Can Data Scientists Work Part-Time?

Many employees in the 21st century prefer part-time or freelance work because they are overworked and overstressed from their full-time jobs. However, not all jobs offer part-time and freelance work. With more computer-related jobs popping up, some might be wondering—is it possible for data scientists to work part-time? 

Data scientists can work part-time. Many large organizations hire part-time junior data scientists to work for them. Furthermore, if you are unable to land a contracted job, it is always possible to work in a freelance capacity. 

This article will explain the role of a data scientist in-depth and discuss various competencies that a would-be part-time data scientist would need to have. If you are trying to find out more about working part-time as a data scientist, I’m sure you will find your answers to some of your questions in the upcoming sections. 

Important Sidenote: We interviewed numerous data science professionals (data scientists, hiring managers, recruiters – you name it) and identified 6 proven steps to follow for becoming a data scientist. Read my article: ‘6 Proven Steps To Becoming a Data Scientist [Complete Guide] for in-depth findings and recommendations! – This is perhaps the most comprehensive article on the subject you will find on the internet!

What Does a Data Scientist Do?

A data scientist makes sense of the massive unstructured data sets that companies possess to impact these organizations positively. No matter which industry a company is in, having a data scientist on hand will significantly help them increase their number of impressions and clicks and eventually profit. 

For more information on what a data scientist does, below is the step-by-step list:

  • Explore. The data is cleaned up, with any anomalies detected during the exploration phase. 
  • Optimize. A/B testing is conducted to see which version of a product is preferred over the others by consumers. 
  • Deep-learning. Machines are programmed with special algorithms to be data-driven and perform some part of a data scientist’s job for them. However, this is relatively a new domain within data science, and at present, most companies will not have this as a requirement for the function.

In essence, all of these above listed tasks are done with the objective to garner the following – 

  • Insights. These reveal real-world tendencies that customers or users have for various products upon the proper organization and screening of data. 
  • Data products. This refers to any tool or application that can process data and form results that will help create a positive impact on a business. 
  • Product recommendation. This system offers a personalized experience to any user that comes across a company’s site by filtering, predicting, and displaying products that a customer is likely to purchase.

What Skills Does a Data Scientist Need?

A data scientist will have advanced technical computational knowledge. This includes:

  • Coding and writing computer programs in several languages, such as – Python and R
  • Familiarity with sites like Spark to create complex data sets and models
  • Identifying patterns in data with a strong base in statistics
  • Knowledge of various concepts like artificial intelligence, machine learning, numerical analysis, etc. 

In addition to the above listed hard skills, a data scientist will also need the following soft skills:

  • Curiosity. As a problem solver who works with statistics, a data scientist must be curious to solve ambiguous questions and find optimized solutions. 
  • Communication skills. A data scientist needs to be adept at presenting to share insights with the company and shareholders in a non-technical way. 

Can You Work Part-Time as a Data Scientist? 

You definitely can. In fact, contrary to popular belief, it is very common to work as a part-time data scientist for a medium or large corporation. 

With the advancement of big data, any major business that is serious about wanting to optimize their product and profits will hire a data scientist. There is no shortage of jobs in this field. It is not uncommon for bigger corporations to hire part-time junior data scientists to do more basic work like collecting and structuring data even if they have multiple full-time data scientists working with them. 

This allows the more senior workers to focus on drawing insights and algorithms from created data. Thus, if you’re planning to work as a part-time data scientist for greater freedom and a more relaxed lifestyle, you will not need to worry about being out of a job. 

In fact, data science is one of the easiest professions for finding a part-time and remote role. Any software required can be easily downloaded onto your laptop or desktop, and you can work from your computer. This is in stark contrast to other jobs like photography, which requires you to go from one shoot to another. 

How Do You Go About Finding a Part-Time Role?

Here are the ways to find a job as a part-time data scientist:

Build a Portfolio

To work as a part-timer, especially if you’re working as a freelancer and not on a contract basis, you need to build up a portfolio. This will necessitate having worked at a firm previously in some capacity. 

