I am Bachelors of Engineering in Software Engineering field and having 3 years professional work experience in Oracle ERP/Database related technologies. Now I'm planning to pursue MSc in Data Science. What I need to know that what sort of Mathematics skills should a Data Scientist have? As we had learned numerous subjects like Numerical Analysis, Statistics, Linear Algebra etc.


Firstly, I think this question is both broad and opinion-based, however most people don't think so. I'll explain why:

Data Science is a domain which various very much with the industry it is applied in, so very much application-based.

For example: Someone like me in the growth and customer support segment, I use markov models and reinforcement learning, as customers moves can most likely be modeled as a (stochastic) graph. So, when I look out for hiring someone into my team, I look for graph theory skills, linear algebra (obviously) and statistics.

However, for someone working in the segment where NLP is used, the math needed is different, and so does with every other application of data science.

However, some really very important courses which help someone in the path of a data scientist according to me are:

  1. Linear Algebra
  2. Statistics
  3. Probability theory
  4. Discrete Math
  5. Analytical methodology (Numerical Analysis would be a close to precise name for that)

Some would argue that Information Theory is also very important, however I haven't really used it heavily in my day job, so I don't think it's absolutely necessary.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think if you want to claim answers won't be opinion-based you should probably have stopped after your second sentence rather than gone on with your opinions for your specific case. $\endgroup$ – Spacedman Feb 25 '16 at 16:43
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    $\begingroup$ Data Science is a super-broad field. I'd say that the top 3 in your list are essential, and wouldn't consider hiring someone without them. On the other hand, there are some companies where Data Scientist means Computer Scientist who has specialized in cluster computing (Hadoop, etc), and knows basic statistics. A Data Scientist is going to be good at only a small subset of what Data Science includes. (Statistics, Programming, Consulting, Databases, Scientific Methods, etc.) $\endgroup$ – Wayne Feb 28 '16 at 18:41

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