Guide to a Master’s in Data Science

Data Science is an umbrella term that encompasses fields like data mining, machine learning, big data, data visualization, business analytics, bioinformatics, and statistics. Used in almost every industry big and small, data science comes in three main flavors:

  1. Inquiry – This form of data science is used widely by academia, governments, and research institutions to gain better understanding of both human and natural phenomena. One mission critical example can be found in the World Health Organization Collaborating Centers for Reference and Research on Influenza. Year round, the WHO coordinates with over 100 national influenza centers in over 100 countries to monitor the spread of influenza (Source: CDC).
  2. Analytics – This form of data science revolves around decision making, and is the most common form of data science found in the business world. On the customer facing side, data science is used to drive sales by determining, for example, where in a store to place a product, what keywords to target in a search, or what features to include in a product to target particular customers. Behind the scenes, data science is used to improve process quality, evaluate cost saving measures, and evaluate employee performance.
  3. Intelligent Machines – While analytics allows a user to make data driven decisions, intelligent machines take it a step a further, and make these decisions themselves. These tools play a huge role in automation, especially in the IT industry where intelligent machines are battling each other for ad space and user attention. A new up and coming intelligent machine is the self-driving car. Who knows where else in our lives we will soon find intelligent machines?

A career in data science will often entail taking part in two or all three forms of data science. To use weather forecasting as an example. First, researchers try to understand weather phenomena by refining theories and models with more and more data. While phenomena like rain are mostly understood, other phenomena like tornadoes are still at research stage (Source: PBS NOVA). Once a theoretical framework is established, they may next build a forecasting model to predict future phenomena, an intelligent machine. They may then be asked by governments to serve as analysts as officials try to balance the cost and risk associated with a mass evacuation against the risk and cost of partial evacuations or shelter in place orders.

The possibilities available for data scientists are endless.


“Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century”

– Harvard Business Review


Job Prospects

The field of data science is expected to grow 28% by 2020 according to IBM (Source: Forbes.com). Companies from different industries need data scientists and analysts to make sense of big data and to create a business strategy from that information.

Job
Growth*
2016 Median Salary*
Actuaries
18%
$100,610
Computer Systems Analysts
21%
$87,220
Economists
6%
$101,050
Financial Analysts
12%
$81,760
Market Research Analysts
19%
$62,560
Mathematicians
21%
$105,810
Operations Research Analysts
30%
$79,200
Statisticians
34%
$80,500

*Data obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Featured Schools for Data Science

UC Berkeley

The Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) is an online degree program for professionals looking to advance in the field of data science. Drawing upon the social sciences, computer science, statistics, management and law, the programs prepare students to solve real-world problems by deriving insights from complex and unstructured data. Students in the program benefit from UC Berkeley’s strong ties to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Visit datascience.berkeley.edu to learn more about datascience@berkeley.

Syracuse

Syracuse University’s online Master of Science in Applied Data Science is designed for professionals who want to gain specialization skills to excel in their evolving field. Featuring live online classes, interactive coursework and opportunities to network, the online learning format facilitates collaboration, problem-solving and in-depth analysis within an interdisciplinary curriculum. Students focus on pulling insights to drive business decision-making and operational processes using applications of data. Visit datascience.syr.edu to learn more about DataScience@Syracuse.

Another program offered by Syracuse is the Master of Science in Business Analytics. Delivered online by the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, BusinessAnalytics@Syracuse helps data-driven thinkers develop or sharpen their ability to interpret complex data and guide their organizations in making more informed and actionable decisions. Through an action-oriented online learning format, students develop and hone their expertise in areas such as predictive analytics, data modeling, and information systems. Visit onlinebusiness.syr.edu to learn more about BusinessAnalytics@Syracuse.

Southern Methodist University

Designed for working professionals looking to advance their careers, DataScience@SMU is an online Master of Science in Data Science from Southern Methodist University. DataScience@SMU’s interdisciplinary curriculum draws from SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering and Meadows School of the Arts. Classes and coursework focus on statistics, computer science, strategic behavior and data visualization skills so students can drive decision-making and advance in careers across industries.

The program blends live online classes, self-paced coursework and in-person learning experiences with classmates and faculty. Visit datascience.smu.edu to learn more about DataScience@SMU.

American University

Analytics@American is the online Master of Science in Analytics (MSAn) from American University’s Kogod School of Business. Through a combination of collaborative online classes, self-paced coursework, and hands-on learning experiences, students become experts in evidence-based data gathering, data modeling, and quantitative analysis. Analytics@American classes are designed by Kogod faculty members who take a student-centered, team-based approach to delivering a world-class business education. Visit onlinebusiness.american.edu to learn more about Analytics@American.

Sponsored Programs

Top Companies for Data Science

Company
Company Rating*
Median Salary*
Opendoor
4.7
$137,500
Facebook
4.6
$134,715
Google
4.4
$152,856
LinkedIn
4.3
$132,196
Zillow
4.3
$114,643
Salesforce
4.2
$117,913
Uber
4.2
$122,432
Microsoft
4.0
$123,011
Cisco Systems
3.9
$116,913
Twitter
3.9
$135,360
Airbnb
3.8
$127,852
Capital One
3.8
$107,760
Booz Allen Hamilton
3.7
$85,260
eBay
3.7
$114,335
Nielsen
3.6
$73,667
IBM
3.5
$109,597
Oracle
3.4
$107,061
Walmart eCommerce
3.3
$118,662

*Data obtained from Glassdoor.com

Leading Researchers

Researcher
Affiliation
Total Publications*
Andrew McCallum
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
256
Christos Faloutsos
Carnegie Mellon University
484
Eamonn J. Keogh
University of California, Riverside
196
George Karypis
University of Minnesota
330
Hans-Peter Kriegel
University of Munich
452
Heikki Mannila
Aalto University
283
Jian Pei
Simon Fraser University
419
Jiawei Han
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
655
Philip S. Yu
University of Illinois, Chicago
788
Rakesh Agrawal
Microsoft
359

*Information obtained from KDnuggets.com

Masters In Data Science is owned and operated by 2U, inc.