It’s undeniable—data science is one of the fastest growing fields in the world today, and shows no signs of slowing down. Because of that, it’s becoming increasingly important to study and understand the professionals who make up this field, and the ways they navigate it.

This article is a continuation of a piece from earlier this year, when we looked at the demographics and educational background of data science pros. In part 2, we’re digging further into Kaggle’s massive survey of data professionals to learn more about how these professionals began their studies, their recommendations for newcomers to the industry, trends they predict for the future, and more. Let’s dive in!

How did you first start your machine learning/data science training?


Most pros in the field started their data science journey with online courses. The next most popular route was university courses, followed by being completely self-taught. This suggests that as a beginner, it’s not a bad idea to start your learning online!

What programming language would you recommend a new data scientist learn first? 


According to respondents, newcomers to the field should start their understanding of programming languages with Python. The second most recommended language was R. SQL followed far behind in third.

Which tool or technology are you most excited about learning in the next year?


Google’s deeping learning algorithm Tensorflow leads the way; today’s data scientists seem excited to launch into this emerging technology. Followed closely behind are Python and then R.

Which ML/DS method are you most excited about learning in the next year?


Once again, Python and Tensorflow take the lead.

How long have you been writing code to analyze data?


The majority of survey respondents have been writing code for just 1-2 years. In an earlier post about this data, we also discovered that the majority of respondents are 25-35 years old, and most are employed full time, showing the road to a career in data science can be fast one!

Where should I look for a job?


A company’s website/job listing page is the most popular place to find jobs, according to survey respondents. Tech specific job boards comes in second, and seeking referrals from friends, former colleagues and family also appeared popular. 


If you are looking to join the data science field, online learning to learn Python and R is a great place to get started (or a data science certificate); the majority of respondents began their data science journey there, and most report working full-time as data scientists. If you already have a background in Python and R, boost your career and earning potential with even more advanced online learning!

Read Part 1 here.