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Post-graduate qualifications wanted for 45% of data scientist roles

Nearly half of all roles advertising for data scientists list a post-graduate qualification as one of the preferences for applicants

A post-graduate qualification was listed as a preference for 45% of advertised data scientist roles, according to research.

A study by job search website Joblift has found many of the 8,672 data scientist vacancies posted over the past 12 months require some kind of post-graduate study, with 849 of the adverts from the past year requiring a PhD-level qualification, and 1,342 wanting candidates to have a Master’s degree.

Technical skills are also high on the agenda for firms in search of data scientist candidates, with programming knowledge appearing in 83% of data scientist job adverts as a requirement.

Out of these, Python was the most requested programming language for candidates to have, while knowledge of SAS and dealing with unstructured data were important hard skills in demand.

Many believe there is a disconnect between education providers and the technology industry, leaving many graduates unemployed after university because they do not have the skills roles call for, yet many firms are unwilling to train new recruits to match the company needs.

Having previous work experience was mentioned as a requirement for 5,537 of the total 8,672 data science roles posted over the past year.

Soft skills are also becoming increasingly important for technology roles, as automation and the need for team work are seeing more creative roles flood in to the sector.  

Lukas Erlebach, CEO of Joblift, said soft skills that compliment technical skills are becoming “vital” to a career as a data scientist.

“Employers are looking to hire highly qualified individuals, who are fluent in programming languages and often educated to PhD level. However, our analysis also throws light onto the importance of the more ‘human’ soft skills,” he said. 

“Being a good communicator, for example, is requested in almost 20% of job ads, proving that these qualities are vital tools to secure a lucrative data scientist position.”

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Communication skills were the most desired for data science candidates, alongside having an analytical mindset, being passionate, dedicated and confident – but none of these skills were as high up on employer’s lists as the more technical skills.

Tech sector roles advertised in 2017 grew in comparison to the previous year, with data scientists reaching top billing in the wake of rising digital transformation.

London saw the highest concentration of data scientist vacancies, with 53% of these types of roles being available in the capital in 2017 – but north England still has its need for technology specialists, with 1.4 vacancies per skilled worker in the region.

Overall, 93% of data science roles advertised with a salary paid more than the average UK of £28,600 (according to the Office of National Statistics), with 51% of those offering a salary of more than £50,000 – only 7% of the jobs with salaries included in the posting fell below £30,000.

Although salaries advertised for data science roles were more than the average salary in the UK, with the average London salary for a head of data science role between £100,000 and £180,000 a year, there has not been much predicted growth in remuneration for these roles.

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