Is Data Science a Stressful Career?

You’ll hear the same things about data science time and time again—that you can get an entry-level position making six figures, you’ll never be out of work and it’s one of the most sought-after careers in the world. 

But one thing nobody mentions is how stressful this career can be at times. Of course, all jobs are stressful to a degree, but data science can pose some unique challenges we’re going to tell you about.

In fact, there’s a famous in-joke among data scientists that this career is 80% about preparing data and 20% complaining about preparing data! 

So, how stressful is it really?

It Depends on the Situation

Data scientists spend their day doing all kinds of things, such as obtaining data, analyzing data for insights, determining variables and data sets, researching and writing complex algorithms, and interpreting statistical models.

Whether these tasks are stressful or not depends on your specific situation. Is the head of marketing demanding you obtain data now? Are you writing algorithms that are far beyond your skillset? Are you the only one on your team analyzing data because your company has a staff shortage? 

Remember, stress can be situational. If you feel stressed in your job as a data scientist, it might not be data science that’s the problem but the situation itself. Anyone, not just data scientists, who find themselves in an overly stressful work environment should probably look for another job!

Some of the biggest stressors at work include heavy workloads, long hours and conflicts with colleagues or managers. Again, these issues have nothing to do with data science but with the job. 

How Passionate Are You About Data Science?

Feeling unmotivated in your work can lead to serious stress, so it’s important to ask yourself this question before you embark on your career: 

Do you want to become a data scientist because of the salary and job prospects or because of a genuine passion for data? 

If it’s the former, data science isn’t going to be for you. You might excel with data sets (pardon the pun!) for a year or two. However, you’ll soon develop a nagging feeling that this career choice was a mistake and that you wish you pursued something else entirely. 

Don’t be swayed by those who say data science is an easy career. That might be true because of a surplus of jobs right now and how feasible it is to land a high-paying role quickly after finishing your training. But that salary and job security might pale in comparison to a job that you actually have a passion for. And realizing that in a few years, once you’ve settled into a role, will almost certainly cause stress and even burnout

You’ll know you want to become a data scientist if any of the following excites you: Discovering new advancements in data, helping businesses solve complex data-related problems and expanding your skill set and knowledge about data as you become a more proficient data scientist.

If you have a curious mind and love playing the role of a data detective, data science shouldn’t cause you any stress. Well, most of the time…

When Data Science Can Be Stressful

There are some ‘challenges’ unique to data science that might cause stress at some point. Remember, data science requires lots of concentration, unlike some other jobs. Sometimes, you’ll spend hours writing algorithms and analyzing data sets without talking to another person. 

Data science can also be extremely complicated. Some of the best professionals in the industry still struggle to detect deviations from the norm in incredibly enormous data sets and categorize specific data points. Then there are ever-evolving data governance guidelines like GDPR that make your life as a data scientist even more stressful. And then there’s communicating your findings to stakeholders who might not have any knowledge about data or how it works. (Now, that can be tough!)

But we don’t see these things as ‘challenges’ here at The Data Incubator but as opportunities that we can learn from. 

Data science is a like a giant jigsaw puzzle at times. Some pieces are harder to fit than others, which can be stressful, but placing the final piece is what makes this career so satisfying. If you’re good enough and have the right training, you can solve any puzzle in data science. We have faith in you!

Final Word

So is data science stressful? Yes and no. You might encounter problems that have nothing to do with this discipline and find your issues are job- or employer-specific. Data science might be stressful if you didn’t really want to enter this profession in the first place, perhaps because you were only attracted to its high salary and job security. That said, data science can throw up ‘challenges’ that might irk you, such as spending hours on projects and detecting deviations in highly-complex data sets. But you can turn these into opportunities and constantly remind yourself why becoming a data scientist is so rewarding.

What Are You Waiting For?

Make your career as stress-free as possible by becoming a talented data scientist now! The Data Incubator’s programs provide the skills you need to succeed in the world of data. 

Here are the programs we offer:

Contact our admissions team if you have any queries regarding the application process.

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