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7 Skills/Attitudes to Become a Better Data Scientist

7 Skills to Become a Better Data Scientist


Everyone in every profession and aspect of life should strive to become better each day. As the saying goes "the practice makes the master". Here I outline 7 skills/attitudes we can have to become belter data scientists.


1. Cultivate "intellectual curiosity":
Intellectual curiosity is an important pre-disposition for a data scientist. We cultivate and sharpen it by "always wanting to know a bit more about data" when analyzing it.


2. Solid understanding about the business: 
A solid understanding about the business we work on is necessary for a better data analysis. It is a good idea to absorb as much as possible through reading and training.


3. Have good communication skills: 
Data science is all about communicating our analysis, findings and predictions to other people. The ability to write well and succinctly is of great importance in order to make good reports.


4. Know more than one programming language for data analysis: 
It is very handy to know more than one programming language. If we know R, which is a great starting language, it may be good to move on to Python, SAS, Julia or any other. Besides adding skills to our curriculum, it will improve our logic and enable us to work cross platform.


5. Know SQL and relational database: 
SQL has been for years one of the most used programming languages for data analysis. Today most of the data still lies in relational databases. As data scientists often we will have to create new datasets using data from different tables. To know how to query in SQL will become very handy in these moments.


6. Participate in competitions: 
Participating in competitions is a good way to push ourselves to learn something new, to collaborate with different projects and to deal with data other than those we are used to analyze in our day jobs. To have a "pet project" may be useful as well.


7. Stay up to date reading books, blogs, news, journals, MOOCS and listening to podcasts:
There are tons of information out there and having just a little bit of daily contact with some piece of new information is very helpful to stay tuned. A good thing is to sign up for newsfeed or to follow data scientists, blogs and data related profiles through social media.


These are simple ideas about actions that can help us improve in our role as data analysts/scientists. Of course there are more skills that were left out of the list. Feel free to add them in your comments.

Flavio Bossolan is a data analyst and Machine Learning enthusiast. He has experience in data analysis using SQL, SAS, R, Octave and spreadsheets. He has worked with default financial analysis for Basel II requirements and financial loss predictive analysis for one of Brazil´s major private banks. He currently works with data analysis related to clients´ experience at Telefónica. He can be reached at [email protected] or at

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Comment by Flavio Bossolan on July 24, 2015 at 2:13am

Great you liked it Jalem! There are many skills that could be added into the article, but I outlined only the first 7 that I find important. Of course knowing stats, math, programming languages such as Python, R, Mathlab is very important also. There is a nice infographic that describe many skills at

Comment by Jalem Raj Rohit on July 23, 2015 at 8:46pm

That is a wonderful article Flavio. 

Please add more skills and attitude development guides if you can.

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