How to Change Career From Data Analyst to Data Scientist?

avcontentteam 05 Feb, 2024
16 min read

People constantly deal with data, and Data Analysts look for more challenging roles after gaining expertise in their domain. Data Scientist is often considered one of the most lucrative career options. Though it requires expansion of skill set, several educational platforms offer insightful knowledge that favors change. Numerous data analysts have successfully taken the switch, and you can be the next!

The following steps will help you contribute to the company’s development and add to your expertise as you embark on your career as a data scientist:

Assessing the Skills Gap

Essential Skills And Knowledge Required For A Data Scientist Role

Data scientists need to experiment with data, so the mindset of developing new ideas and research is crucial. Equally important is the ability to analyze the mistakes from past experiments. Adding to these, the technical skills and knowledge required to carry out the duties things are as follows:

Technical skills:

Analytical Skills:

  • API tools like IBM Watson, OAuth, Microsoft Azure
  • Experimentation and A/B testing
  • Predictive modeling and statistical concepts such as regression, classification, and time series analysis

Domain Knowledge:

  • Postgraduate qualifications such as a Master’s or Ph.D. in computer science, software engineering, or statistics
  • Subject Matter Expertise

Soft Skills:

  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Curiosity and Continuous learning
  • Collaboration

Overlapping Skills Between Data Analysts And Data Scientists

Both data analysts and data scientists have to:

  • Data Manipulation, Processing, and Preparation: Data analysts perform the actions for transforming raw data into a usable format, while scientists are concerned with model training.
  • Automation: The analyst automates the data to streamline repetitive tasks such as processing and report generation. Scientists work to automate feature engineering and model deployment.
  • Analysis: Analysts explore and uncover insights through research, while scientists use statistical analysis for deeper understanding and interpretation.
  • Visualization: The analysts make interesting visualizations of complex data for stakeholders while scientists communicate feature distribution, model performance, and outputs to stakeholders and collaborators.
  • Data Query: Analysts use data queries for specific subset retrieval, filtering, and report generation. The scientists act to extract data for model training and evaluation.
  • Programming: Analysts are not as profoundly familiar with codes as scientists; the former can write code snippets or scripts while the latter write the complete programs for the implementation and execution of machine learning algorithms.
  • Statistical analysis:  Data analysts validate hypotheses and understand relations with statistical analysis while scientists evaluate model performance, check significance and reliability, and interpret results.

Areas Where Additional Skills And Knowledge Are Needed For The Transition

Practical Skills:

  • Ability to design experiments and A/B tests and understand its principles and methodologies for conducting valid and reliable experiments.
  • Working with large datasets
  • Implementation of data pipelines
  • Data storage optimization and retrieval

Technical Skills:

  • Deep understanding and practical application of advanced machine learning algorithms
  • Knowledge of neural networks, hyperparameter tuning, and model optimization

Domain Knowledge:

  • Industry-specific knowledge and understanding of the internal functionality of the industry
  • Formulate data-driven solutions for core domains of the industry
  • Knowledge of business principles, market dynamics, and economics

Soft Skills:

  • Storytelling and communication
  • The project management ability to handle complex projects and multiple stakeholders
  • Will constantly learn and adapt to new technologies
  • Remain competitive and innovative
Specific and Common Skills of Data Analytics and Data Scientist
Source: CompTIA

Bridging the Gap: Skill Development

Exploring Educational Resources And Learning Paths For Acquiring The Necessary Skills

Both offline and online platforms provide numerous quality resources, such as books in pdf format, worksheets for practice, and free access to tools and programming languages. The learning journey becomes relatively more straightforward by joining learning paths and taking certified online courses from quality educators imparting practical knowledge.

Importance Of Acquiring Knowledge Of Programming Languages Like Python Or R

Python serves functionality for data manipulation and analysis through libraries like NumPy and SciPy, useful for preprocessing, wrangling, cleaning, and analysis of data along with exploratory data analysis. It is also the go-to language for machine learning tasks through supporting libraries such as PyTorch and TensorFlow suitable for building data models. Also providing options for data visualization, Python is preferred for web scraping and data collection through its unique and extensive library set.

