How to Become a Data Scientist in Canada

By Tess Campbell Modified on September 11, 2023
Tags : Academics | Careers | STEM | Tech

Have you ever wanted to predict the future? Are you tech-savvy? Discover how you can become a data scientist in Canada!

 How to Become a Data Scientist in Canada

Are you a problem-solver? Do you like discovering patterns in your daily life? Are you tech-savvy? If so, a career as a data scientist in Canada may be right for you! But how much do you know about data scientists? Don’t worry, in this article you’ll learn about what a data scientist does, how to become a data scientist in Canada, and how much data scientists can make:

What is a data scientist?

In today’s technological age, there’s an explosion of information available, and someone has to sort through it. A data scientist is a technology professional who organizes and understands data that has been collected to help companies make decisions. Data scientists identify trends from unstructured data sources and use analytics technologies, like predictive modelling, to provide recommendations. Essentially, data scientists turn numbers into recommended strategies.

Data scientists typically work at banks, consulting firms, educational institutions, and in the information technology department in companies. Every industry relies on identifying and understanding information, so realistically data scientists can work in many different sectors, like healthcare, technology, government, non-profit, etc.

What does a data scientist do?

Data scientists use programming and software tools to analyze, sort, and store large sets of raw data. They’ll create algorithms to help identify patterns within the data to solve problems and offer suggestions.

Check out these common tasks that data scientists might perform day-to-day:

  • Discover patterns in raw data
  • Communicate recommendations based on trends from the raw data to other team members
  • Use programs and languages such as Python, R, SAS, or SQL to help organize and analyze data
  • Use pattern recognition programs to automate problem-solving techniques
  • Present data in a way that allows different departments to quickly draw conclusions
  • Perform research and analysis activities on unstructured and structured data

How to become a data scientist

If a career as a data scientist is right up your alley, then here’s how you can become a data scientist in Canada in three steps:

Step one: Undergraduate education

To become a data scientist in Canada, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a data science program. This means you could earn a four-year bachelor’s degree or a two to three-year diploma at a university or college. You could also choose to study programs like statistics, computer science, math, business, or information technology, as many of these programs may offer specializations in data science.

In an undergraduate data science program, you can expect to learn about:

  • Popular tools and technologies, like R and Python programming
  • Machine learning tools, like clustering and decision trees
  • Statistics and probability
  • Software engineering
  • Data mining
  • Research tactics
  • Data reporting
  • The management of information using sorting algorithms

With a bachelor’s degree in data science, you can expect to take courses from a variety of disciplines, such as mathematics, computer science, business, and communications.

Step two: Graduate education

After an undergraduate education, you can begin your career in data science. However, if you want to advance in your career and move up past an entry-level role, you’ll likely need a master’s or doctoral degree in data science, analytics, machine learning, or another related field. Most companies prefer to hire data scientists who have more education with a graduate degree.

Your undergrad degree will have provided you with the foundational knowledge you’d need at the start of your career, but a graduate degree will allow you to focus and specialize your training for sectors you’d like to work in.

Step three: Get relevant certifications

You’ve got your degree — possibly two — so what else could you need? Many employers like their data scientists to have some certifications to demonstrate their skills in logic, attention to detail, research, programming, collaboration, and communication. Some of the common certifications data scientists have are:

These certifications are offered by the companies whose software you may be using in your career, or by professional organizations. These certifications can help boost your skills as a data scientist and become a more desirable applicant.

What’s the difference between a data analyst and a data scientist?

While it may seem like data analysts and data scientists in Canada are the same career, they actually have different requirements and responsibilities. Discover what makes a data analyst and a data scientist in Canada different:

Data analyst Data scientist
Education To become a data analyst in Canada, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics program. To become a data scientist in Canada, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a data science program, or programs in computer science, statistics, mathematics, business, and information technology. After your bachelor’s degree, you’ll likely need to pursue a master’s degree in data science to become a more senior data scientist.
Job responsibilities The main role of a data analyst is to examine data that has happened in the past and present solutions and insights to upper management and leaders. Many data analysts will spend their time improving existing platforms and products.

In contrast, data scientists use raw data to create predictions. They’ll also focus on developing new ideas, products, and services.
Common tools used Data analysts tend to use popular analytic tools like Tableau, Excel, Microsoft Power BI. They’ll also have some basic scripting knowledge with Python and R. Data scientists tend to have a more advanced knowledge of Structured Query Language and use popular database systems and cloud platforms like the ones mentioned earlier.
Salary Data analytics is considered to be more a more entry-level field as it requires less technical programming knowledge. The average salary for a data analyst in Canada is $78,000 per year. Data scientists are a senior-level position that requires more education and experience with programming languages. The average salary for a data scientist in Canada is $102,710 per year.

Career prospects

How much do data scientists make in Canada? A data scientist can earn up to $150,010 per year. Check out the low, average, and high salary for data scientists. Within the next 10 years, there’s expected to be a shortage of data scientists in Canada, so this career may have plenty of opportunities. You can also explore the Canadian Government’s Job Bank for openings as a data scientist to find opportunities that are currently available.

Now that you’ve learned what a data scientist is, what they do, how to become one, and what you could earn, is a career as a data scientist in Canada meant for you?

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