You will need some kind of advanced degree for most positions, but doing a data science bootcamp can help. The bootcamps work best if you have some kind of data experience (science, analytics, etc.) ahead of time.
I was working in R&DE and got an entry-level role supporting the automation groups. This got me interested in coding and software engineering, which lead me to get a masters in data science, which got me my job
The role of a data scientist depends on if you are a specialist or generalist. As a Data Science generalist, my day is highly varied. I will work on visualizations using different tools, including extraction and transformations, doing some data infrastructure work, basic ad hoc analysis, or doing some machine learning or predictive analytics. The variability is the main draw.
I love learning new things every day and being able to hone up on new skills. The ability to always learn something new is the main draw for me.
If you struggle with complex problem solving and hate figuring out things by yourself, this isn't the career for you. You spend a lot of time struggling to solve problems that no one in the company can solve and spend a lot of time online looking into solutions. If you can't learn on your own, this isn't for you.
This is entry / mid level compensation which is mostly stable after this point, but the career is so new this is still speculative.
This career is so new you can get into it in multiple ways. Getting a degree in statistics or computer science can help, or getting a Ph.D. in basically anything analytical. These analytical skills and coding will be helpful to transfer to data science.
Data science bootcamps or getting a master's in Data Science will help you if you want to jump in mid-career as I did.
Be careful if you see job postings that are posted up with impossible to reach standards. These are constantly up for months and won't likely be filled. Don't be discouraged if you see these.
Learning new tools is a must. You will constantly need to work on learning new tools, packages, etc. Being able to learn on your own and pick up tools easily is a must. Find an excuse to try new programming languages because you might need to use lots of them.
This career is growing with high growth. This career is also very undefined so it might be difficult to find exactly what you want. Be careful there are a lot of companies who keep a job posting up for a dream candidate that they might never find.