Bachelor’s in Data Science
Big data is not just a buzz word that is going away any time soon. Understanding the role of data in our world is the job of data scientists based on their in-depth knowledge of Data scientists can be game-changers in a variety of industries, and these professionals are finding themselves in constant demand. A bachelor’s degree in data science can provide countless opportunities in business, government, e-commerce, social media consulting and many other industries for lifelong career progression. As you will see below, the demand for workers with a background in data science is only anticipated to grow in the coming years, which means promising career opportunities and salary potential for those seeking a bachelor’s degree in data science.
What is Data Science?
In the wake of big data, data science involves reviewing and analyzing huge datasets that are not easily examined using traditional statistical methods. Data science involves both structured and unstructured data. Structured data refers to sets of numbers that can be more easily identified and quantified, such as metrics generated from a smart device. It does not necessarily have to only include numbers, but it generally does. Unstructured data is a bit more nebulous, but it still very important for companies to understand. For example, online customer reviews and comments, photos or multimedia files are all unstructured data.
In preparing for a career in data science, students will develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills to accurately gather, assess and explain large sets of data efficiently. They will also enhance their computer programming and analysis skills because this is a tech-driven field. Students in data science programs explore fundamental mathematical concepts because even if the data is not originally presented in numerical form, data scientists will need to use basic mathematical concepts to effectively organize the data they encounter.
In addition to those fundamental concepts, students of data science may begin to narrow down the industry in which they expect to work after a few semesters of introductory study. This will allow the student to gain a more in-depth understanding of the concepts that they are likely to review on a daily basis in their careers. For example, data scientists working in social media analytics will be performing a different type of data analysis in their profession than those who analyze sales trends in e-commerce. In addition, data scientists working within scientific fields will require a detailed understanding of the scientific concepts that they are dissecting. The good news is that a bachelor’s degree in data science conveys to a wide range of potential employers that you possess the science, processing and analytical skills to add value to a company or government agency on multiple levels.
Potential Job Titles for a Data Science Career
Data scientists are the professionals who deal with and make sense of big data and unique datasets. They are also sometimes called data analysts, and these job titles are relatively new developments in the wake of the big data revolution. Job descriptions and government websites may also include data scientists within the category of statisticians or computer programmers. The job title for this career field tends to vary based on the specific sector that a data scientist is working in. For instance, data scientists in the computer programming field are more likely to be referred to as computer and information research scientists or analysts.
Data Science Career and Salary Outlook
The wonderful thing about starting out a career in the data science field is that there is no shortage of data to analyze. Big data is being produced at record rates and is only projected to grow exponentially in both the public and private sectors. This means that employers will continue to need data scientists or data analysts to help them manage and make sense of the massive amounts of data that they are gathering. In fact, there is a current shortage of up to 190,000 jobs for workers with a bachelor’s degree in data science.
Careers in the field of data science pay well above the average salary for a full-time worker in the U.S. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in data science can expect a median starting salary of around $67,000. This is a career field with plenty of upward mobility based on an employee’s years of experience and investment in their own professional development. For example, federal government jobs that require a bachelor’s degree in data science will pay more than $126,000 for those employees who have more years of experience. Given that big data is only expected to increase the need for employees with this degree and background, it is safe to say that employees can continue to accrue their years of experience in this field for an expected salary increase as long as they are interested in working in this career.
Data science programs typically involve the study of traditional statistical methods, although this is supplemented with learning new ways to track and analyze data. Courses in mathematics, statistics, computer programming, graphic elements and other science courses are standard requirements for most bachelor’s degree programs in data science at major colleges and universities. It takes most students at least four years to earn a bachelor’s degree in data science from an accredited college or university.
Many bachelor’s degree programs in data science will provide students with access to externship and career shadowing opportunities to help them to start zoning in on the specific field that they want to work in. Internship opportunities are a great way to supplement traditional classroom curriculum because they demonstrate to potential employers that a data science student possesses the soft skills it takes to succeed in this career as well as the fundamental mathematical concepts.