As we create and use more devices to run our businesses and personal aspects of our lives, the data to be obtained from them becomes more valuable. Data scientists review data for insights that can provide new opportunities for various organizations. They understand how to find the meaning in seemingly unrelated information and tie it together to form a clear picture.
What is a Master’s in Data Science Degree?
A Master’s in Data Science allows career professionals to deepen their understanding of data use that can help organizations make more informed decisions. Areas of focus for an M.S. in data science includes business analytics and information systems.
Data analytics focuses on using data to help understand economic trends when it comes to consumers, U.S. markets, and the world. Information systems enable you to leverage technology in ways that allow institutions and organizations to properly collect and secure vital data.
Students enrolled in a Master’s program in Data Science program learn how to combine a theoretical understanding of data systems architecture and data collection with industry skills like data visualization and analysis. Data scientists use these to view information dashboards and provide reports back to those who make decisions based on the feedback.
What is the Salary Outlook for Data Scientists With a Master’s Degree?
Data scientists can earn median base salaries ranging from $95,000 for those with less than three years of professional experience to $165,000 for those with ten or more years of experience. Pay increases have remained steady since 2017 after seeing rapid increases in 2015 and 2016. It is possible to earn a high salary without moving into management, which may be ideal for those who wish to remain in a technical role throughout their career.
Since experience seems to be the most crucial factor in a successful data science career, a Master’s in Data Science may not have an immediate impact on your salary. However, it can provide opportunities for those who wish to move into managerial and executive positions. That can lead to higher earnings throughout your career.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that workers with a master’s degree earned around $68,000 in 2013 versus $58,000 for those who only had a bachelor’s degree. That increase was especially prevalent in STEM industries.
What are the Career Paths for Data Scientists With a Master’s Degree?
Here are some examples of career paths you could pursue once you obtain your Master’s in Data Science:
- Business Intelligence Developer — Business intelligence (BI) developers come up with designs and strategies to help business users locate information needed to aid in making better decisions. They either use out-of-the-box BI tools or build their own to assist an organization.
- Data Architect — Data architects validate the performance of data tools and create analytic applications for various platforms.
- Infrastructure Architect — Infrastructure architects oversee the performance of business systems within an organization. They make sure that new technologies can be supported by the current technology structures and recommend needed adjustments for maximum results.
- Application Architect — Application architects review the behavior of business applications and how they interact with users and each other.
- Data Analyst — Data analysts manipulate and transform large sets of data for the analysis needs of a business. The role may include analyzing A/B testing results and tracking web analytics.
- Data Engineer — Data engineers undertake real-time processing of data and make it readable for data scientists.
- Machine Learning Scientist — Machine learning scientists apply Artificial Intelligence and other machine learning technologies to come up with new approaches to research and development for organizations.
- Statistician — The role requires the interpretation, analyzation, and reporting of statistical information like data and formulas to suit the needs of an organization.
What is the Traditional Curriculum of a Master’s Program in Data Science?
Most programs require you to take around 30 to 40 hours of credits before obtaining a master’s degree in data science. Many also require you to complete a capstone project where you attempt to come up with and implement a solution that resolves a real-world problem.
Students usually start by taking classes covering subjects that introduce them to beginning aspects of data science. They also begin learning more about applications of probability and statistics. You may also find yourself required to take courses in machine learning and Big Data, both of which figure heavily into the work of many public and private industries.
Your institution may offer you the option of focusing on a particular aspect of data science. For example, a Big Data track would emphasize learning to collect, manage, research, and create visualizations from large pools of information. You would also learn more about the complexity of algorithms and gain experience creating solutions that address computational problems.
A mathematics track would lean more towards expanding your mathematical background. That knowledge can be leveraged for understanding and analyzing data in areas like deep learning high-dimensional statistics, compressed sensing, and graph signal processing. You are also exposed to explore fundamental research problems drawn up from new data science techniques being used.
Pursuing a natural language processing track gives you the chance to gain the skills needed to build machine learning models. They are capable of understanding, manipulating, or producing data that is expressed in a natural language text.
Concentrating on data science physics teaches you modeling and inference skills useful in data-intensive physics research projects. This is an ideal track for those with a physics background who wish to transition into a data science career. The data physics path may also help you leverage your skills to gain a competitive edge when applying for a job.
Some programs offer a concentration in data science biology, which shows students how to use data to understand how our bodies function. These computational skills can be applied to find solutions within the biomedical field. They may also offer a related track in biomedical informatics, which can help in new healthcare developments and discovering new opportunities to improve patient outcomes.
How Long Does it Normally Take to Obtain a Master’s in Data Science Degree?
Most master’s degree programs in data science take around four to five semesters to complete. You may be asked to complete anywhere from 21 to 40 credit hours. Some schools make it possible for students completing their B.S. in data science to move directly into M.S. coursework, which then takes a shorter amount of time to complete. Many educational institutions also make it possible to obtain an online master’s in data science, which you may be able to complete over a shorter period of time.