Start your career as a data scientist or analyst in Nigeria

How to become a data scientist or data analyst in Nigeria, learn the skills you need, and how to build a successful data science career. Data science is a combination of statistics, computer programming, and domain knowledge. Data scientists do extract insight from data from different domains to inform businesses or organizational strategic decisions. 

Nigeria is gradually moving to become a major outsourcing hub for the local and international markets for data science with its growing number of new data scientists. A big name in the game is Data Science Nigeria, one of the pioneers of the data science movement in Nigeria.

Data science is arguably the hottest career of the 21st century. In today’s high-tech world, everyone has pressing questions that must be answered by “big data”. This article will tell you everything you need to build a successful career in data science; steps to take, skills needed, and data science jobs in Nigeria.

How to Build A Successful Career in Data Science. Below is a general guide to becoming a data scientist/analyst in Nigeria for 2023:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in IT, computer science, math, physics, or another related field.
  • Learn data science basics.
  • Build the skills.
  • Obtain an entry-level job
  • Become familiar with – Python, R, and SQL.
  • Get data science certifications.
  • Gain experience in the field you intend to work in.
  • Learn from other experts in the field. 
  • Earn a master’s degree in data or related fields.
  • Build a portfolio.

Future data scientists can begin preparations before they even step foot on a university campus or launch themselves into an online degree program.

Becoming proficient with the most widely used programming languages in data science such as Python, Java, and R  — and refreshing their knowledge in applied math and statistics — will help aspiring data scientists get a head start.

Common degrees that help you learn data science include:

  • Computer science
  • Statistics
  • Physics
  • Social science
  • Mathematics
  • Applied math
  • Economics

Obtain an entry-level data science job (or Internship)

A lot of companies are often eager to fill entry-level data science jobs. Most entry-level data scientist roles in Nigeria require at least a bachelor’s degree.

On LinkedIn, you can search for positions such as Junior Data Analyst or Junior Data Scientist. On the job, you gain experience and get the opportunity to test your skills.

Skills needed to become a data scientist in Nigeria

Becoming an expert at data science and building a successful career as a data scientist won’t come through by going to school and reading alone. Some of the main languages needed in data science are Python, JavaScript, Scala, R, SQL, and Julia.

One of the most important technical data scientist skills is statistical analysis, computing, mining, and large data sets.

The following are the skills you need to become an expert data scientist:

  • Programming Skills – Python, R, and SAS
  • Analytical tools – SQL, Spark, and Hoop
  • Machine learning
  • Data visualization – Power BI and Tableau
  • Adept at Working with Unstructured Data
  • Deep Learning – Deep Reinforcement Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Computer Vision

Online data science certifications in Nigeria

Data science certifications are a great way to gain an edge. Whether you’re looking to gain experience as a new grad, demonstrate your knowledge of data analytics, land a new job role in Nigeria, or a promotion, the following certifications will work for you.

  • Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
  • Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) Data Analyst
  • Cloudera Certified Professional (CCP) Data Engineer
  • Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Senior Data Scientist (SDS)
  • Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Principle Data Scientist (PDS)
  • Dell EMC Data Science Track (EMCDS)
  • Google Professional Data Engineer Certification
  • IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
  • IBM Certified Data Architect – Big Data
  • IBM Certified Data Engineer – Big Data
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Data Management and Analytics
  • Open Certified Data Scientist (Open CDS)
  • SAS Certified AI & Machine Learning Professional
  • SAS Certified Big Data Professional
  • SAS Certified Data Scientist
  • Tensorflow Developer Certificate

Free Online data science certifications & courses

Below we have a list of free data science courses and certifications you can take online in Nigeria:

Data science job outlook

The future is bright for aspiring data science professionals. In 2020, IBM predicted that there would be 2.7 million open jobs across data science and related careers and that there would be a 39 percent growth in employer demand for data scientists and data engineers.

For data scientists specifically, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the employment growth rate to grow by 22 percent by 2030. It is considered the third-best job in the US (as of March 2022), according to Glassdoor. 

There are plenty of data science jobs to choose from. All of them are integral to making key business decisions. Often, several of the job types below will work together on the same team.

Data scientist

Data scientists build models using programming languages such as Python. They then transform these models into applications. Often working as part of a team, for example, with a business analyst, a data engineer, and a data (or IT) architect, they help solve complex problems by analyzing data and making predictions about the future. This role is typically considered an advanced version of a data analyst.

Average US Salary: $99,138 

Skills needed: Statistics, mathematics, machine, deep learning, programming skills, data analysis, big data processes, and tools like Hadoop, SQL, and more.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in a related field, although increasingly data science boot camps, master’s programs, and professional certificates can help career switchers reach their goals. According to a Burtch Works study of data scientists and salaries, more than 94 percent of data scientists held a master’s or doctorate degree.

Data analyst

Data analysts, unlike data scientists, use structured data to solve business problems. Using tools such as SQL, Python, and R, statistical analysis, and data visualization, data analysts acquire, clean, and reorganize data for analysis to spot trends that can be turned into business insights. They tend to bridge the gap between data scientists and business analysts.

Average US Salary: $63,344

Skills needed: Programming languages (SQL, Python, R, SAS), statistics and math, data visualization

Education: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, computer science, finance, statistics, or a related field

Data Architect

Data architects create the blueprints for data management systems, designing plans to integrate and maintain all types of data sources. They oversee the underlying processes and infrastructure. Their main goal is to enable employees to gain access to information when they need it. 

Average US Salary: $115,196

Skills needed: Coding languages such as Python and Java, data mining and management, machine learning, SQL, and data modeling

Education: A bachelor’s degree in data, computer science, or a related field. If you are switching careers, a Bootcamp or professional certificate can help develop your skills in data management.

Data Engineer

Data engineers prepare and manage large amounts of data. They also develop and optimize data pipelines and infrastructure, getting the data ready for data scientists and business analysts to work with. Data Engineers make the data accessible so businesses can optimize their performance.

Average US Salary: $97,727

Skills needed: Programming languages such as Java, understanding of NoSQL databases (MongoDB), and frameworks like Apache Hadoop

Education: A bachelor’s degree in math, science, or a business-related field is helpful. Professional certificates and boot camps are also an option to brush up on skills.

Machine learning engineer

This role is not an entry-level position, but one you can build toward as a data scientist or engineer. Machine learning uses algorithms that replicate how humans learn and act, to interpret data and build accuracy over time. As part of a data science team, machine learning engineers research, build, and design artificial intelligence that facilitates machine learning. They also serve as a liaison between data scientists, data architects, and more. 

Average US Salary: $100,066 

Skills needed: Knowledge of tools such as Spark, Hadoop, R, Apache Kafka, Tensorflow, Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine, and more. An understanding of data structures and modeling, quantitative analysis, and computer science basics, is also helpful. 

Education: Often a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. in computer science or related fields is expected. Gain an introduction to this field by enrolling in one of Coursera’s most popular courses, Machine Learning.

Business analyst

As a business analyst, you’ll use data to form business insights and make recommendations for companies and organizations to improve their systems and processes. Business analysts identify issues in any part of the organization, including staff development and organizational structures, so that businesses can increase efficiency and cut costs.

Average US Salary: $74,366

Skills needed: Using SQL and Excel, data visualization, financial modeling, data, and financial analysis, business acumen

Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, computer science, statistics, business, or a related field

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