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Working in Data Science: A Day in the Shoes of a Data Scientist

A data scientist role is the sexiest job of the 21st century according to an article written by Thomas Davenport on a Harvard Business Review about seven years back. Less than a decade later, data is being generated and used everywhere. Now, businesses are competing for the few qualified data scientists available.

Graduates, IT professionals and any other person interested in this exciting and ever-expanding field, may wonder what does the usual day in the life of a data scientist working in a tech company actually entail?

9 AM: Prep for the Day & Brief the Team

An average day starts at around 9 am. It’s time to answer emails, review work reports from the team, give instructions to juniors, and generally brief the team on the day’s activities and expectations. If there is an important meeting with the executives, which is 80% of the time, this is also the time to quickly prep on it.

10 AM: Go to the Conference Room for the Day’s Meeting

Settle in for the 10 o’clock meeting with the eager company founders (often small startup companies) looking to leverage their production and consumer data to cut down costs and increase revenue. In case it is a large company, it could also be the sales or marketing executives who want to know how the business can optimize its distribution to reach retailers and eventually customers faster. Listening is key to figuring out what they really need as it may not always be what they are asking for. As the expert on data, one then outlines the team’s progress so far, as well as their next steps in the project.

11:30 AM: Take Coffee & Make Decisions

Walk over to the espresso machine to pour some coffee and sit down for a discussion with a member of the team and give the green light where necessary.

12:30 AM: Have a Quick Lunch and Check the Email Again

Check emails and voice messages as you bite on a quick lunch in the office or cafeteria.

1:30 PM: Immense in Data Gathering, Cleaning, and Analysis

Embark on the critical job of the day. Collecting data from the different company sources or systems, cleansing it, and using it to make effective business predictions; which is the core responsibility of a data scientist. Spend the rest of the afternoon working on data and collaborating with people from the team as well as other departments.

5:00 PM: Visit Data Science Blogs or Pages to See What’s Going On

It’s time to browse some favorite blogs to learn about new trends and tendencies, something one should never forget to do in order to keep up with a highly dynamic field that is data science.

6:00 PM: Stop by At a Local Spot or Go Home and Rest

After a day of meetings, making decisions, using math and exercising a whole lot of critical thinking, it’s time to grab a beer with friends at a local sports bar or get home and chill. Anything to relax and take the edge off.

Key Takeaway

The typical day in a data scientist’s workday is almost like for any other job, except that most days are not so typical. Data scientists wear many hats, interact with C level executives daily, and get to work in the best job in the world. It never gets boring as there are new challenges to tackle every day.