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How to Become a Data Mining Specialist

With the demand for professionals in the data industry constantly growing, now is the perfect time to launch your career as a data mining specialist. If you want to learn how to become a data mining specialist, this guide will provide everything you need to know about this profession, including the necessary credentials, education paths, and salary potential.

What Is a Data Mining Specialist?

A data mining specialist is a professional who designs data analysis strategies for mining enterprise systems, as well as applications for enhancing business processes. Businesses rely on data mining specialists to inform their decision-making process for the general profitability of their enterprises. This specialty often involves artificial intelligence, statistics, and machine learning.

Today, data mining specialists can search complex datasets to provide actionable business insights that were previously overlooked. Their role in an organization cannot be overstated, as their insights are relied upon to increase profitability. You might find data specialists working in manufacturing, retail, education, telecommunications, and a wide variety of other fields.

Data Mining Specialist Job Description

These professionals are experts at finding the right questions to retrieve the information they're looking for. They use their relevant experience to establish correlation and causation in the data they uncover, which is why organizations heavily rely on these professionals for guidance and business intelligence. Their expertise also helps them identify outliers and anomalies in the data.

Businesses rely on data mining specialists to find hidden information in datasets and interpret it in a way that is useful to the company or organization. They use statistical software for data analysis and to develop business solutions. After establishing the model relationships, they write comprehensive reports and use data visualization techniques to showcase their findings to clients.

Data mining specialists work with three different types of data: transactional, non-operational, and metadata. Transactional data comes mainly from transactions; that is, information that is captured at the point of sale. Often this data originates from the purchase of inventory, client trips, and operational costs.

Non-operational data is provided by the industry and helps in forecasting, while metadata refers to information about database design and is mostly used by data science specialists. As a data mining specialist, you should be well versed in the differences between each type of data and its relevant processes.

Data Mining Specialist Salary and Job Outlook

According to Payscale, the average data mining specialist earns $67,407.per year. You can easily increase your earning potential if you pursue additional training or education, gain more experience, or heighten your skill level.

ZipRecruiter indicates that your location can also affect your pay. The highest-paid data mining specialists work in Lakes, AK, San Francisco, CA, and Santa Clara, CA. In terms of job outlook, Zippia shows that data mining jobs will grow by 20 percent by the year 2028. This amounts to 139,200 job opportunities.

Top Reasons to Become a Data Mining Specialist in 2021

There are a lot of factors that make data mining an attractive career in our technology-reliant society. The following are the top reasons why you should become a data mining specialist in 2021.

  • Growing demand. The job outlook for data mining careers is definitely on the rise. With increased Internet usage and more and more businesses turning digital, data mining specialists will never run out of job opportunities.
  • Well-paying job. Data mining is a very demanding field, but the great salary and other employment benefits make it worth your time and effort.
  • Access to different career paths. If you become a data mining expert, you can easily change the direction of your career down the road to specialize in a sub-field that you find more interesting. Below we will discuss some of these potential career paths.
  • High job satisfaction. As a data mining specialist, you will feel the impact of your work on the organization. You will be central to the company’s growth and performance.

Data Mining Specialist Job Requirements

Every hiring company will have its own requirements and expectations, but most data mining jobs require at least some experience mining enterprise systems and applying relevant knowledge to enhance business operations. To get the job, you will need to have the following credentials, experience, and capabilities.

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a relevant field. Holding a university degree tells the employer that you have the background needed to handle the tasks required of you. Not every company requires a college degree, but many do.
  • More than two years of experience as a data analyst or data scientist. This experience will give you the foundational knowledge to carry out your responsibilities at a professional level. It will also provide you with insight into industry patterns and trends.
  • Experience with statistical tools. There is a wide arsenal of tools and technologies you must familiarize yourself with as a data mining expert. Some of the main ones are the R programming language as well as SAS and SPSS software.
  • Teamwork. You must be able to work well with others to excel in this position. You will collaborate with data analysts, data scientists, managers, executives, and other stakeholders.

Types of Data Mining Specialist Careers

Once you acquire relevant knowledge and skills in the industry, you will have access to different types of data mining specialist careers. Here are some of the job opportunities you should consider once you have accumulated enough experience in the data mining industry.

Data Analyst

A data analyst helps the organization make strategic decisions to improve business performance. To become a data analyst, you must have extensive experience in data modeling, mathematics, and computer science.

