as I am very interested in programming and statistics, Data Science seems like a great career path to me - I like both fields and would like to combine them. Unfortunately, I have studied political science with a non-statistical sounding Master. I focused on statistics in this Master, visiting optional courses and writing a statistical thesis on a rather large dataset.

Since almost all job adds are requiring a degree in informatics, physics or some other techy-field, I am wondering if there is a chance to become a data scientist or if I should drop that idea.

I am lacking knowledge in machine learning, sql and hadoop, while having a rather strong informatics and statistics background.

So can somebody tell me how feasible my goal of becoming a data scientist is?


2 Answers 2


The downvotes are because of the topic, but I'll attempt to answer your question as best I can since it's here.

Data science is a term that is thrown around as loosely as Big Data. Everyone has a rough idea of what they mean by the term, but when you look at the actual work tasks, a data scientist's responsibilities will vary greatly from company to company.

Statistical analysis could encompass the entirety of the workload in one job, and not even be a consideration for another.

I wouldn't chase after a job title per se. If you are interested in the field, network (like you are doing now) and find a good fit. If you are perusing job ads, just look for the ones that stress statistical and informatics backgrounds. Hadoop and SQL are both easy to become familiar with given the time and motivation, but I would stick with the areas you are strongest in and go from there.

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    $\begingroup$ I thinkt that's a good answer, thank you for the hints. I especially like the idea to build up from a better fitting job - I had the impression that I had to know all, which is not the case.+ $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 11:15

I suspect this will get closed since it is very narrow, but my 2 cents...

Data Science requires 3 skills:

  • Math/Stats
  • Programming
  • Domain Knowledge

It can be very hard to show all three. #1 and #2 can be signaled via degrees, but a hiring manager who may not have them doesn't want to trust a liberal arts degree. If you're looking to get into Data Science, position yourself as a domain expert first. Publish election predictions. If you're correct, cite them. That will get you noticed.

If you're Domain knowledge is A+ level, you don't need A+ level programming skills, but learn programming enough so that you don't need someone else to fetch data for you.


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