To make sure you succeed in data science and whether you are just starting out or are an experienced programmer, you need the right technology. There are a few essential pieces of tech that will help you to maximize your efficiency and help you stay productive.
This page provides a rundown of the top 5 essential technological tools for data science, which can greatly enhance your workflow whether you typically work from a home office, remotely or in a more conventional office building.
1. A desktop computer (with enough hard drive space and memory to run the latest versions of data science software packages): An updated and reliable desktop computer is an essential technological tool for learning and applying data science skills in major statistical software packages. Two of our picks for desktop computers are the performance-focused Alienware AUR5-12571SLV Desktop with Intel i-7 Processor and the ever popular 27-inch iMac, which can both handle almost all computational tasks in the present and near future.
Older desktops with limited amounts of RAM or 32-bit systems are usually okay for more basic analyses, but more complex models and machine learning algorithms require more computing power. For a detailed rundown of our desktop picks, check out our expert reviews of the Top Desktop Computers for Data Science.
2. A laptop computer (with a high-quality mobile processor, SSD hard drive with an ac high-speed Wi-Fi card): A modern and sturdy laptop computer is another required piece of technology for learning and applying data science skills using major statistical software packages. Right now, our two favorite laptop computers are the 17-inch Dell Inspiron 17 3000 Laptop and New 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro, both of which offer 9th‑generation Intel Core i7 processors that can handle computationally-intensive software without slowing down.
While laptops for data science are typically a bit larger than laptops for everyday use, their faster, multi-core processors, larger RAM capacity and generously sized solid-state hard drives are worth the added bulk. For a detailed rundown of our recommended laptops, check out our expert reviews of the Top Laptop Computers for Data Science.
3. A secured high-speed travel router and VPN (for accessing work documents and secured data while working at home or on-the-go when traveling for work): As you hone your skills in data science and statistics, and begin applying them in your career, you will inevitably run into situations in which you need to work with secured and sensitive data sets on-the-go.
In your travels, you might encounter public Wi-Fi networks in airports, hotels or conference centers, which lack security safeguards for any internet traffic to or from your computer. To make sure you can continue your data science work uninterrupted, we highly recommend getting a portable travel router, which allows you to create a secure, password-protected hotspot from any pubic Wi-Fi hotspot and then connect your own devices to browse safely and securely.
For situations in which you can’t use your travel router or for added protection when surfing the internet, we also recommend that you download and install a VPN client on your laptop, desktop and smart phone, which effectively creates a safe and entirely private tunnel to access the internet.
4. A high-capacity external battery power bank (to provide extra power for your laptop, tablet and smart phone while on-the-go): Even if you have a great laptop, it is limited by the size of its built-in battery and must be used near a power outlet with its charger. This is where high-capacity external battery power banks really come in handy!
These helpful pieces of technology can be used to charge all kinds of laptops, tablets and smart phones, with some even containing more than two full charges for a laptop. Some external power banks even have solar panel inputs to charge up the battery, which could be an essential feature for people who need to run data science programs while traveling off the grid or to remote places for work or leisure.
They can also especially come in handy if you need to give a presentation with your laptop and don’t have an outlet nearby! On the subject of presentations, we also recommend getting a USB presentation remote with laser pointer (see our expert picks here) and using high-quality professional photography along with your data visualizations to really make a positive impact with your presentation content.
5. Protective computer glasses and eyewear (to protect the eyes and vision from harmful blue light from LED and LCD screens): While most people think that glasses are only used for people who need vision assistance or who want sun protection, some doctors are now recommending that special protective glasses should be worn by people who are frequent computers users. Luckily, technology companies have started to produce stylish, affordable and comfortable glasses that are designed to protect the eyes against harmful blue light that can cause eye strain, sleep disturbances, and vision distortions.