Well, to be honest I did not expect to be the first one to reply after 3 days.
Let me first clarify who I am. I graduated from high school in computer sciences back in 1985 ... Never heard about Cobol, Basic? lol
I then started some studies in economics, but more interested in having a cool student life, I was fired from school. My father's reaction? Well done my son, you'll now discover how wonderful working every day is!
So I started to work in 1987 with only a high school degree in computer sciences in my pocket, almost nothing, and a curious brain on my shoulders.
32 years later, I'm a data engineer in an insurance company. I have much fun in my job and really enjoy it every day.
Here are my answers to Dev's questions .. in short however because of a lack of time ... I apologize!
1. What’s it like to be a data scientist?
- When I was a child I enjoyed solving riddles and it did not change over the years.
What does your day to day job look like?
- Solving problems that nor support, nor developers, nor business analysts can solve.
- Proposing the correct way to solve the problems and improve the processes
- Getting the deciding people of the company to adopt my solutions as if it were theirs (that's kinda weird)
2. How do you think your degree helped / did not help you?
- I am more like a self-made man, but it helped me to know what programming was in a time when nobody had ever hear about it
3. Do you wish you had done something extra at school to help prepare for industry?
- no, looking backwards never helped me
4. What do you think about going into industry versus graduate school?
- this has been my career, but I think that nowadays, for data analysis, you need to graduate from school; at least here in Western Europe
5. How did you get your first job after college?
- well, I've been fired from the school one day, met a friend of my dad in the evening of the same day and started at his company the next day as an analyst programmer and accountant - this was possible at that time
6. What qualities do you think make a great data scientist?
- curiosity! What else?
- One of my favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.
- persistence, an uncommon persistence to unravel the issues or dig deeper into the data
- being open-minded to everything, everybody, every thoughts and once you have enough data, you can make your mind without forgetting to question yourself over and over again
- having an oriented solution mindset (I hope this makes sense)
7. If you were starting over again today, what would you do? What do you wish you knew sooner?
- I really do agree to Dev's answer. I should also go to school and have a master degree to avoid having to proove over and over again that I can do this even better than many others. But ok, this is maybe worth only in the company I work for currently.
8. How can I become a data scientist?
- again Dev's answers