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Data Science: Career Outlook

Champlain College Online

Why Data Science Continues to be a Great Career Choice

Data science continues to be one of the most in-demand fields. The explosive growth of this industry – data science roles have increased by 650% since 2012 – can be attributed to the evolution of the internet, where each online interaction is a trackable data point. Since 2019, hiring in the data science industry has increased by 46%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that big data jobs will increase much faster than all other occupations, by 27.9% through 2026.

What is Data Science?

Today, companies rely on data to make informed business decisions. The act of transforming a company into a data-driven organization is no small task. That’s why organizations need experts who know how to acquire and transform data into a resource that can bring value to a company and guide strategy.

That’s where data scientists come in: these professionals use scientific methods to extract insights and value from structured and unstructured data. Data science includes preparing data for analysis and involves using programming skills and knowledge of mathematics and statistics to perform advanced data analysis.

Data science differs from data analytics and business intelligence and, like machine learning, is a subset of artificial intelligence. The goal of data analytics is to identify patterns and trends in data that can then be used by companies to make predictions and inform decisions, focusing on future predictions and trends. Business intelligence looks at historical data and uses descriptive analytics and data visualization, with a focus on the present.

Ultimately, data is the key to making well-informed business decisions, including those that boost ROI. Regardless of which “data career” you are interested in pursuing, a mix of technical aptitude and soft skills is required to be successful.

Is Data Science a Good Career?

For four consecutive years, Glassdoor has ranked data scientist as the number one job in the United States. You can find applications of data science everywhere. The government uses data to inform public policy decisions, the healthcare industry uses data to identify trends in public health and forecast the future of medicine, and transportation can use predictive analytics to understand public transport needs. From healthcare to information security to manufacturing and supply chains, data science is shaping the future of nearly every industry.

Data Science: Jobs and Salaries

Given data science’s range of opportunities, the field appeals to professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, and career goals. Analytical skills and technical proficiency are at the core of data science job qualifications. Most working in the field have successfully completed a graduate program.

Here are some of the leading data science careers you can break into with a graduate degree:

  • Data scientist: Data scientists find, mine, and organize large volumes of structured or unstructured data. These professionals are responsible for making sense of large, jumbled data sets and extracting insights that can be used to optimize existing business practices or inform strategic decisions. As data scientists interpret data, they use a programming language to build forecasting models and algorithms to extract even more insight. Most data scientists hold at least a master’s degree and, depending on the field, sometimes a Ph.D. The average annual salary for a data scientist is $117,212 (December 2021).
  • Data architect: Data architects are responsible for building data solutions and analytics configurations that allow for the efficient collecting, mining, and organizing of data. These professionals are often tasked with creating solutions that convert raw, unorganized data into usable information and actionable insights. Data architecture allows businesses to operate efficiently through the effective acquisition, storage, and usage of data. The average salary for data architects is $122,813 (December 2021).
  • Business intelligence (BI) developer: These professionals design and maintain business intelligence interfaces to extract and transform data sets. These interfaces can include interactive dashboards, data visualization, and query tools. BI developers play a large role in effectively presenting and organizing data so that it can be easily managed and understood by other team members or clients. The average base salary for business intelligence developers is approximately $93,606 (December 2021).
  • Data analyst: Data analysts mine large data sets and prepare reports that present data points and list key takeaways. Unlike other positions in the data science field, data analyst positions are often entry-level and available for those looking to enter this field. A data analyst position is also a great way to build up the in-demand skills necessary for advancement into more sophisticated data science roles. Data analysts make an average of $64,916 a year (December 2021).

The circumstances and structure of every company is different, meaning the day-to-day responsibilities, qualifications, and salaries of these positions will vary. Academic background and professional experience play a role in hiring and starting salary.

Is a Graduate Data Science Certificate Worth It?

With 73% of data science professionals holding a graduate degree, it’s clear an advanced education is common in this industry. A master’s degree is a lifelong credential that can help students elevate their technical expertise and interdisciplinary skills. Graduate-level education can play a pivotal role in career advancement. According to GetEducated, one of the steps to becoming a data scientist is earning a master’s degree in data or a related field.

Champlain College Online (CCO) offers a master’s in information technology program where students can earn a graduate data science certificate. Students are required to complete courses in scripting for data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence, data analysis and mining, and data visualization.

If you already have a master’s degree and are employed in the tech sector but have aspirations of pursuing an advanced data science role, consider upskilling with CCO’s standalone graduate data science certificate. The graduate certificate in data science is a great way for working professionals to gain the advanced technical skills and expert-level knowledge necessary to compete in today’s competitive industry.

CCO’s 100% online graduate programs are flexible to fit the busy schedules of today’s adult learners - which make them ideal for career changers and career advancers. Ready to take the next step in your career? Explore CCO's data science programs. 

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