A relatively new area of study, data science professionals provide vital analytics services for businesses in diverse industries. Data science is a more specialized field that can also be reached with a computer science degree due to some overlapping curriculum. Data science professionals enjoy high earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), data scientists earn a median salary of $94,280 per year.
This guide covers important information for anyone interested in earning a degree in data science, including common courses and scholarship opportunities for data science students.
Learn More About Data Science With These Questions
What does a data scientist do?
Data scientists create algorithms and design modeling processes that help businesses determine and achieve objectives.
Do data scientists get paid well?
Yes. The BLS reports a median annual salary of $94,280 for data scientists, which is much higher than the average median wage for all occupations.
Is data scsience a good career?
Data scientists perform vital tasks that help companies achieve outcomes and goals. Aspiring data scientists may benefit from career longevity and high salaries.
What is taught in a data science course?
Data science courses may cover topics such as algorithms, business principles, statistics, and probabilities.
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Why Get a Degree in Data Science?
A degree in data science leads to rewarding careers with high earning potential. Data scientists often work closely with company executives to define a company's objectives. They then determine how to organize and use relevant data to help companies reach those goals.
Students earning a data science degree online enjoy the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional responsibilities. The technical nature of data science courses also lends itself to online learning.
Graduates can work in diverse industries worldwide. To date, the field does not require licensure in the U.S., making a degree in data science a highly portable credential.
How Much Does a Data Science Degree Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, full-time students attending a four-year private institution paid an average of $51,900 in tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 academic year. Students at public colleges and universities paid an average of $24,900.
However, several factors impact the total cost of a degree, including delivery format, enrollment status, and field of study. For example, online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs. Additionally, in-state students at public schools receive a substantial tuition discount compared to out-of-state students. However, many programs allow all online students to pay in-state tuition regardless of residency.
Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.
How Much Do Data Science Majors Make?
Salaries vary by factors like industry, role, and location. Data scientists can apply their skills and knowledge to nearly every industry. However, the industries hiring the highest number of data scientists include computer systems design, company management, and scientific and technical consulting. Additionally, data scientists in New York, North Carolina, and Maryland tend to earn the highest salaries.
Earning an advanced degree and relevant certifications can help data scientists advance their careers and earn higher salaries.
Courses in Data Science
Data science programs include highly technical, science-oriented coursework on topics such as predictive analytics, interactive data visualization, and integer and nonlinear programming. A well-developed data science curriculum also includes classes in business, sociology, and financial risk modeling.
Courses vary by program, but the following list outlines courses commonly found in data science programs.
Data and SocietyThis class explores the philosophical, political, and social impact of data science. The course covers the philosophy of science and technology and the sociology of knowledge. Students also examine the practical consequences of data science in the modern era.
Probability, Statistics, and Machine LearningThis course examines mathematical methods and tools commonly used in data science. Students learn how to retrieve and organize information from large data sets. Topics covered include density estimation, cross-validation, common distributions, and probability spaces.
Statistical LearningThis course covers the foundations of regression-based statistical approaches and how to appraise the methodologies and assumptions underlying them. Learners study topics such as dimension reduction, variable selection, and causal inference.
Certifications and Licensure for Data Science
Certifications allow data scientists to highlight their skills and broaden their knowledge in specific subfields. Many credentials in this field, including the three below, receive worldwide recognition.
An independent global certification from The Open Group, the Open CDS credential comprises three levels: certified, master, and distinguished certified data scientist. Candidates must complete conformance requirements and pass a peer interview. They must also complete milestone requirements for each level before moving on to the next.
Consisting of nine courses and two modules, this credential tests data visualization skills; the ability to improve data quality; and familiarity with data tools such as Hadoop, Hive, and SAS. Candidates need at least six months of programming experience in SAS or another eligible language.
A foundational credential, this certificate presents the holder as an expert in integrating machine learning into various applications and tools. Candidates must demonstrate their ability to build TensorFlow models using convolutional neural networks, natural language processing, and image recognition algorithms.
Scholarships for Data Science
Data science students can take advantage of scholarships to help offset the cost of their degree. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for data science students.
Scholarships for Data Science
|Who Can Apply
Women in Data Science Scholarship
|Women in Data Science Scholarship
This program accepts applications from women pursuing an undergraduate or graduate data science program. Applicants enrolled in a one-year certificate program or pursuing an online data science degree at an accredited college or university can also apply.
|Undergraduate students interested in a data science career can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must be pursuing a degree related to data analytics and display a passion for pursuing a career in the field. They must also demonstrate a commitment to community engagement.
Diversity in Tech Scholarship
|Minority students in data science programs qualify for this scholarship. Both full-time and part-time students can apply. Applicants must submit one recommendation letter.
Best Online Data Science Degrees
#1 Online Data Science Degrees
- Owosso, MI
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Distance degree-seekers can pursue high-quality online undergraduate programs from Baker College. The private institution is based in Owosso, Michigan, and offers online and on-campus programs. The online data science bachelor's program's high-quality learning experience incorporates scheduling flexibility.
During the data science degree, undergraduates take classes with a distance-learning format. The online program features opportunities to connect with peers and faculty members. While completing core coursework, degree-seekers in the data analytics program gain transferable skills they can apply to a variety of professional roles. After graduation, bachelor's degree holders can apply knowledge from their program to work in relevant entry-level careers.
Admissions advisors provide prospective students with program-specific application details.
Baker College Numbers:
Total Bachelor's Programs: 39
Online Bachelor's Programs: 19
Percentage of Learners Receiving Financial Aid: 89%
Students Receiving Loans: 58%
Grants Transfer Credits: No
Percent Online Enrollment
Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Higher Learning Commission
#2 Online Data Science Degrees
Western Governors University
- Salt Lake City, UT
- 4 years
Distance degree-seekers pursuing Western Governors University's affordable undergraduate programs can complete requirements in a convenient online format. The private institution delivers online and in-person academic programs from its campus in Salt Lake City. The online data management program emphasizes scheduling flexibility.
The data analytics and management program takes place in a virtual classroom environment, allowing learners to practice technology skills. Online classes feature opportunities to connect with classmates and begin building a professional network. Degree-seekers in the data management program gain transferable skills and prepare for positions in the field during core coursework and upper-level classes. A bachelor's degree from the institution qualifies holders to work in entry-level database management positions, which can help professionals gain the experience necessary for career advancement.
Prospective students can contact the program for more information about admission requirements, application deadlines, and start dates.
Western Governors University Fast Facts:
Total Bachelor's Programs: 30
Online Bachelor's Programs: 30
Average Per-Credit Price: $3,478
Percentage of Learners Receiving Financial Aid: 72%
Percentage of Students Awarded Loans: 47%
Allows Transfer Credits: No
Percent Online Enrollment
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities