In a dynamic and exciting field such as data science, it can be hard to keep track of all the new career opportunities available. It’s easy for prospective graduate students to feel overwhelmed — what should you focus on academically to make sure that you can use your talents to take advantage of the data boom?
Data science is a fast-growing and in-demand specialized branch of computer and information research, a field that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting will grow nearly 19 percent by 2026. As this growth rate is much faster than the average for all occupations, tech-savvy analytical thinkers have several potential career opportunities.
Read on to learn more about five of the most in-demand data science jobs that are projected to boom by 2022, but first, let's formally define the field of data science.
What is Data Science?
If you’re looking for a specific data science definition, you’ll come across a variety of terms all related to the storing and collecting of data. But in the most basic of terms, the goal of data science is to gain insights and knowledge from any type of data — both structured and unstructured.
In other words, data science is a multi-disciplinary methodology that involves developing methods of recording, storing, and analyzing data to effectively extract useful information in order to generate better results and make data-driven decisions.
If you’re a professional interested in developing an advanced understanding of computer hardware and networks, information security, statistics, database management, data engineering, development, business ethics, information assurance, visualization, and systems engineering, and if you’re someone who understands the power of data in today’s evolving technological world — you’ll find significant value in pursuing a graduate degree in information technology that specifically focuses on data science tools and techniques.
Here are five careers rooted in data science for professionals looking to expand their technology career opportunities.
1. Data Analyst
Although collecting data is important, being able to explain what this data means is just as valuable. Data analysts fulfill this role by interpreting data, identifying trends within it, and frequently transforming the data to be represented visually. If you’ve ever wondered how companies effectively estimate market shares, determine their staffing needs, or time their sales accurately, look no further — data analysts make all of this possible.
It goes without saying that strong analytical skills are a necessary prerequisite for a successful career in data analysis. Other qualities that will help you succeed include math and technical abilities, attention to detail, and critical thinking. The annual median base salary for this career is around $60,000, but a senior data analyst can make $90,000 or more, depending on the industry. A career in data analysis also has huge potential for advancement — it’s common for data analysts to move on to become data engineers or data scientists once they gain more experience.
2. Data Scientist
Glassdoor placed data scientist as number one on its list of 50 Best Jobs in America in 2019. With a median base salary of $108,000, it’s easy to see why! This career requires considerable expertise, however. In fact, close to 90 percent of data scientists have advanced degrees.
The job requires a more advanced understanding of technology and math than a data analyst position, and subsequently, these scientists are frequently tasked with greater responsibility. A significant part of what you’ll do as a data scientist involves building algorithms, finding patterns and insights, and inserting your skills into the data-related decision-making process. Strong communication skills are a must for this position. You’ll likely be working with team members from various divisions (including some with limited knowledge of data analysis) to make this all happen.
The skills and knowledge required, mean that this is a challenging position for many employers to fill — so once you have the necessary qualifications, you’re in a great position to land your dream job!
3. Data Engineer
How exactly does data engineering differ from data science? Unlike data scientists, data engineers develop, design, test, and maintain databases and processing systems. Essentially, they create the secure framework in which data operates. As a data engineer, your day-to-day job will involve building analytics tools, preparing raw data for analysis, designing and maintaining data pipeline architecture, and assisting data scientists in building strong products. If you’re creative and enjoy a challenge, this could be right up your alley. Moreover, the median annual salary for this position is $117,000, with the opportunity to earn more depending on your education level and prior experience.
4. Database Administrator
Database administrators are responsible for the overall health of database software and servers, from installation and set-up to updates and patches to regular maintenance and troubleshooting. These professionals organize and store data securely while ensuring that authorized users have access to this data. They prevent data loss, maintain and merge databases, develop modifications for database structures, and make sure that user needs are met.
Median annual pay for a database administrator is $90,000, and demand for individuals skilled in database administration is increasing. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, “the increasing popularity of database-as-a-service, which allows database administration to be done by a third party over the Internet, could increase the employment of database administrators (DBAs) at cloud computing firms in the data processing, hosting, and related services industry.”
5. Business Analyst
Are you less interested in analyzing data and more interested in analyzing how the results of data can inform a company’s decisions? Do you enjoy collaboration and problem-solving? If so, a career as a business analyst might be perfect for you. Through your role as a business analyst, you will work to meed the needs of the organization’s stakeholders and design creative strategies to meet the challenges that arise within the company. You will still need to utilize your knowledge of data science to interpret data and make informed business-savvy recommendations based on your findings, but the focus of this career is the implementation of data findings in business practice.
Business analysts will need strong communication skills in, as they are the ones who will be responsible for understanding the vision of stakeholders and communicating it to the IT professionals within the organization. Project management and project development are also a significant part of this job. Median annual pay is around $72,000, but those with experience can make over 100k.
With graduate-level knowledge of data science, you’ll be well-equipped for these careers (and others!) across a variety of industries.
One of the benefits of working in information technology and data science is that your skill set is in-demand in nearly every industry. Whether you’d prefer to work in education, health care, manufacturing, or management, chances are there will be a rewarding job for you.
Although it is possible to find a data science job in any industry, according to a recent report from IBM, 59 percent of all data science and analytics jobs are in one of three industries: finance and insurance, professional services, and information technology. It’s worth noting that these industries have some of the best-paying jobs across the board — so the estimated median annual salary listed above may actually be a low estimate for these three fields.
Marymount University’s Master of IT and specialization in Data Science will give you a unique edge on the competition.
So if data science is such a valuable skill, then why not just get a master’s degree in data science and be done with it? While this is always an option, pursuing a master’s degree in IT such as the one we offer at Marymount will allow you to gain knowledge and skills across a broad range of topics in the industry such as database technologies, Web development, and systems engineering. You can add further value to your degree by specializing in data science. With this broad foundation and specialization in data science, you will have a more comprehensive view of the whole field and an in-depth understanding of data science principles. In the rapidly evolving world of data science, having a wide array of knowledge and an integrated approach to your work has the potential to benefit your future career.
If you think one of these data science-centered careers might be right for you, request more information or apply online today. We’re excited to help you become a leader in this field.