If you’re completely green, working as a part-time freelancer is not for you, as you will not be familiar with industry requirements yet. Instead, you should go and work in a company to get some experience and become acquainted with the nature of the work. 

Building up your portfolio can be as simple as beefing up your resume if you’re looking to do contracted part-time work. It is as complicated as creating your website and writing a concise summary of your motivations and the work you do if you want to become a freelancer. For the latter, ensure that your prices are compatible with your competency. 

Find a Job at Larger Corporations

When looking for contracted part-time work, you should look for roles at larger corporations and avoid start-ups. This is because start-ups don’t have the budget to hire an entire team of data scientists and software engineers to work on their product for them. Hence, you will be pushed into a full-time role. 

Even if you have majored in a specific sector like analytics, start-ups will want you to tackle every single aspect related to data, even the ones that you might not be very good at or dislike. Not only is this time consuming, but it will also just leave you feeling miserable. As a result, if you want to work in a part-time capacity, as a general rule, you should prefer large corporations over start-ups.

On the other hand, if you’re aiming to be a part-time freelancer, look for directories that are frequently browsed by potential employers. Some examples would be Upwork, one of the larger freelance platforms, and LinkedIn, where you can fall back on your existing connections and start cold pitching to see if they will hire you. 

Eventually, it doesn’t matter which field you’re looking to get a part-time job in. A good job applicant should have mastered the art of pitching themselves to a company. This consists of:

  • Writing amazing and personalized cover letters
  • Having a professional-looking resume
  • Confidently answering interview questions in a thorough manner
  • Preparing for the most commonly asked questions
  • Being able to deal with rejection well if needed

Create Your Own Business

A surefire way to find a job as a part-time data scientist is to set up a start-up business. If you have a revolutionary new idea that you think could change the face of data science forever in a specific sector, let the world know. Who knows, you might get lucky and make a ton of money, like Dynasty co-founder David who left his job to create a company that sold for $60 million. 

Author’s Recommendations: Top Data Science Resources To Consider

Before concluding this article, I wanted to share few top data science resources that I have personally vetted for you. I am confident that you can greatly benefit in your data science journey by considering one or more of these resources.

  • DataCamp: If you are a beginner focused towards building the foundational skills in data science, there is no better platform than DataCamp. Under one membership umbrella, DataCamp gives you access to 335+ data science courses. There is absolutely no other platform that comes anywhere close to this. Hence, if building foundational data science skills is your goal: Click Here to Sign Up For DataCamp Today!
  • MITx MicroMasters Program in Data Science: If you are at a more advanced stage in your data science journey and looking to take your skills to the next level, there is no Non-Degree program better than MIT MicroMasters. Click Here To Enroll Into The MIT MicroMasters Program Today! (To learn more: Check out my full review of the MIT MicroMasters program here)
  • Roadmap To Becoming a Data Scientist: If you have decided to become a data science professional but not fully sure how to get started: read my article – 6 Proven Ways To Becoming a Data Scientist. In this article, I share my findings from interviewing 100+ data science professionals at top companies (including – Google, Meta, Amazon, etc.) and give you a full roadmap to becoming a data scientist.


More and more individuals are becoming disillusioned with work, feeling like they are wasting away and unable to appreciate life because they are overcommitted to their job. As a result, the number of people choosing to embark on a part-time or freelance lifestyle increases. Data science is no exception to this trend. 

Hopefully, after reading this article, you will have learned more about data scientists working in a part-time role. 

BEFORE YOU GO: Don’t forget to check out my latest article – 6 Proven Steps To Becoming a Data Scientist [Complete Guide]. We interviewed numerous data science professionals (data scientists, hiring managers, recruiters – you name it) and created this comprehensive guide to help you land that perfect data science job.

  1. To be data scientist is appropriate for looking a part time job. (2020, May 6). Magnimind Academy.
  2. What does a data scientist do? (2020, August 13). Northeastern University Graduate Programs.

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Daisy is the founder of Passionate for the field of Data Science, she shares her learnings and experiences in this domain, with the hope to help other Data Science enthusiasts in their path down this incredible discipline.

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