Are Data Science Degrees Worth It?
As global business becomes more data-oriented than ever before, the demand for data scientists has soared. Jobs in this space now offer handsome compensation packages and provide excellent career opportunities.
Students with analytical and mathematical talents are increasingly attracted to lucrative careers in data science. The work can be incredibly satisfying for the right individuals, and involves digging into statistical data, creating algorithms, and analyzing huge data sets.
So it’s not surprising that you’ll need some specialized technical education in order to get hired as a data scientist. A data science degree will get you there, but it’s expensive - and since most are 4-year programs, it also takes a significant amount of time. So you’ll need to choose wisely.
Is A Data Science Degree Worth It?
A data science degree will put you on the path to landing a six-figure job, so for many people, a degree is well worth the time and tuition cost. However, there are more affordable options out there.
Here are some of the main things to consider when choosing a degree, and considering alternative education paths.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Data Science Degree
There are some factors that you must consider before choosing a degree program.
- Choose a Specialization: There are some job responsibilities that all data scientists do. But by choosing a specialization, you can focus on your area of interest. Some specialized roles include data scientists, data analysts, machine learning engineers, statisticians, and data architects.
- Consider The University: The data science degree you choose is important, but so too is the university. It should have a good reputation and align with your requirements. The university you select will determine the kind of mentors available and the specific curriculum you’ll follow.
- Check out The Curriculum: The program curriculum should be comprehensive enough to offer a broad range of optional modules. It should include important subjects like computation, statistics, micro-econometrics, and focus on data-intensive computing technologies.
- Placements and Internships: Does the course improve your prospects of getting a job? By the end of the course, you should be able to secure a placement at a well-known company.
- Networking Opportunities: The program should have a strong alumni network and excellent industry ties. Networking will allow you to gain valuable experience and should boost your chances of getting hired.
- Value Among Recruiters: Do your research and determine if the program is respected and valued within the data science industry. Investing your time and money in a degree that nobody cares about is the last thing you want.
- Cost of The Program: Although some of the more respected universities and courses will cost more, they may also provide you with a better chance of getting hired. Investing in your education is always a wise move and you shouldn’t look to scrimp. Only consider cost as a last resort, when weighing up similar degrees that you’re struggling to decide between.
Types of Data Science Degrees
1)Data Science Bachelor’s Degree:
Earning a bachelor’s degree is a popular starting point for many aspiring data scientists. This is your chance to learn everything about the field in a well structured and traditional study program.
Not many colleges and universities offer a specialized data science degree. Instead, you may opt for a degree in math or computer science.
Since there is no road map to becoming a data scientist, your goal should be to acquire the skills needed for this role. Apart from picking the right major, you should also focus on course structure and what topics are covered. Look for classes that provide exposure to data science and data analytics.
As a budding data scientist, you should be looking for the following classes:
- Statistical Computing
- Applied Time Series Analysis
- Introduction to Programming
- Programming and Problem Solving
- Analysis of Categorical Data
- Data Structures and Programming
- Algorithm Design and Analysis
- Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
- Machine Learning
These are just some examples. There will be many other classes, depending on your program and school, which can benefit you.
2)Data Science Master’s Degree:
Some students choose to extend their education and gain a deeper understanding of data science principles. It really depends on your individual needs.
A master’s degree can be useful if you’d like to specialize in a specific area.
With a postgraduate program, you’ll learn analytical tools, computational data analytics, clean coding, problem-solving, and statistical tools.