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Skills Needed for Scientists

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There are as many types of scientists as their areas of study, from the physical sciences like geology and physics to the social sciences, like sociology and anthropology. Each requires specialized skills and education, but all of these are specializations. The qualities and skills of a scientist transcend the basic job description.


Analytical skills are very important in all fields of science. The ability to analyze and draw conclusions from gathered data is essential. Whether it's research into the formation of mountain ranges or the origin of cultural trends, scientists must be able to look at the available data and create testable hypotheses that fit the facts.


Scientists need organizational skills on many levels, such as when recording the results of experiments, collecting data or compiling research for reports and papers. Scientists must keep samples organized, research accessible and be able to organize their hypotheses and conclusions in a clear and concise manner.

Concentration and Persistence

Much of a scientist’s work is detail oriented and often requires repeated testing and long-term focus. It’s important for a scientist to push forward even when it’s not clear where the results are heading. Concentration and persistence allow a scientist to continue in the face of uncertainty and to focus on the goal.


While some scientists work alone and others work in teams, communication is essential. Whether it’s communicating with an interdisciplinary team or explaining forensic evidence in a courtroom, scientists need to be able to boil complex concepts down to the simple.

Interdisciplinary Understanding

It’s important for scientists to understand their own field of study, but also having a grasp of other fields opens up lines of communication. As fields of study become more specialized, it becomes more common for scientists to work in interdisciplinary teams. Communication within such a team is easier when the different members have an understanding of one another’s fields.