Came across an interesting thread in Reddit.

Recent graduate, here. Any advice? from datascience

TLDR: The OP's question was "As an Economist by training, can he/she be a data scientist?"

Personally,I feel an economist can do a career conversion into a data scientist. But what are the possible roadblocks and challenges and what are the advantages? Here is what I observed looking back at my career (thus far).

1 - Even if you have taken Mathematical Economics & Econometrics, the level of mathematics that we have learnt compared to what is needed in Data Science, there is still a long distance away. Start diving into mathematics in greater details. To start, do Calculus and Linear Algebra. Check out my blog post for details.

2  - We are also weak in Computer Engineering & Science. Suggestion is to read more about it like how computers work, how computing work etc. For more details, check out this post.

3  - Economist have their advantage and that is our strong analysis skill and good understanding of the business domain.  Sharpen the analysis skill by practicing more often.

In order to progress into the data science field, economist can start with training themselves to be a data analyst, someone with very strong analysis and communication skills. Going by this route also allows us to be familiar with the business process and policy, business model, target market and more. These knowledge will serve the data analyst well, when transitioning into a data scientist.

Once you get into the data analyst role, with an eye for becoming a data scientist, the next step is to create your own data science portfolio. Why is a portfolio important? Because it is to show that you have the necessary skills and thought process on using data to provide value. Remember, companies will hire only when marginal value is greater than marginal cost. The portfolio will help to present the marginal value that you, as an economist, can present. To prepare for your portfolio and resume, check out the post here.

If you need further assistance, you can also reach out to your local community. There should be a data science community near your place and if not, go to Facebook and look for one. Over there, network around so as to:

1) Learn more about the field

2)  Find suitable opportunities

3) Find a GOOD mentor to help with your learning journey.

If you will like to know how your learning journey should be, check out this post I have written.

In conclusion, I think economist can make very good data scientist because we can demonstrate value quickly given our economist training. We are equipped with very good analytical skills and are familiar, to a larger extent, how data actually works and affect our analysis. So these are our advantage and we should make use of it to transition into Data Science.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn and I will try to answer them. If you will like some nuggets of my views and opinion, do consider subscribing to my newsletter (see below). Have fun in your learning journey and good luck in the transition! :)