5 degree programs for becoming a Data Scientist

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

5 degree programs for becoming a Data Scientist

At LUCA, our Data Scientists are at the heart of what we do. Recruiting these valuable team members can be a challenge, though, because they are in such high demand. As more and more businesses realize the importance of making data-driven decisions, the need for data scientists is growing.

This demand means that pursuing a career in Data Science can be a good option if you get excited about Big Data and AI. In fact, Forbes named “Data Scientist” as the best job of 2016, with a median salary of $116,000 (USD) and a constant supply of open positions. 

If you want to land a Data Scientist position, it's highly likely that you'll need an advanced degree. Up to 92% of all data scientists have an advanced degree (split pretty evenly between masters and doctoral degrees). While these degrees are not always specifically in Data Science, there are many relevant degree programs, focusing on everything from Business Analytics to Data Mining. 

Here are five stellar programs to check out:

1. Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburg, PA, USA


Figure 2: Carnegie Mellon has a variety of programs for data-inclined students.

Carnegie Mellon offers several degrees for students looking at a career in data science. Their Masters of Computational Data Science focuses on giving students a strong foundation in quantitative science, design engineering and computer science. The Masters of Information Systems Management in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics degree combines analytics, strategy, IT and business management skills to train students in both the hard and soft skills necessary to be a successful data scientist. Both programs are full-time and 16 months long. 

2. City, University of London in London, United Kingdom


Figure 3: City, University of London is a top choice for machine learning fans.

The MSc in Data Science at City, University of London is targeted towards students with a background in math but who may be early on in their careers. The program is 12 months long and trains students in the diverse skills needed for their field, with a strong emphasis on Machine Learning. 

3. North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, USA


Figure 4: North Carolina State University's program garners wide industry respect.

Although North Carolina State University does not have as much name recognition as other schools, it has a strong industry reputation. The Master of Science in Analytics is 10 months long and is a practical program, focused on giving students hands-on experience with the skills they will use in their field.

4. Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, USA


Figure 5: Stanford's location is in the heart of all the tech action.

Being located in the hub of Silicon Valley is a definite advantage for students in Stanford’s Master of Science in Statistics with an emphasis on Data Science. Students can develop strong connections to leading tech companies and often get a front-row seat to new technologies. This 2-year program is geared towards students who may want to pursue a Ph.D., so it is heavier in theory than other programs on this list. 


5. Ludwig Maximilians University Munich in Munich, Germany


Figure 6: Ludwig Maximilians University Munich attracts students with top marks.

The Master of Data Science program at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich is widely respected in Germany and throughout Europe. Like most German schools, this program does not have tuition fees, but has rigorous background and academic requirements. The instruction language is in English and the program is 4 semesters long. 

The number of schools offering Data Science-related programs is growing to keep up with student demand. This list is merely a starting point to get you started in your search for a data-driven career.

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