Significance Of Statistics, Machine Learning, And Data Visualizations Skills

The transition from data analyst to data scientist requires understanding of specific skills. Statistics provides a base for hypothesis testing and experimental design through information on designing experiments and formulating hypotheses. It evaluates the idea by finding the significance and validation of assumptions. Statistical modeling techniques such as regression, survival, and time series analysis are essential for building predictive models. These are significant for understanding factors having a role in specific outcomes.

Machine learning helps data scientists formulate algorithms and models for decision-making and predictability without programming. These algorithms are essential for historical data prediction, which analyzes complex patterns and relationships in data. It also allows image recognition, recommendation systems, customer segmentation, fraud detection, and categorization of new data as per the defined criteria.

Data visualization skills help convey the information in interactive and storytelling format, which is helpful in decision-making and driving action based on depicted data. The data visualization skills include the identification of outliers, trends, and distribution, thus guiding data scientists to deep insights, hypothesis generation, and detection of patterns and anomalies.

Role of online courses, boot camps, and self-study in skill development

  1. Online courses: They provide recorded or sometimes live lectures, quizzes, assignments, and projects. The comprehensive collection of classes helps develop skills based on the learner’s pace. Expert guidance and hands-on practical experience are suitable for upskilling and becoming familiar with real-world trends. 
  2. Boot camps: They are intensive and immersive programs that encourage students’ transition to data science roles in a systemized manner, making them ready for the job. Inculcating job-based skills is similar to company training, which must include live interaction sessions with leaders in a specific field. Direct interaction, mentorship, and career support are often seen in boot camps contributing to better skills and opportunities for networking. 
  3. Self-Study: Self-study is a practical approach requiring self-determination. It involves the self-organization of numerous available notes. However, it comes with a customized learning approach where candidates can formulate their schedules and work based on their strengths and weaknesses. 
Skill development 5-Cycle Model Source
Source: ResearchGate

Gaining Practical Experience

Importance Of Hands-On Experience In Data Science Projects

Hands-on experience is crucial to achieving functionality, updates on current trends, and the ability to work with others in a specific field. The experience familiarizes the candidates with real-world problems, helps them understand data complexity, and allows time and opportunity to explore various techniques.

Ways to Gain Practical Experience

  1. Internships: Regardless of the stipend, internships are a great source as they familiarize the candidates with the field and work. It helps in gaining insights while learning. Analytics Vidhya is hiring data science interns to help them accomplish their dreams.
  2. Academic Research Projects: Working under professors or researchers helps me clarify concepts. It advantages the candidate by exposing them to both theoretical and practical aspects of the knowledge while guiding them through the mentor’s experience.
  3. Freelancing: An experienced and independent individual can go for freelancing, where they learn communication skills, use their expertise in analytics, earn money, and exhibit their work. Analytics Vidhya provides a guide to step forward in this direction. 
  4. Data Science Competitions: This help brings forward candidates’ competitive edge and exposes their ability to work under pressure. Also, working on the innovative bend of mind, candidates must participate in data science competitions.
  5. Hackathons: Hosting numerous Data Science Competitions in Analytics Vidhya’s Data Hack, buckle up to prove your worth. There will be numerous competitions to participate in, along with networking opportunities with leaders of Data Science.

Joining internships, regardless of stipends, is the most appropriate approach to gaining experience. It requires cracking interviews and proving yourself to enter the field. Academic research projects, freelancing, or consulting work must also be looked forward to becoming familiar with real-world trends and requirements in data science. Collaboration, data science competitions, and hackathons provide the right platform for practical experience.

