Data scientists leverage large amounts of raw data to draw valuable insights to help organizations reach goals and make sound business decisions. With an ever-growing amount of data collected in the world every second, the need for talented data scientists grows across every industry. As a result, there are now several institutions offering Best Masters in Data Science programs around the United States.
Demand for Data Scientists
It’s no secret that the demand for data scientists has continued to soar over the past few years. In a 2017 report, IBM estimated that by 2020 there would be an increase of 364,000 job openings for data and analytics talent in the United States alone. In addition, these specific data-centered skills have risen in popularity across job postings:
- Data Science: +40%
- Quantitative Data Analysis: +38%
- Data Visualization: +31%
- Machine Learning: +17%
- And so on…
An Indeed report from January 2019 also revealed a massive upswing in employer demand for skilled data-driven professionals. In just one year (from 2017 to 2018), job postings on the site targeting “data scientists” increased nearly 30 percent. With no signs of data creation slowing down in the foreseeable future, the field of data science will continue to grow. Consequently, there’s no telling what new positions will appear in the coming years.
Data Science Salaries
Data Scientists in 2019 enjoyed an average base pay of $117,345, according to Glassdoor. This salary varies by industry, location, and experience. Comparatively, Data Analysts can expect to earn $67,000/year and Data Engineers about $116,000/year. If you’re planning on participating in Masters in Data Science programs, you will have a bright future for your career and high earning potential. The same Indeed report referenced earlier states that the highest paying data science positions are clustered around Houston, San Francisco, and Seattle. Of course, it’s important to also factor in living cost when considering salaries.
What to Consider When Choosing a Masters in Data Science Program
1. The Faculty
Are the professors in your desired field of study experts or thought leaders in their field? Master’s degree students are more likely to interact directly with professors, so it is important to understand where your professor’s research and expertise lie, and whether it aligns with your own interests.Universities with best Masters in data science programs often have faculty pages specific to their schools featuring their lead researchers.
2. Potential Employers
What employers are frequenting the university’s career fairs? What companies are sponsoring or partnering with the university in research? If you intend to look for new employment after graduation, applying at a company that has already built a relationship with a good university can bring quicker, better results. Even if you already have an employer, you may interact with other companies for research, case studies, and tours; so knowing what companies you will be learning from is an important consideration. Be sure to visit the career pages of these universities, but also study the background of your program’s faculty, including what companies they worked with.
Make sure to do your research. One sign of a credible university is accreditation by a reputable organization. Accreditation ensures that the university’s degree programs meet a minimum quality standard, and ensures that graduates of a program meet a set of graduation criteria. All of the universities listed on this page have proper accreditation.
4. Overall Reputation
There are countless websites that aim to rank foremost universities based on algorithms consider a variety of factors. The most popular ranking system for most universities in the US is the US News & World Report. The best universities table below shows the overall ranking, but you would want to see how the university fairs in the subject of your interest. For those interested in a MS in Data Science, do ranking bodies consider the university to be a leading university in information science and computing? Please remember that rankings are meant to be guidelines to evaluate university reputation; they are not meant to be treated as decisive factors on their own.
5. Masters of Data Science Requirements
Many Masters in Data Science programs require at least a strong quantitative background, knowledge of data structures, and linear algebra. Some programs may also require working proficiency in data wrangling programming languages, such as R, Python, or SQL.
Best Universities with Master’s in Data Science
*Hybrid degree programs are on-campus programs that offer many classes online as well, which could potentially allow students to take an entire semester online.