Do Data Scientists Get to Travel?


Data science is a career that’s really come into its own in recent years as organizations look to utilize the data that their businesses generate. But does being a data scientist mean that you’re shackled to your desk, or do data scientists get to travel?

Data scientists do get to travel, but how much depends on the role and the employer. At junior levels or in a small company, travel opportunities may be limited. However, at more senior levels, in a large company, a consultancy, or as a freelancer, travel may form an integral part of the role.   

So, being a data scientist doesn’t necessarily mean a deskbound existence. If you’re looking at data science as a career and want to expand your geographical horizons, you’ll find some options highlighted below. We’ll look first at what data scientists do and then see how you can combine that with travel.

Important Sidenote: We interviewed 100+ 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 Do Data Scientists Do?

If you’ve spent any time exploring the field of data science, it won’t surprise you that there is no single answer to what a data scientist does.

Data science is an amorphous field. You’ll find that the job description can vary from one organization to another. Even within the same organization, one data scientist’s role can be very different from another.

However, the heart of data science is the ability to take raw data and transform it. The transformation, when effectively done, can provide organizations with ideas, insights, and solutions.  

An individual role may involve all or any of the following skills:

  • Data collection
  • Data organization
  • Data analysis
  • Data presentation
  • Programming
  • Data modeling
  • Statistics
  • Math
  • Strategic business thinking

Of course, that list is non-exhaustive, and any particular data scientist job may involve many more skills. 

This short video gives you a general flavor of what a data scientist might do during a typical working day and how data science can help businesses:

When you look at the types of skills a data scientist will typically possess, you immediately think of someone sitting at a desk for hours on end. 

At the entry and junior levels, that may be the case in many organizations, but as with everything in this field, it depends.

So, your next question is probably, where does travel come into this?

Is Travel Possible in Data Science?

Just like data science itself, what travel means to one person can differ from what it means to another.

Perhaps you’re looking for your data science job to get you out and about instead of being deskbound. This could mean traveling from one local office to another, or you might want to travel further, beyond your city or state. 

Alternatively, perhaps travel for you means traveling the world while you work, using your skills to fund your trip.

You may also be thinking of travel of a more permanent type, like moving to a new city or state, or maybe you want to look further afield and move to a new country.

Well, all these degrees of travel are possible as a data scientist, as you’ll find out below.

Data Science in Multi-Site Organizations

If you want to visit different locations during your working day, consider working for an organization with more than one site and a small data science team. 

That kind of setup creates the possibility of travel between the organization’s locations. That can help you gain an understanding of location-specific data needs, or it may be later in the process to present the fruits of your labor.

Pick the right organization, and these opportunities may exist even for more junior roles.

Companies with several locations might also have data science teams in several places. If you’re at the management level, such a role might involve travel between locations to manage those teams.

Obviously, it’s essential to check out the organization you’re thinking of working for. You’ll need to confirm with them the amount of travel you can expect to undertake.

Travel distances are also crucial to check. For example, you may prefer to travel only to nearby locations, or you may want to travel out of your city or state. The latter might involve overnight stays and give you the chance to experience new places.

Data Science Consultancy

Another way to incorporate travel into your role as a data scientist is to work for a data science consultancy. 

Retaining consultants is an efficient way for many organizations to deal with their data science needs. It’s often an alternative to employing an in-house team.

Working in a consultancy provides the chance to work for different organizations in various fields. It’s an excellent way to gain a wide-ranging experience.

Also, in a consultancy, your data scientist role is more likely to involve travel, as visiting customers is likely to be integral to the job. That may even be the case at junior levels.

For example, you may travel for meetings to pitch to a potential customer, or you might have to meet with the customer to discuss their requirements or present and roll-out the solutions.

Depending on the consultancy, the travel may only be within your city or state, or it may take you further afield. Again, make sure the travel you’ll need to undertake fits with your preferences. 

Data Science Freelancing

Once you have a significant amount of experience in data science under your belt, freelancing becomes an option. It’s certainly one way you may get to travel as a data scientist.

Freelancing gives you the chance to be selective about the projects you work on or the companies you work with. You might have to build a good track record to get this freedom. So, it may not be an option if you’re just trying to break into the field.

However, once you have the experience, freelancing may give you the option to travel as much or as little as you want. It’ll be down to you to select jobs that meet your travel preferences.

Since data science skills are pretty much the same worldwide, you could become a data science nomad, freelancing your way around the world.

Data Science to a New City or State

Much of what we’ve already said above may well take you temporarily to other cities or states, but what if your idea of travel involves a more permanent move to a new city or state?

A good thing about data science is that it crosses the city and state lines. It’s something you can do wherever you’re located.

So, you can do it in whichever city or state you choose. As there’s a shortage of data scientists, finding the right job in your desired location may not be too hard.

Data Science in International

If you have aspirations to travel further afield as a data scientist for the medium or long term, you won’t be disappointed.

As mentioned above, data science skills are transferable across international borders. This opens up a whole new horizon for you if you’re a data scientist who wants to experience life as a resident of another country. 

The data scientist shortage mentioned above extends beyond national boundaries. Countries like the UK, India, and many European countries report shortages in the field.

With this global skills shortage, there may even be international opportunities at the entry and junior levels.

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.

Conclusion

As you’ve gathered, a data scientist can get to travel. How little or how much depends on your chosen career path through this field.

With the skills shortage in the field, the good news is the data scientist’s opportunities to cherry-pick their ideal job have never been better.

Whether you want to travel within your own city or state, nationally, or even across international boundaries doesn’t matter. Data science skills can be just the ticket.

BEFORE YOU GO: Don’t forget to check out my latest article – 6 Proven Steps To Becoming a Data Scientist [Complete Guide]. We interviewed 100+ 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.

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  2. Countries that hold the greatest opportunities for data scientists. (2020, April 12). Analytics Insight. https://www.analyticsinsight.net/countries-which-hold-the-greatest-opportunities-for-data-scientists/
  3. The data scientist shortage in 2020. (2020, April 7). QuantHub. https://quanthub.com/data-scientist-shortage-2020/
  4. Fard, P. R. (2020, July 7). Working as a data science consultant. Medium. https://towardsdatascience.com/working-as-a-data-science-consultant-e626669ab72b
  5. Reasons, why there is a shortage of data scientists in the industry. (2020, November 21). Analytics India Magazine. https://analyticsindiamag.com/reasons-why-there-is-a-shortage-of-data-scientists-in-the-industry/
  6. Starting your career in data science: What are your options? – Dataquest. (2020, September 9). Dataquest. https://www.dataquest.io/blog/career-guide-data-science-options/
  7. What does a data scientist do? (2020, August 13). Northeastern University Graduate Programs. https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/what-does-a-data-scientist-do/
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Daisy

Daisy is the founder of DataScienceNerd.com. 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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