Data science is an essential part of many industries today, given the massive amounts of data that are produced, and is one of the most debated topics in IT circles. Its popularity has grown over the years, and companies have started implementing data science techniques to grow their business and increase customer satisfaction. In this article, we’ll learn what data science is, and how you can become a data scientist.
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What Is Data Science?
Data science is the domain of study that deals with vast volumes of data using modern tools and techniques to find unseen patterns, derive meaningful information, and make business decisions. Data science uses complex machine learning algorithms to build predictive models.
The data used for analysis can come from many different sources and presented in various formats.
Now that you know what data science is, let’s see why data science is essential to today’s IT landscape.
The Data Science Lifecycle
Now that you know what is data science, next up let us focus on the data science lifecycle. Data science’s lifecycle consists of five distinct stages, each with its own tasks:
- Capture: Data Acquisition, Data Entry, Signal Reception, Data Extraction. This stage involves gathering raw structured and unstructured data.
- Maintain: Data Warehousing, Data Cleansing, Data Staging, Data Processing, Data Architecture. This stage covers taking the raw data and putting it in a form that can be used.
- Process: Data Mining, Clustering/Classification, Data Modeling, Data Summarization. Data scientists take the prepared data and examine its patterns, ranges, and biases to determine how useful it will be in predictive analysis.
- Analyze: Exploratory/Confirmatory, Predictive Analysis, Regression, Text Mining, Qualitative Analysis. Here is the real meat of the lifecycle. This stage involves performing the various analyses on the data.
- Communicate: Data Reporting, Data Visualization, Business Intelligence, Decision Making. In this final step, analysts prepare the analyses in easily readable forms such as charts, graphs, and reports.
Prerequisites for Data Science
Here are some of the technical concepts you should know about before starting to learn what is data science.
1. Machine Learning
Machine learning is the backbone of data science. Data Scientists need to have a solid grasp of ML in addition to basic knowledge of statistics.
Mathematical models enable you to make quick calculations and predictions based on what you already know about the data. Modeling is also a part of Machine Learning and involves identifying which algorithm is the most suitable to solve a given problem and how to train these models.
Statistics are at the core of data science. A sturdy handle on statistics can help you extract more intelligence and obtain more meaningful results.
Some level of programming is required to execute a successful data science project. The most common programming languages are Python, and R. Python is especially popular because it’s easy to learn, and it supports multiple libraries for data science and ML.
A capable data scientist needs to understand how databases work, how to manage them, and how to extract data from them.