Future Data Scientists
Data scientists are one of the many sought-after IT professionals currently enjoying their pick of positions thanks to a general shortage of IT staff. Universities and colleges have created and continue to develop master’s programs attempting to address this skills shortage, and there’s additionally been a reliance on boot camps to help fill the gaps. However, undergraduate programs tailored to big data have been somewhat lacking in the past.
With the Department of Labor’s forecast of a 25% growth in data jobs by 2018, it’s no surprise that US colleges and universities are changing tactics and developing undergraduate programs that address big data skills requirements. The good news is there is growing interest in this field, which means a number of excellent publications and influencers are starting to cover this topic.
Universities & Colleges with Data Science Undergrad Programs
College of Charleston
Providing their own undergraduate program in data science, students complete internships at tech giants before choosing from 14 degree disciplines which include accounting, biomechanics, CRM, economics, exercise physiology, finance, geoinformatics, molecular biology, organismal biology, physics and astronomy, psychology, sociology, and supply chain management.
The Bachelor of Arts in Decision Analytics provided by DePaul teaches students practical applications of big data including the ethical collection and securing of data, analysis and communication of findings, and the development of solutions to data problems.
Starting in the fall of 2016, this Bachelors of Science Program in Data Science provides students with a well-rounded data education including the analysis and meaningful use of data, determining a business’s data needs, and securing data.
University of Iowa
This Bachelor’s Degree in Business Analytics and Information Systems claims a 100% placement rate and provides two degree tracks. Business analytics revolves around the improvement of business’ data strategy and the building of new processes while the information systems stream focuses on managing technologies that collect, store, and secure data.
Ohio State University
The data analytics program offered by this university provides an interdisciplinary major thanks to a bachelor of science degree from the College of Arts and Sciences through partnerships with the Fisher College of Business, the College of Engineering, and the College of Medicine. Students are able to specialize either in biomedical, business analytics, or computational analytics, covering a range of industries requiring data scientists.
University of San Francisco
Providing majors in data science focusing on computer science and mathematics, the University of San Francisco program promises students a wealth of mathematical, computational, and statistical skills. Students choose between the three streams of mathematical data science, computational data science, and economic data science and courses range from linear algebra to microeconomics to programming.
University of Wisconsin
Through their undergraduate degree in Data Science and Predictive Analytics, University of Wisconsin students receiving not only an education in data science but are also lectured in business and the application of big data concepts. Skills taught include mining and collection of data, analysis of data, and the creation of data visualizations, preparing students for work in fields across finance, marketing, economics, management, and more.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
The program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute earns students both a Bachelor of Science Degree in Data Science as well as a master’s degree. With research across almost every industry, students will find few limitations to their big data education.
Free Big Data Programs
Of course, formal education programs are not the only providers of big data skills. A number of online courses have emerged helping job seekers beef up their big data and analytics skills covering topics such as machine learning, Hadoop, and various programming languages. Udemy offers Big Data Basics: Hadoop, MapReduce, Hive, Pig, & Spark aimed at beginners interested in the tech foundations of the big data ecosystem, and for slightly more advanced students, the Hadoop Starter Kit offers access to a multi-node Hadoop training cluster. Introduction to Spark, R Basics – R Programming Language Introduction, and Python for Beginners with Examples provide primers for some of the different skills data scientists need while MIT's Artificial Intelligence course teaches students to develop intelligent systems. These and many other short courses provide an excellent starting point for those interested in data science while the programs being drawn up by top colleges and universities are advancing quickly to meet industry skills needs.
By Jennifer Klostermann