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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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
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.
2016 Median Salary*
Computer Systems Analysts
Market Research Analysts
Operations Research Analysts
*Data obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Featured Schools for Data Science
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 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.
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.
Top Companies for Data Science
Booz Allen Hamilton
*Data obtained from Glassdoor.com
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Carnegie Mellon University
Eamonn J. Keogh
University of California, Riverside
University of Minnesota
University of Munich
Simon Fraser University
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Philip S. Yu
University of Illinois, Chicago
*Information obtained from KDnuggets.com
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