How to Become A Data Scientist

To celebrate World Teachers’ Day, Kiripost speaks with Cambodian mathematics wizard, Tor Kimsy, to find out the best way to secure a job as a data scientist.
Kimsy Tor, an Assistant Professor, ICT and Math at the American University of Phnom Penh (photo: supplied)
Kimsy Tor, an Assistant Professor, ICT and Math at the American University of Phnom Penh (photo: supplied)

To mark World Teachers' Day, Kiripost asked one of Cambodia’s mathematics wizards for advice on what skills and knowledge students should acquire to land a job as a data scientist.

Assistant professor of ICT and Math at the American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP), Tor Kimsy, is an expert in statistics, probability, data science, and machine learning. At AUPP, she teaches machine learning, statistics, and mathematics.

In 2010, she was the only student to graduate high school with an ‘A’ grade. The Cambodian maths wizard earned her PhD in Computational Statistics from Telecom Paris, and her Master’s and Bachelor's degrees from the United States through scholarships.

The AUPP assistant professor told Kiripost in an interview from Paris, where she is currently one of three international laureates Cimpa-Carmin Fellowship. Her trimester at Institut Henri Poincaré is focused on “Geometry and Statistics in Data Sciences”.

Kimsy Tor, an Assistant Professor, ICT and Math at the American University of Phnom Penh (photo: supplied)
Kimsy Tor, an Assistant Professor, ICT and Math at the American University of Phnom Penh (photo: supplied)

Read on and follow her advice to prepare yourself for one of the most exciting careers ahead.

“For general technical skills, I would say, try to focus on K-12 mathematics well. Focus on statistics, probability, and linear algebra. Learn programming language, Python or R. Perhaps add on some courses related to Machine Learning and Deep learning.

“Then start building your own projects using available datasets either public or private. That is to begin with. Then, students might want to choose which industry they want to specialize in, e.g: finance, healthcare, agriculture, etc.

“It depends on their industry, students might need to add on some more technical courses, e.g. time series, etc.

“Aside from technical skills, students might also want to hone in their soft skills, like presentations, public speaking, leadership, etc.”

The role of data scientist was dubbed the “sexiest job of the 21st century” by Harvard Business Review.

IBM defines that data science combines math and statistics, specialized programming, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, with specific subject matter expertise to uncover actionable insights hidden in an organization’s data. “These insights can be used to guide decision making and strategic planning.”

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