to reduce the time it takes to develop and deploy them.

Free Resources to Learn DevOps

10. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.

With cloud computing, businesses can access these services on demand, which can help to save money and improve efficiency.

Cloud Computing Connected to Devices

How is Cloud Computing used in Data Science?

In order to give data scientists access to the tools they need to manage and process data, data science practices frequently involve the usage of cloud computing tools and services.

Some reasons why cloud computing is used in data science

  • Scalability. This means that organizations can easily add or remove resources as their needs change, without incurring the high costs of maintaining their own physical infrastructure
  • Tools: With cloud computing, a data scientist can access a variety of tools and services that can help them analyze data and make predictions.
  • Flexible, as it allows organizations to access a wide range of resources and services on demand. This means that they can quickly and easily deploy new applications and services, without the need for expensive hardware or software.
  • Secure, as data is typically stored across multiple servers in different physical locations

In short, cloud computing makes data science easier and more powerful.

Which Cloud Computing Platform Is Best For Data Science? 

There are a number of different cloud computing platforms that data scientists can use, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most popular platforms are

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS is the most widely used platform, due in part to its comprehensive set of features and large ecosystem of third-party tools. 

AWS is a cloud-based platform that provides a variety of services for data science activities. These services include storage, computing, and data management

AWS also offers a range of tools and services for data science tasks, such as machine learning and data visualization.

Amazon Web Services Logo Cloud Computing

Microsoft Azure

Azure is a cloud computing platform that offers a wide range of services for data science. Azure offers tools for data ingestion, preprocessing, model training, and deployment. In addition, Azure provides services for data storage, computing, and networking.

Azure is a popular choice for data science due to its scalability, flexibility, and pricing. Azure offers pay-as-you-go pricing, which allows users to only pay for the services they use.

Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing

Google Cloud 

Google Cloud provides a variety of tools for data scientists to use for data analysis, machine learning, and more. It is often used for data science projects because of its flexibility, scalability, and ease of use. 

In addition, Google cloud has a number of features that make it well-suited for data science projects, such as BigQuery, which is a powerful tool for working with large data sets. Google cloud also provides a number of open-source machine learning tools, such as TensorFlow and scikit-learn.

Google Cloud Logo Cloud Computing

IBM Cloud

IBM cloud is used by data scientists for a variety of tasks, from data storage and processing to machine learning and deep learning. 

IBM cloud offers a variety of services that make it an ideal platform for data science, including object storage, data warehouses, data lakes, and more. 

Additionally, IBM cloud can be used to collaborate with other data scientists, share resources, and scale up projects.

IBM Cloud Logo Cloud Computing
Eric J.
Eric J.

Meet Eric, the data "guru" behind Datarundown. When he's not crunching numbers, you can find him running marathons, playing video games, and trying to win the Fantasy Premier League using his predictions model (not going so well).

Eric passionate about helping businesses make sense of their data and turning it into actionable insights. Follow along on Datarundown for all the latest insights and analysis from the data world.