If data science was a movie, it would be a blockbuster. It seems that everyone wants to do data science and become a data scientist. But is it for everyone? Can anyone transition into this role seamlessly? Now, as data science is being touted as the job of the future, everyone is interested in pursuing this data skill course. But, there is one aspect of data science that stops everyone in their tracks. Programming. Can someone who does not have a programming background pursue data science? Will it be too hard for them to grasp the concepts and land a job? Can someone with years of experience in sales and marketing or accounting switch to data science without any hiccups?
These are the obvious questions that one is forced to ruminate on. But, decision on data science should be made with more emphasis on objectivity than subjectivity. So, let’s look at data science dispassionately by addressing the elephant is the room. Will a programming background benefit people while learning data science? Yes. People with a programing background will find data science easier compared to those without a technical background. But this advantage will only be during the initial stages of learning. There have been numerous instances where people with no programming background have outperformed those with a programming background in data science. So the bottom-line is that one does not need any programming background to excel in the discipline of data science.
Data scientists must have several diverse skills such as data analysis, interpreting the meaning of data, visually presenting data in readable formats and testing the data with several tools for practical use. The profile of a data scientist includes segregating data, analyzing data, visualizing the data and building predictive models. The rampant creation and propagation of data has led to an increase in the demand for data scientists across the world. So, many candidates are turning to a course in data science with or without any experience in programming. Anyone with an inclination to statistics and a will to learn programming can be successful data scientists. Other skills needed for this discipline are communication and analytical skills, and business acumen. So, to become a data scientist, one must be adept in managing data and presenting a story with that data that gives business insights. Knowledge in programming languages such as R, Julia, Python and SQL will definitely have an advantage while learning data science, but those without any prior knowledge in these skills need not worry as these languages can be learnt alongside data science.
Companies looking to hire data scientist are not looking for their programming skills, but their data skills. So, those with no or little programming background can rest assured that their career in data science will not be limited. But they need to acquire all the data skills that they can get their hands on.