What You Should Know About This Degree
Born in the wake of the digital revolution, the data science profession is relatively new. As such, educational programs and career paths are still forming and evolving, making this an ideal career for people who like to be at the forefront of innovation and development.
Data scientists are not required to have any type of certifications to work professionally. However, there are optional certifications, such as the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP), that data scientists may choose to pursue as extra proof of knowledge and abilities.
As you research data science, you may see information about degrees in business analytics, a closely-related field that deals more with analyzing and using the data that data scientists collect. There are many opportunities in the business analytics field, so you may want to research that career path as well to determine which type of program is most closely aligned with your professional interests and goals.
Because data scientists work in a variety of different industries, specializing in an area or earning a dual degree can give you an edge as a job candidate. For example, if you want to work in a specific industry like finance or healthcare, you may want to attend a program that will allow you to also study that topic as well as data science.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Master’s in Data Science programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? Because of the specific knowledge and skills needed for advanced education in data science, most master’s programs require students have prior coursework or an undergraduate degree related to computer science. If you do not have this background, you may have to complete prerequisite courses prior to applying or enrolling.
- Does this program offer the concentration that I want? Multiple areas of specialization exist within the data science field, such as artificial intelligence, data engineering, and cybersecurity. If you have an interest in focusing on a particular topic within data science, find out if the program you’re researching offers a specialization in that topic.
As you identify the programs that interest you, be sure to research their application processes and deadlines to find out what standardized tests you will have to take and what materials you will need to submit. This information is usually available on the program’s webpage; you can also contact the program directly.
You should look into funding options, including scholarships, assistantships, and student loans. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers tuition assistance benefits.