Beyond a great laptop and desktop computer, there are a few essential accessories for data science that will help you enhance your productivity and streamline your workflow, whether you are in the office, working from home or traveling.
We know the importance of data security and privacy while on-the-go, so this our favorite data science accessories emphasize secure connectivity and efficiency without sacrificing style or functionality.
1. Noise-cancelling Headphones: Whether you travel a lot and want to block out airplane and train noise, or are working from home with a loud roommate or neighbor, a premium pair of noise cancelling headphones is essential for data scientists. Most of data science requires careful concentration, so having a way to listen to your favorite music while blocking out distracting noise can be a huge productivity booster. There are a few options out there for quality noise-canceling headphones, and our two recommendations are the Bose Quiet Comfort Q35 II Bluetooth Noise Canceling Headphones and the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones. Some high-end earbuds also offer noise-cancelling features and more convenience for listening to data science podcasts or e-books, which can also be a great choice.
2. Portable wireless USB or Bluetooth mouse: If you have every tried to complete a large project across multiple software packages on a laptop with only a touch pad, you can relate to the need for a reliable and accurate wireless mouse. In years past, wireless mouses were large and clunky, but recently released wireless mice are smaller and better designed for portability. The newest ones have invisible light sensors on the bottom to track mouse movement and they work great on any surfaces you might encounter. If you are interested in geospatial mapping in a program like QGIS or ArcGIS Pro that involves a lot of clicking, an accurate wireless mouse with a long-lasting battery is absolutely essential.
3. Fingerprint reader with USB interface: Another accessory for data science that you might not even think you need but that can greatly enhance your security on your laptop is a USB fingerprint reader. Although passwords are the tried and true security solution, they can sometimes be easily guessed and are often forgotten. Newer laptop computers are shipping with fingerprint readers that provide another way to sign in to your computer and websites, while providing added security and convenience of using a fingerprint as a form of biometric login credentials. There are a few USB fingerprint readers on the market to use in a laptop and this is our pick for the most reliable and easy-to-setup model sold by a reputable brand.
4. Portable High-capacity USB drive or SSD hard drive: During your journey to learn and develop skills in data science, you will inevitably need to store data (and sometimes big data!) locally on storage media, either for transferring it to another computer or for archival purposes. This is the perfect situation for a portable SSD or high-capacity USB “thumb” drive and both can also really come in handy for travel use. Almost all offerings in this category contain additional shock and drop protection (and even water-resistance), but make sure to check for these features whenever you are looking to actually buy a USB drive or SSD hard drive. Check out this portable SSD model with 1 TB of storage, which is more than enough for most of the data you might be looking to store and transport in your data science career.
5. Presentation remote with laser pointer and USB interface: We have tried several USB presentation remotes with built-in laser pointers, and the Logitech R800 consistently stands out among the competition. It contains a removable USB dongle that is plug and play on any Windows or Mac computer, meaning that there is no software to install and it works within seconds of plugging it into any computer. This universal compatibility is especially important when traveling and having to use someone else’s computer at a conference, educational presentation or business meeting. The laser pointer on the R800 is a brighter green color and it has several buttons built in to advance, rewind, start slide show and jump to a blank screen, as well as a handy timer on a built-in LCD screen.
While we are on the topic of presentations, we also recommend our page on Statistics in R for tips on data visualization to make compelling graphics, as well as adding high-quality professional photography in your presentation slides to make sure your talk will wow audiences. If you liked these recommendations and are looking for more data science essentials, check our our expert reviews of laptops and desktops, as well as our reviews of data science courses from leading internet education providers.