Executive Education

5 Data Science Degrees For Transitioning to a New Career

data science degree

It’s no secret that the demand for data scientists is increasing. Each year since 2013, job search platforms have recorded a 29 percent increase in data science-related job postings.

However, the number of data scientists is not keeping up with the demand. Over this same period, searches for data science jobs increased by only 14 percent, suggesting that there is more demand for data scientists than people who possess these skills.

Why is there such a need for data scientists? Companies in all sectors need to discover actionable insights from the massive amounts of data they’re collecting. Further, the need for AI and machine learning in many industries also has increased the demand for data scientists.

If you’re interested in data science, you may worry about having to start at the bottom of a new industry. This doesn’t have to be the case, however. Data scientists are needed within industries, so you can use your existing knowledge while successfully pivoting into a data science role.

How can make this change? Develop your skills in one of these online master’s degrees in data science.

Master of Computer Science (Featuring Data Science Track) at the University of Illinois Gies College of Business

If you’re hoping to complete your master’s degree at a prominent computer science school, the University of Illinois is a smart place to look. This top-five computer science school offers a Master of Computer Science in Data Science (MCS-DS) for students interested in gleaning insights from massive data sets. The MCS-DS degree program also builds your skills in cloud computing, data mining, data visualization, and machine learning. Another perk of this program is that you’ll be able to take statistics classes offered by the School of Information Sciences, the best Information School in the country.

Master of Applied Data Science (MADS) at the University of Michigan

Another highly-ranked school, the University of Michigan is the top public research university in the United States. Michigan’s online master’s degree teaches you skills in data ethics, machine learning, and natural language processing. You’ll learn these skills by focusing on real world problems and considering data visualization and context.

You do have to have a few prerequisites for this program, namely an understanding of Python and statistics. However, Michigan offers these classes for students who need to refresh their memories before beginning their degree programs. The extra work is worth it, however, as 98 percent of Michigan graduates find work in the field after graduation, many at prominent companies like Google and Facebook.

Master of Data Science at the National Research University Higher School of Economics

This Master of Data Science program is the first fully-online program offered by a Russian university. Ranked as one of the “Universities for the Future Elite: 100 Best Russian Universities According to Forbes – 2020,” the National Research University’s program is taught entirely in English and offers students opportunities to work with industry leaders, including Yandex, a global Internet services company.

You don’t have to have prior skills in data science or coding to enroll in this master’s program, either. Depending on your interests, you can choose three tracks within the program: Data Scientist, Machine Learning Engineer, and Researcher in Data Science. Completion of the degree will prepare you for a career as an analyst, academic researcher, machine learning engineer, software engineer, or data and computer scientist.

Master of Machine Learning and Data Science at Imperial College London

Imperial College London’s program is the first online master’s degree in machine learning from a school that ranks as one of the top 10 universities in the world. The Department of Mathematics delivers this program, which offers a curriculum for aspiring master in data sciencemachine learning engineers, data scientists, and computational statisticians.

The focus of the program is practical, with students learning skills like anomaly detection, probabilistic modeling, and deep learning that they’ll be able to put into practice in real-world projects. The skills you acquire in scalable machine learning design will also help you plan strategically as a data scientist in your field.

Master of Science in Data Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder 

If you have little to no experience in data science, the master’s program at the University of Colorado, Boulder may be for you. The degree program is designed to be “performance-based,” which means that you will begin with three, one-credit pathway courses in statistics or computer science that will prepare you to excel in your coursework. You’ll be able to continue along the course sequence if you’re able to pass through the performance courses with a B or better.

The master’s program itself is equally innovative, designed in a series of four-to-six week courses to teach students skills in computer science, natural language processing, information science, and other workplace-necessary competencies. When the program begins in the first half of 2021, students will work with big data sets, cloud-based programming environments, and Jupyter Notebooks. Ultimately, if you prove you can do the work, you’ll earn the degree.


Data science is growing in prominence within many industries. With a master’s degree in data science, you have opportunities to add value to your field in a new way, while continuing to use the expertise you already have. Developing  in-demand data science skills can help you move in an upwards trajectory, no matter what industry to which you’ve already dedicated your career.


 

About the Author

Ivy Exec is the premier resource for professionals seeking career advancement. Whether you are on the job, or looking for your next one - Ivy Exec has the tools you need.