Significance Of Collaborative Projects, Internships, And Industry Certifications

Collaborative projects in data science fill individuals with diverse perspectives and the art of working in a team. It expands the knowledge base and ability to collaborate with other field experts. It exposes the candidates to alternative approaches and creative solutions and adds to the skills of different fields or industries relevant to the job role. The networking opportunities are the most significant benefit.

Due to certificate awards and performance reviews, internships are complete proof of working in the corporate world or field. It helps in professional development through interaction with experts and supervisors enlightening the candidates about possible career paths and opportunities.

Industry certificates are the best way to validate skills and knowledge base. It helps in closing the skill gaps and gaining recognition by employers. It also increases networking and knowledge through ongoing industry learning and renewal programs.

Leveraging Transferable Skills

Identify The Transferable Skills From A Data Analyst Role To A Data Scientist Role

There are overlapping skills expected in the data scientist role that can be transferred when transitioning to a data scientist position. They are data manipulation, preprocessing, transformation, and cleaning. The ability to analyze, visualize and interpret data can be transitioned too.

Relevance of Skills like Data Cleaning, Data Exploration, and Problem-Solving

  1. Data cleaning: It is required to adhere to the high data quality achieved by removing incomplete mess and errors. It serves as a foundation for analysis and modeling. Data cleaning is also crucial for gaining deep insights into the data and is responsible for the trustworthiness and representation of the information. It helps in minimizing the risk of flawed decisions and incorrect conclusions. 
  2. Data exploration: It is required for clear data understanding, pattern identification, insights, and derivation of relationships. It familiarizes them with the structure and variables of datasets. Data exploration also aids in the title of features that impact the target variable and analyzes data relationships with variables. It also contributes to data visualization by uncovering anomalies, outliers, and trends in data. 
  3. Problem-Solving: Data scientists deal with repeated multiple experiments where the most important thing is to analyze the problem leading to discrepancies in results. The essential skills guiding them to solutions are analytical approach and problem-solving skills. It is also helpful in dealing with industry-based challenges. 

Importance Of Effective Communication And Storytelling In Data Science

These non-technical skills of data scientists are essential to connect with stakeholders. Data scientists also handle teams of juniors where the insights or interpretations coupled with decisions must be communicated. The clarity in how, why, when, and where helps understand and builds trust in the process and leader.

Storytelling with analogs helps in understandability and makes the conversations exciting and fruitful for the involved parties. It also involves effectively using data visualization skills emphasizing patterns, trends, outliers, and other such data. Communication and storytelling derive the influence of data scientists on communicating parties through transparency over limitations, advantages, and ethical considerations, which indicates responsibility and righteousness toward the work.

Building a Professional Network

Benefits Of Networking In The Data Science Community

Data scientists need to focus on networking as it benefits through:

  1. Continuous Learning: The different people in the industry hold distinct expertise while working on their projects. Communication with them enlightens one about the current trends and technologies.
  2. Innovation: The working knowledge of interdisciplinary fields contributes innovative ideas to cutting-edge research. People from different fields can work together to solve existing loopholes and increase their areas of expertise.
  3. Resources: Gaining familiarity with different domains increases opportunities. One can also utilize other software and databases creatively for their functionality while gaining resources through communication. It effortlessly benefits the workability of individuals while saving time.
  4. Guidance: Connecting with experts, mentors, and professionals is one of the best methods for direction in career choices, work, and technical challenges. It also exposes individuals to various experiences, challenges, and opportunities, paving paths for professional development.
  5. Widen Perspective: Learning the works, methodologies, and methods to tackle different projects widen the perspective arising innovation.

Explore Networking Opportunities Through Industry Events, Conferences, And Online Communities

Owing to the numerous benefits of networking in data science, multiple methods exist to increase connections. The industry events and conferences invite numerous field-based personalities and experts, including professionals, researchers, industrialists, practitioners, and educators.

The tech conferences, meetups, and user groups focusing discussions on data science, AI summits, and world conferences are good sources, regardless of the online or offline mode.

