Do Most Data Science Careers Require an Advanced Degree?


Jobs in computer science tend to require educational training, and many data science degrees do require an advanced degree. A data scientist is a person who works with digital data and uses his or her skills to interpret that data to help businesses make decisions. Data scientists work with an incredible amount of data that often reach terabytes in size.

Options for gaining data science skills include learning from books, gaining life experience, and entering educational programs at universities, colleges, and other schools. As with many professions, the data science jobs that offer the highest salaries tend to require years of experience or a graduate degree.

Exploring Degree Programs for Data Scientists

According to an article published by Forbes, training for data scientists is possible within college degree programs and bootcamp programs. Degree programs can vary in length from two years for associate’s degree programs to four years for bachelor’s degree programs.

Future data scientists in graduate degree programs may finish within anywhere from two to three years, and doctoral students will often see their timeline reach five years. Students who decide to try a bootcamp approach to their future data science career may enroll in programs that vary from a few months to several months.

Bootcamp programs, however, rarely last more than a year. Colleges and universities offer some bootcamp programs, and other programs are provided by independent education companies that specialize in professional certificates and related programs.

Data Science Careers that Need an Advanced Degree

While there are some data science jobs that are available to students of minimal education, most jobs for data scientists do require a master’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of jobs require a graduate degree in computer science or a closely related field.

With a graduate degree, a student may work in virtually any data science job, but the BLS explains further that some jobs with the federal government may be available with no training beyond a bachelor’s degree.

Some of the careers a data scientist with a graduate degree may consider include those as a statistician, data engineer, business intelligence professional, project manager, or data analyst. Students interested in work with the federal government may find opportunities with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of State, and the National Technical Information Service.

After earning a graduate degree and working as a data scientist, some workers may choose to advance their careers by becoming information systems managers and other managers in computer science roles. Students who decide to enter doctoral programs can consider work as university teachers and instructors.

Become Part of the Wave of New Data Scientists

According to consulting firm McKinsey & Company, the demand for individuals with training and experience in data science will increase at a rate that exceeds available workers by at least 50 percent in the coming years. Information from the BLS matches that data with the department’s estimate that businesses will create more than 5,400 jobs in the next decade. The industry is also expected to grow by 19 percent, which is much faster than the average for all professions.

Anyone interested in topics like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and statistical modeling, as well as a host of other foci that employ data science methods may wish to explore education opportunities for data science careers.

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