Can soft skills make you a successful data scientist?

You can do any Google search on ‘How to become a data scientist’ and you will be faced with hundreds of articles telling you all about the education you need, along with the coding and software skills that are necessary.

It’s incredibly important to have these data skills, after all without them you can’t be a data scientist, but we believe there is one aspect missing from this: your soft skills.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are typically attributed to you and your personality, not your experience or technical knowledge. Soft skills are generally not taught and are something you pick up throughout your career, and a lot of the time they will just come naturally to you. There are many soft skills that employers will look for when hiring a data scientist, but we think these are some of the most important ones:

Business Acumen

Also known as being ‘business savvy’. Having the ability to quickly understand a business, their objects and problems is essential. As a data scientist you have to know and understand how you can leverage data to solve any business problems. Understanding how the business works can give you a real insight into where you are needed the most.


Communication isn’t just about how well you can answer questions and talk to your colleagues, as a data scientist you have to be able to communicate your findings to non-technical people within the business, including stakeholders. You have to be able to tell a story with your data so that everyone in the room can understand – it’s all about the insights you can provide to the business.


Having the ability to work in and be a part of a team is a must. As a data scientist you won’t be working alone, whether this is with other data professionals or stakeholders within the business. It’s likely you will be working with and support a large number of people from within the business.

To be a successful data scientist you need more than just the coding skills and statistical knowledge, soft skills will help you communicate to the business, understand why you are needed and work with a wide variety of departments.

As our MD, Mark Dexter puts it a data scientist is “someone with good statistics knowledge, strong coding skills (R, Python etc) and excellent business facing capabilities”. Technical skills can be just as important as soft skills throughout your data science career.

KDR Recruitment is the home of the best data, technology and analytics jobs. To view our latest Data Science roles, click here or follow KDR on LinkedIn for the latest news, views and jobs.

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