The 5 Characteristics of a Successful Data Scientist

Organizations have gotten really, really good at collecting data. Whether they’re innovating new ways to collect customer information or gathering real-time intelligence on how people behave, businesses have unprecedented stores of raw data just sitting at their fingertips.

Which is about as useful as having an unprecedented store of raw lumber. Yes, you could build something amazing, but only if you have someone with the skill and the tools to do it.

In the world of data, that someone is a data scientist. Data scientists create and use algorithms to sort through that raw information, structure it, and then analyze it for useful patterns and trends. They unlock the potential of all that data so that it can be put to good use.

But at Resultant, we’ve seen firsthand that the most successful data scientists aren’t just valuable for their technical know-how. They embody a few other special qualities, as well.

1. Data Scientists Are Curious About People

One way or another, most organizations serve people. Which means data is only useful insofar as it helps them better understand how to help their clients, customers, teams, and anyone else who depends on them.

A good data scientist understands that each piece of information they have is part of a much larger puzzle, one that reveals a truth about human behavior. Having a strong sense of curiosity about the people behind the data is one of the driving forces that leads to success.

2. Data Scientists Can Spot New Trends in the Market

You don’t have to be Nostradamus to get a glimpse of what the future might hold. The answer is there in the data—if you know how to find it.

Successful data scientists know how to analyze customer behavior to see what new patterns might be emerging. By spotting these changes early, they can also help organizations anticipate marketplace changes to take proactive steps to prepare.

In a business environment where data is easy to come by, it’s the trendspotters who have the competitive edge.

3. Data Scientists Help Protect Their Organizations

The principles of data science don’t just apply to the marketplace. They also apply to fields like cybersecurity.

When an organization has hundreds or thousands of users, it can be difficult to spot a single bad actor. Aberrant behavior can easily get lost in the digital noise generated by normal daily traffic, which provides cover for cyberattackers.

A successful data scientist helps keep companies safe by finding ways to identify strange or unusual activity. The same principles of pattern recognition that help so much in the marketplace can also be critically useful to preventing and spotting attacks.

4. Data Scientists Know How to Tell a Good Story

As a data scientist, you may understand what the data means, but does the rest of your organization? Often, the answer is no; they’re simply not well-versed enough in data science to make heads or tails of the information they’ve collected, even after you’ve identified patterns.

That’s why successful data scientists are also great storytellers. They transform raw data into powerful visualizations that can help leaders and stakeholders quickly digest what they’re seeing, within the context of the relevant narrative. In that sense, data scientists are almost like translators, turning the language of data into a story others can understand, too.

5. Data Scientists Can Line Up the Ducks

Organizations might be great at collecting data, but are they great at collecting good data? If not, chances are good that among all the valuable gems there’s an awful lot of incomplete, inaccurate, or duplicate information.

That’s why successful data scientists must know how to get their ducks in a row (so to speak) and sort out the good data from the bad. It’s an essential element for a long and happy career in data science.

We’re looking for a few good data scientists. Explore open positions here



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