Business Analyst

Business analysts are experts at using the information provided by data analysts to identify problematic areas in the organization. These professionals provide stakeholders with comprehensive solutions to increase productivity and customer satisfaction. If you are considering a career in this field, now it’s the time to become a business analyst.

Data Scientist

A data scientist ensures that the data presented to stakeholders is relevant and comprehensive. They go through the data collected to identify inconsistencies and opportunities for improvement. To become a data scientist, you need a strong background in computer science and mathematics.

Data Mining Specialist Meaning: What Does a Data Mining Specialist Do?

Data mining specialists are tasked with several responsibilities that contribute to the general growth of a company, including collecting, analyzing, and presenting data. They also make projections based on that data. Below we examine these tasks more closely.

Collect and Analyze Data

One of the main roles of a data mining specialist is to collect data and analyze it. The goal is to find trends and patterns that can enhance business performance. These professionals rely on statistical tools and techniques to build algorithms and predictive models.

Present Data

Their deep knowledge of programming software and data visualization techniques helps data mining specialists arrive at useful insights. They organize their findings in the form of reports which they present to relevant stakeholders.

Make Projections

These experts make strategic recommendations that companies rely on to predict future trends. Based on the information supplied by these professionals, company executives are able to identify new ways of increasing productivity or improve other aspects of the business.

Essential Data Mining Specialist Skills

There are essential skills a data mining specialist must possess to help them navigate the industry with ease. Below we take a close look at some of the most in-demand technical skills in data mining. Combine these with solid soft skills, and you will have the upper hand in any job application.

Analytics Skills

You should familiarize yourself with multiple data analysis tools. Having in-depth knowledge of mathematics and statistics will help you excel as a data mining specialist. A four-year degree program in computer science, data science, or a related field will teach you the basics of regression modeling, data interpretation, and statistical packages.

Programming Skills

You must learn to code if you want a career in data mining. You’ll want to start with R, SQL, Java, and Perl. You should also be adept at software like Hadoop and SAS to develop a solid base for data analysis and remain competitive.

Business Intelligence

The main role of a data mining expert is to provide business insights. Therefore, you must be well versed in establishing and presenting findings to help the organization or business grow. Developing your expertise in this area will improve your chances of landing any role in the data science industry.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Data Mining Specialist?

You should set aside at least four years to become a data mining specialist. However, this is not set in stone. Some are able to start a career in data mining much faster by attending programs at a vocational school or bootcamp. Learn more about different education pathways to launch a career in data mining below.

Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Data Mining Specialist?

Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you become a data mining specialist. Data science bootcamp programs train students on multiple programming languages and data analysis tools. These bootcamps will walk you through SQL, R, Python, and other data science programming languages. You will also acquire hands-on experience in data mining tools and techniques.

The best coding bootcamps offer exceptional career support. They’ll help you polish your interview skills, improve your resumes, and develop the soft skills needed to advance in your career. Many bootcamps also have partnerships with hiring companies which makes it much easier for graduates to land jobs with top tech companies.

Can I Become a Data Mining Specialist from Home?

Yes, you can become a data mining specialist from home. Today, aspiring data mining professionals do not need to leave the comfort of their homes to learn new skills. There are plenty of online courses and programs available. These include top data science bootcamps, such as BrainStation, Flatiron, General Assembly, and DataCamp.

You can also choose to sign up for a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Today, there are many online learning platforms offering MOOCs on data science and related subjects. Some of the main ones are edX, Coursera, and Udemy.

How to Become a Data Mining Specialist: A Step-by-Step Guide

Many students want to know how to become a data mining specialist because of the promising job outlook. Take a look at the step-by-step guide we have put together below to find out how to start your career in data mining.

Step 1: Attend a Bootcamp or Online Course

Before committing to a career path by enrolling in a degree, it is always a good idea to test the waters by joining a shorter course or program. Attending an introductory bootcamp program will help you learn the basics and help you decide if a data mining career is for you.

Online courses in data science will be just as effective. You can check out Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on platforms like edX or Coursera. A MOOC can give you a great overview of this field, and they are much cheaper and shorter than coding bootcamps or university degrees.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Now that you know that data science is the right field for you, enroll in a four-year degree program. A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Data Science, or a related field will give you a proper foundation to excel as a data mining specialist. You will find that most hiring companies seek professionals with at least a bachelor’s degree.

Step 3: Gain Experience

Once you complete your four-year degree program, start applying for entry-level jobs in data science. An entry-level job will help you master the concepts in data mining you have learned during your studies. You can also apply for internship opportunities. Internships are a great way to get a feel for the job, gain experience, and develop your network.

