Data scientist is the top job in America, according to Glassdoor, and IBM predicts that demand for data savvy professionals will soar 28% by 2020. What this means is the number of all annual job openings in the U.S. will increase by 364,000 to whopping 2,720,000. Analysts predict that the top hiring regions will be New York Metro, San Francisco-Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington DC, of course.
Data scientists are in demand for many reasons, beginning with what they do. According to the University of Wisconsin’s (UW) Data Science program, in simple terms, a data scientist’s job is to analyze data for actionable insights. Good example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published a report titled “Working with Big Data” that explains what a typical project might look like for a data scientist. “Simon Sheather, head of the Department of Statistics at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, is looking through row after row of airfare data—nearly 8 million of them. But he isn’t planning a vacation. He’s using the huge dataset to create a model that predicts ticket prices to help customers save money, based on the route they fly.”
Published in 2013, the report goes on to explain that, “the increased amount of data in the world has created many opportunities for the kind of analysis Sheather does. Recent advances in technology, such as e-commerce, smart phones, and social networking, are generating new types of data on a scale never seen before—a phenomenon known as “big data.” According to some data experts, 90 percent of the data that exists in the world today was created in the last 2 years. And society increasingly relies on data to tell us things about the world.”
This sector is growing so fast that there’s a shortage of talent—yet another reason why data scientists are in demand. According to InfoWorld, there aren’t enough data scientists to fill the thousands of available jobs because they’re not trained yet. “While computer science programs are on the rise, says IW, “it’s still going to take some time for supply to catch up with demand.”
“Big data and analytics courses have started making their way into the classroom only in the past couple of years so addressing the data science talent shortage won’t happen overnight. The number of job openings will certainly continue to outweigh the number of professionals with a sophisticated understanding of data and analysis to fill those openings over the next couple of years.”
Data scientists are also in demand, and will continue to be in demand, as organizations continue to face enormous challenges in organizing data. “Data preparation accounts for about 80% of the work of data scientists,” explains IW, “but even with the increased availability of highly sophisticated analytics dashboards and data collection tools, there will always be a demand for professionals who possess the advanced skill sets needed to clean and organize data before being able to extract valuable insights from it.”
Finally, the need for data scientists is no longer restricted to tech giants such as Google and Facebook. “The demand for data scientists has finally pushed beyond large technology firms, as smaller organizations realize that they too can use data to make better, more informed decisions,” says IW. “While small-to-medium sized organizations are not churning out nearly as much data as larger enterprises, sifting through that data to extract meaningful insights into their businesses can be a powerful competitive advantage nonetheless.”
So where are all the data science jobs? Besides the top regions for data scientists, look to the top industries—Finance and Insurance, Professional Services, and IT, and the fastest growing roles including:
- Clinical Data Analysis: +54%
- Data Science: +40%
- Quantitative Data Analysis: +38%
- Data Visualization: +31%
- Data Engineering: +28%
- A/B Testing: +22%
- Machine Learning: +17%
If these figures aren’t impressive enough, take a look at what experts are saying about potential earnings. Forbes reports that, “jobs requiring machine learning skills are paying an average of $114,000. Advertised data scientist jobs pay an average of $105,000 and advertised data engineering jobs pay an average of $117,000.” According to Glassdoor, the average salary for data scientists is $118,709 and the BLS has its own take on potential earnings for these sought after professionals.
The agency classifies data scientists as statisticians or computer programmers or in other occupations. Statisticians and computer programmers had annual wages of $80,550 to $130,090 and $79,840 to $130,360, respectively—more than double the median annual wage of $37,040 for all workers in May 2016. “In fact,” says the BLS, “wages in mathematics- and computer-related occupations continue to outpace wages in other occupations.”
If you are considering a career in data science, UW says ask yourself, do you:
- Hold a degree in mathematics, statistics, computer science, management information systems, or marketing?
- Have substantial work experience in any of these areas?
- Have an interest in data collection and analysis?
- Enjoy individualized work and problem solving?
- Communicate well both verbally and visually?
- Want to broaden your skills and take on new challenges?
“If you answered yes to any of these questions,” says UW, “you may find a lot to like in the field of data science.”
So where are all the data science programs? In addition to the degree programs listed above, many MBA programs now offer focus areas that can prepare students for a career in this field. Just a few areas include Data Analytics, Business Analytics, and Information Management & Business Analytics.
Note that some schools also offer the opportunity to customize a focus area through elective coursework. Students might also consider a Master of Science (MS) in any of the areas mentioned above or other related areas.
Just a few schools that offer MBA programs for aspiring data science professionals include:
University of Chicago – Booth School of Business
MBA Analytic Management
Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management
MBA Data Analytics Pathway
Saint Joseph’s University – Haub School of Business
The Data Intelligent MBA
Thomas Edison State University - School of Business & Management
MBA Data Analytics
Temple University – Fox School of Business
MBA with access to the school’s Global Center for Big Data in Mobile Analytics
Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper School of Business
MBA with a Track in Business Analytics
Clark University – Graduate School of Management
MBA Information Management and Business Analytics
Haslam College of Business at University of Tennessee at Knoxville
MBA/MS in Business Analytics
Rutgers University – Rutgers Business School Newark and New Brunswick
MBA in Analytics and Information Management
NYU Stern School of Business
MBA Specialization in Business Analytics
University of Notre Dame - Mendoza College of Business
MBA Business Analytics
Villanova University – School of Business
Course titles for these and other similar programs vary, but a few sample courses include Human and Machine Intelligence, Digital Marketing Analytics, Data Analysis & Visualization, Business Data Management, Social Dynamics & Network Analytics Information Security, Analytics for Business Intelligence, Interpretation of Data, Information Technology in a Digital Era, Business Analytics Programming, People Analytics for Strategy, Data Exploration, Data Analytics Decisions, and Health or Retail Analytics.
For more schools that offer MBAs that can prepare you for a career in data science, use our School Finder here.
Columbus, Louis. "IBM Predicts Demand For Data Scientists Will Soar 28% By 2020." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 13 May 2017. Web. 28 Oct. 2017.
"Computer Programmers." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States Department of Labor, 31 Mar. 2017. Web. 29 Oct. 2017.
Miller, Steven. "The Quant Crunch: The Demand for Data Science Skills." IBM Big Data & Analytics Hub. IBM, 01 May 2017. Web. 29 Oct. 2017.
Schwartz, Miriam. "3 Ways Data Science Can Boost Your MBA." Business School Insider. Kaplan Test Prep, 18 July 2017. Web. 29 Oct. 2017.
"Statisticians." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States Department of Labor, 31 Mar. 2017. Web. 29 Oct. 2017.
"What Do Data Scientists Do?" University of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin System, 12 Oct. 2017. Web. 29 Oct. 2017.
"Working with Big Data." Occupational Outlook Quarterly. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013. Web. 29 Oct. 2017.
Zhang, Vivian, and Chris Neimeth. "3 Reasons Why Data Scientist Remains the Top Job in America." InfoWorld. IDG Communications, Inc., 14 Apr. 2017. Web. 28 Oct. 2017.