Online communities allow global connectivity from the comfort of home. Bridging the gap between time zones, these are a good source of collaboration with expert individuals in the field.

Further, online communities also include hackathons, open-source projects, online courses, and webinars that help actively engage the community and share knowledge and skills.

Showcasing Your Skills

Importance Of Creating A Solid Data Science Portfolio

A solid data science portfolio is an excellent way to showcase the technical skills and expertise gained through different opportunities such as internships, employment, research, projects, or other methods. Exhibiting the courses, educational qualifications, practical application of knowledge, and references serve as an identity and spokesperson of an individual. Providing the mode to stand out from the crowd, the data science portfolio serves as an exhibitor of the success or failure of tasks, providing the candidate with an opportunity to explain their valuable learnings from them.

Explore Ways To Showcase Your Skills Through Projects, GitHub Repositories, And Online Platforms

These three serve as great sources to showcase skills and share the works. To share the skills through data science projects, select the relevant tasks that fit your career goals and highlight the gained expertise. Ensure a clear definition of the problem statement for clarity and a logic-based choice of the approach used to overcome the challenges. It includes methodologies, algorithms, techniques, and using different tools. The project documentation must be clarified by incorporating flowcharts, graphs, and pictures per the requirement. Have proper indexing for more straightforward navigation and precisely communicate what is required and intended directly. Project the impact and results with efficiency while avoiding fake and error-based consequences.

Create the GitHub repository to display the data science projects exhibited in an organized manner. Add the readme file in each warehouse and summarize the projects comprising objectives, methodologies, key findings, visualization, results, and any other relevant detail, if present. Use the version control feature to find the changes and collaboration with other individuals in the field. Ensure adding credits to the collaborators. You can also add the links to projects created on Jupyter Notebooks in the Readme file on GitHub for better interaction and visibility of work.

You can also showcase your works on online platforms such as blogs, portfolios, communities, and Kaggle. Platforms like Medium allows data science blogs or finding other relevant online portfolios for expressing your contribution to the field. Leverage the power of data science communities like Reddit, DataCamp community, or Data Science Central for sharing, discussion, and feedback from others. Use LinkedIn to showcase your works or participate in Kaggle competitions for engagements and seminars.

GitHub Repository
Source: GitHub Docs

Highlight The Significance Of Demonstrating The Impact Of Your Work Through Case Studies And Data Storytelling

The demonstration through case studies and storytelling helps to communicate the value and relevance of data science to a broad audience, irrespective of technical knowledge. It helps increase familiarity with the topic, understand the impact of problems on different audiences, and develop innovative solutions benefiting humanity. It helps professionally by adding value and impact to portfolio and profile while applying gained skills in data science.

Data storytelling enhances communication skills by simplifying complex problems and making connectivity interactive. It contributes to higher engagement, further easing and introducing problem-solving, the immensely valued approach. It aids in connectivity and relatability with the listeners, leading to successful sessions.

Navigating the Job Market

Insights Into The Data Science Job Market And Its Requirements

Data science jobs are rapidly increasing, and its market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 26.9% from 2020 to 2027. In 2024, the market size is estimated to be about 70.376 USD Bn. Besides increasing demand, you must also consider the growing application of the field in different industries, which helps to find a job as per the candidate’s interest and specialization. The list includes technology, e-commerce, finance, healthcare, and marketing.

The technical skills are crucial to gain the role, which involves programming, statistical analysis, and proficiency in tools such as PyTorch, scikit-learn, and TensorFlow. Domain knowledge, a good grasp of mathematics and statistics, communication and visualization, advanced degrees or specialization, and practical experience are prerequisites for setting a firm foot in the data science market.

Figure depicting market size for Data Science platforms
Source: Grand View Research

Strategies For Tailoring Your Resume And Cover Letter For Data Science Roles

Your resume and cover letter speak on your behalf and are the primary deciding factor in judging your suitability for the role.

