5 things every student should know about data science

We are now entering a new decade and, as such, there is a lot of discussion about the “jobs of the future”. As the 2020s begin, like any other decade, there will be jobs and entire professions that will fall by the wayside and cease to exist. There will also be new career paths and industries that explode and entirely new jobs created that the world has never seen before.

No group thinks about these jobs of the future more than students. They are on the precipice of entering the workforce and will be the ones expected to fill these new, important jobs. One of these industries and jobs of the further in 2020 is data science. When you hear this term you may be asking yourself, what exactly is data science? And, why is it important? Here are 5 things every student needs to know about data science. 

What data science is.

Data science is a term that encompasses a wide range of jobs and fields. Oracle, a leader in the data science space, provides a good general definition. “Data science is an interdisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms, and systems to extract value from data,” they say. “Data science reveals trends and produces insights that businesses can use to make better decisions and create more innovative products and services. Data is the bedrock of innovation, but its value comes from the information data scientists can glean from it and then act upon.”

The overall idea is that data science unlocks the information and comes up with conclusions from Big Data. Healthcare Weekly dives deeper into exactly what Big Data is and how it is used but basically, Big Data is all the information that is gleaned from businesses every day. Within this data, there are tons of insights that can be found when it is analyzed thoroughly and correctly. That is where data science comes in. 

Why data science is important.

Data science is important because it allows businesses to make better, information-based decisions and improve their processes and their offerings. Ideally, when this happens, it will result in better outcomes for both the businesses involved in data science and the consumers they serve.

Many fields rely on data science. One very interesting one where there will be a big demand for skilled workers in the future is in artificial intelligence. AI will reshape the way we do business in the future and will transform how we more. For example, as Digital Authority Partners does a good job at explaining exactly how AI is reshaping modern marketing. 

Other niches within data science include but are not limited to:

  • Data Engineering and Data Warehousing
  • Data Mining and Statistical Analysis
  • Cloud and Distributed Computing
  • Database Management and Architecture
  • Business Intelligence and Strategy
  • ML / Cognitive Computing Development
  • Data Visualization and Presentation
  • Operations-Related Data Analytics
  • Market-Related Data Analytics
  • Sector-Specific Data Analytics (Healthcare, Finance, Insurance, etc.)

Why you want to get into data science.

The simplest reasons to go into this field are the fact that there is huge growth potential and companies are paying extremely well for skilled workers in data science. The field is so hot right now that the job website Glassdoor.com has named Data Scientist #1 on their list of “Best Jobs in America” for 4 years running, from 2016 to 2019 and it is almost assured to take the top spot again when the new list is released in 2020.

There are multiple reasons for this winning streak for Data Scientists. The profession comes with a median base salary of $108,000 per year, which is higher than all but a few professions on the list of the Top 50. People in the industry report a 4.3 out of 5 for job satisfaction, another number that puts it among the top jobs on the list. Finally, there are over 6,500 open jobs with this title right now meaning that the demand is definitely there. 

Skills you need in data science.

Being that data science encompasses so many specific fields, there is not just one major skill or small set of skills you need to enter the industry. However, there is a set of skills and proficiencies that will be helpful in the industry. According to CIO Magazine, some of the most in-demand skills for data science include:  

  • Critical thinking
  • Coding
  • Math
  • Machine learning, deep learning, AI
  • Communication
  • Data architecture
  • Risk analysis, process improvement, systems engineering
  • Problem-solving and good business intuition

How to get into data science.

If you are currently a student and think you have some, most, or all of the skills listed above, data science could be a great career choice for you. When picking a major or degree to pursue, you will want to work towards earning a bachelor’s degree in either IT, computer science, math, physics, or a similar related field. From there, you will need a master’s degree in one of these fields or specifically in data science. Some of the top U.S. schools that offer a master’s degree program for data science include:

  • Columbia University
  • Syracuse University
  • Drexel University
  • University of California, Berkeley, Santa Barbra, and San Diego
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Indiana, Bloomington
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Northeastern University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • University of Missouri, Columbia

Some of these schools even offer this master’s degree as an online program. 

Conclusion 

The main thing that every student needs to know about data science is that it is one of, if not the best fields to go into in 2020. Between the pay, the satisfaction it brings, the demand, and the work itself, data science is an industry that has been exploding in growth in the last few years and there is seemingly no end to this growth in sight. If you are a student who has or is willing to develop some of the most important skills associated with data science, you will be able to set yourself up perfectly to ride this wave of the future.

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