Best Schools and Education for a Data Mining Specialist Career

There is a wide array of options out there to get the training you need for a career as a data mining specialist. Some choose the traditional path of a college degree while others opt for shorter alternatives like a coding bootcamp. Below we inspect these and other educational pathways to launch your data mining career.

Data Mining Specialist Bootcamps

Traditional education models are becoming less popular. Students today prefer acquiring education in a more flexible and affordable learning environment. This is why more and more aspiring data mining experts are choosing to enroll in data science bootcamps. The best data science bootcamps will teach you all the skills and tools you need to launch a successful career.

A bootcamp program will help you learn essential programming languages like R, Python, and SQL. You will also cover data visualization, Tableau, big data analytics, and machine learning. Most data science bootcamp programs take three to nine months to complete. Most of them also offer career services to assist you during the job search and beyond.

Vocational School

A vocational school may not be the best option for your career ambitions. These institutions generally specialized in teaching practical skills for trade occupations, and data science is not commonly part of their offer. You are much better off looking at other options like community colleges, universities, or coding bootcamps.

Community College

Some community colleges offer Associate Degrees in Data Science that can be completed in two years. This is a great alternative to learn the basics of data science as well as acquire advanced skills. Community colleges are popular because they are more affordable than universities and have fewer requirements for enrollment.

Data Mining Specialist Degrees

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree is the traditional route and also the most popular option. For a career in data mining, consider majoring in data science, computer science, statistics, or business administration. You will build a solid foundation that will allow you to handle statistical software and develop predictive models to find actionable insights.

Some data mining specialists opt to pursue advanced degrees in data science to fine-tune their skills. This is an excellent idea if you want to advance your career further and access exciting new job opportunities and a higher salary.

The Most Important Data Mining Specialist Certificates

As a nascent field, the data mining industry doesn’t have any professional certification of note. However, there are plenty of certificate programs out there that can help set you apart from the competition. Let’s look at three of the most popular ones.

Data Mining Specialization by Coursera

This specialization course will take you through multiple data mining techniques and tools. The course covers clustering, text mining, and pattern discovery. In eight months, you will have enough knowledge to start applying for entry-level jobs in the field.

Professional Certificate in Data Mining & Machine Learning by Udemy

Sign up for this course to acquire skills in unsupervised learning, machine learning, and Java programming. This course, composed of 24 hours of on-demand video, is designed for working professionals in the data mining industry who seek to upskill.

Online Undergraduate Certificate in Data Mining and Analytics by DeVry University

This certificate program will help you acquire essential skills to build and test data models. The course is fully online, teaching you what you need to kickstart your data mining career, from the basics to advanced concepts. You will earn a certificate of completion.

How to Prepare for Your Data Mining Specialist Job Interview

Just like any other job interview, you must prepare well to show potential employers that you have the skills they are looking for in a data mining specialist. Below you will find a few common questions to practice beforehand and ace your interview.

Data Mining Specialist Job Interview Practice Questions

  • What are some advantages and disadvantages of data mining?
  • Describe your favorite data mining techniques.
  • What soft skills are required for data mining?
  • Describe the data mining process.
  • What’s the difference between data mining and data warehousing?

Should I Become a Data Mining Specialist in 2021?

Yes, you should become a data mining specialist in 2021. This career path offers great employment prospects, high salaries, and high job satisfaction. If you have a knack for math and statistics and are looking to join a rapidly expanding field, then becoming a data mining specialist is a sound career choice.


Can You Become a Data Mining Specialist Without a Degree?
Yes, you can become a data mining specialist without a degree. You can opt to join a data science bootcamp or sign up for an online course to learn the basics and advanced concepts of data mining. These options will open up entry-level job opportunities.
Is It Hard to Become a Data Mining Specialist?
Becoming a data mining specialist is not hard if you are good with numbers and statistical analysis. You will need to invest time and resources to learn an array of tools and techniques that are essential in the field. If you put enough effort and time, you should have no problem starting a career as a data miner.
Is Data Mining a Good Job?
Yes, data mining is a good job. There is a growing demand for data mining specialists around the world, and they enjoy handsome salaries to boot. In addition, you’ll enjoy high job satisfaction as you see how your insights shape company goals and policies.
What Does a Data Mining Course Entail?
A course in data mining covers machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, business analytics, data visualization, mining tools, business intelligence, and statistical methods. You are also likely to learn programming languages like R, SQL, Java, and Perl as well as tools like Tableau and SAS.
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