  1. Research the Job Requirements: The foremost thing is to thoroughly understand the job description to identify skills, responsibilities, and qualifications necessary for the role, type of programming languages, tools, industry knowledge, and algorithm. Find if you are the right fit for the position and possess the exact qualifications significant there.
  2. Highlight Relevant Technical Skills: Showcase your relevant technical skills in your resume. Adding education, extra certifications in courses or programming languages, and job role keywords will help select company resumes.
  3. Showcase Data Science Projects: Add a distinct project section mentioning detailed information on the works or your contribution. Ensure to state the quantity or impact of the result on the company in terms of increase in revenue, savings, accuracy improvements, or other such data.
  4. Demonstrate Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills: Exhibit a section stating skills. Enlist your soft skills, such as analytical and problem-solving skills. Relate the same with examples in a crisp manner.
  5. Tailor your Cover Letter: Focusing on a cover letter, perform detailed company research before beginning the writing. Highlight the technical skills necessary for that role and list your unique qualities or abilities to impress the recruiter.
  6. Quantify Achievements and Impact: Mention the achievements on your resume. State the quantitative effect of your accomplishments and the impact caused due to the same. Use numbers or ratings to display the same and the most direct effect it had on the company.
  7. Proofread and Edit: Ensure to proofread the resume and cover letter. Look for grammatical or spelling errors in the company or person’s name. Validate the described qualities or characteristics that match the job role and company. Edit in case of requirement for any changes.

Explore Job Search Platforms, Professional Networks, And Recruitment Agencies For Data Science Job Opportunities

Finding a job is comparatively more straightforward with numerous online platforms. Quality job search platforms include LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and Dice. These platforms provide regular updates on different job roles among multiple companies. The platforms offer job alerts to one’s preference for direct updates.

Professional networks and communities provide mentors and connections, providing the right opportunity and guidance to find a suitable role. The communities are available on professional networks such as LinkedIn groups and Kaggle. Connections and personal networking are also possible at meetups and conferences. Recruitment agencies also help in finding the right job roles. Common examples of such agencies include AlmaBetter, Hirist, Harnham, and Korn Ferry.

Job Search Platforms
Source: FactoHR

Why Are Companies Hiring More Data Scientists?

There are multiple reasons leading to the increased hiring of data scientists. It includes excessive data generation and holding confidential information significant for the company’s growth. Processing and interpreting the same is possible by data scientists only. These guide the company to data-driven decision-making, helping make more informed, evidence-based decisions and improving efficiency.

Moreover, data scientists leverage the data to better understand customers’ behavior by understanding their preferences, behaviors, and experiences. Further, data is helpful for risk management and fraud detection to increase operational efficiency and cost reduction.

Increase in opening for the role of Data Scientists
Source: Interview Query

Upskilling and Continuous Learning

Importance Of Ongoing Learning And Upskilling In The Field Of Data Science

The ongoing learning and upskilling exhibit the candidate’s updated knowledge of current requirements and ability to keep up with clients’ new demands. It is also essential to be on pace with technological advancements where software and programming languages are updated regularly. Besides core data science, the industry-specific landscape constantly evolves, requiring new analytical approaches to the problems. The regular recent frauds and unethical actions also lead to updating data ethics and privacy guidelines, which must be followed by every individual involved in data handling.

Staying updated through the abovementioned methods helps to inculcate efficient problem-solving skills and develop innovation and creativity. It helps to adapt to the industry’s needs and improve performance through the availability of new functionalities.

Success Stories and Advice

Multiple candidates successfully transitioned their careers to Data Science. Success is not limited to the right and deserving income; instead, it expands into career development, happiness, mental peace, satisfaction with their career choice, and proper use of their abilities.

  • Learning and acting as a data scientist from a petroleum engineer wasn’t easy. The love of mathematics and the opportunity for candidates to deal with data pushed Jaiyesh Chahar to change the direction of his career. Having initial knowledge of Data science from his field of job, he took action to learn coding and statistics. Finding a job as a fresher in a new area posed a challenge; however, industry-specific knowledge came to his rescue, helping him land a job with exciting projects. 
  • Holding experience in Software Test Engineering and Quality Assurance, Bindhya Rajendran has worked on real-time data and maintains industry-specific knowledge in equipment manufacturing. She was introduced to analytics through her compulsory training module, where the promising aspects of the field captivated her interest. Taking steps in the right direction, with accurate situation-specific guidance from the founder of Analytics Vidhya, she aced her career choice and is currently working at BOSCH in a Data Analytics specialist position. 

Summarizing the stories of every individual, we conclude following advice to candidates interested in transitioning to Data Science:

  • Begin the transition from Data Analyst to Data Scientist by understanding the data science path. Read blogs, books, and online resources to introduce yourself to the field.
  • Make a table specifying your skills and knowledge and the required ones for transition. Select the relevant ones to learn and choose the preferred courses from Analytics Vidhya. Find the system suitable for your timeline. It includes learning Python, R, Apache Spark, SQL, and Data Visualization tools: Tableau and others.
  • Familiarize yourself with Machine Learning algorithms such as regression models, decision trees, support vector machines, and gradient boosting. Gain experience by working on projects under your professors or mentors or through internships. Else, be creative and start a project yourself for learning.
  • Strictly work to expand your network, make connections, and remain in touch with people in your field. Actively look out for opportunities to participate in concerned events. Build an online portfolio.
  • When you feel satisfied with your learning and experiences and gain enough substantial certifications to prove your caliber, begin the hunt for jobs. You must focus on justifying yourself in the resume and cover letter.

Courses to Take to Become a Data Scientist

Concerning the importance of constant upskilling or transitioning your career from Data Analyst to Data Science, Analytics Vidhya has covered you in every situation. We offer multiple courses concerning the same:

  • A Comprehensive Learning Path to Become a Data ScientistIt is a beginner-friendly course with an orderly list of resources and course contents. It comprises assignments for testing and serves the prime purpose of upskilling oneself. 
  • Data Science Career Conclave – Transition to Data ScienceIt is the right course if you are confused about transitioning into a data science career. It covers essential topics such as different roles and the most suitable for you, panel discussion, methods to build digital profiles, and how to meet the requirements of hiring managers. 
  • Data Science Immersive BootcampIt is a job-guaranteed training program with a record of 100% placement of batches. It has also led to a 250% salary hike and guides you to interview preparation coupled with flexible learning. 


Data Scientist is an intriguing, rewarding, and fascinating profession with constantly evolving requirements of talented and skilled individuals. The ability to work on complex data problems with an analytical and problem-solving mindset and practical approach helps one reach the top in the long run.

Regular upskilling is a crucial factor that helps in one’s professional development. Analytics Vidhya brings you numerous courses regardless of your experience level. Helping you reach your dreams and achieve your goals, we are the helping hands leading you at the peak of your career.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the key difference between Data Analyst and Data Scientist?

A. Data Analyst deals with the analysis and interpretation of data. At the same time, Data Science uses statistical modeling programming techniques and machine learning approaches for data-driven decision-making and other such tasks.

Q2. What kind of projects will ease my transition from Data Analyst to Data Science?

A. Projects involving clustering analysis, natural language processing, predictive modeling, or recommendation systems are significant enough to enlighten one with complex data problems using advanced techniques.

Q3. Do I need to leave my current job during the learning phase?

A. The decision will be based on your situation. If you wish to work on both job and learning, Analytics Vidhya helps you by providing online Boot camps and different free courses suitable to be learned at a candidate’s pace. Time management is the key to ace in both fields simultaneously.

Q4. Should I expect salary growth in the transition to Data Science?

A. Data scientists possess more skills and techniques than Data analysts, earning more than the latter. However, experience level and applicability of skills play a crucial role in deciding one’s salary.

avcontentteam 05 Feb, 2024

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