Data science is a growing field that involves extracting and categorizing data through various processes and analyzing it for knowledge and insights. The data can then be applied to various projects, used to create models, and used to make presentations and recommendations to business leaders and stakeholders. In an increasingly digital world, it's become a large part of business strategies for many companies.
It's a career field that's on the rise. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the need for data scientists to grow at a rate of 36 percent by 2030, which is a much faster than average rate than almost any other type of career. In 2021, the median pay for data scientists was $100,910 per year or $48.52 per hour.
While a bachelor's degree is typically required for a job as a data scientist, many organizations will also require you to have an advanced degree, such as a master's degree in data science.
What Is a Data Science Online Master's Degree?
A data science online master's degree is a Master of Science that allows you to advance your career in data science. You can earn all or most of it online from the comfort of your home or another remote workspace, which means you can pick from some of the best online data science master's degree programs in the country without concerns about geography.
Most data science programs will combine a mixture of classes in areas like computer science, math, statistics, business, and social sciences, and many schools offer specializations. For example, at Northwestern University, you can choose to specialize in analytics and modeling, analytics management, artificial intelligence (AI), data engineering, or technology entrepreneurship.
Am I Suited for a Role in Data Science?
If you're an analytical thinker who enjoys working with numbers, data, and computers, you might be suited for a role in data science. You must enjoy doing research, analyzing your findings, and looking for patterns or insights that can help organizations make decisions or solve problems. Those who work in data science are typically logical thinkers with excellent problem-solving skills themselves. You'll also need to have good communication skills so that you can relay your findings to other business leaders within your organization.
Those who work in data science are usually excellent in math and statistics and may even hold bachelor's degrees in these areas. They're also great with computers. You'll eventually find yourself creating algorithms, writing code, and using data visualization tools.
If you're in high school or college earning your bachelor's degree, you can take some courses to help prepare you for earning a Masters of Data Science online. Take as many math, finance, business, computer science, engineering, statistics, and programming courses as you can.
How Long Does It Take to Complete a Masters of Data Science Online?
The amount of time it takes to complete a Masters of Data Science online largely depends on the program you choose. Because many people completing the programs are already working adults, you may find both part- and full-time opportunities as well as accelerated options. In general, you'll find most programs can be completed within 12 to 36 months. The structure of the program, types of courses, timing of courses offered, any specializations you choose, and whether you wish to participate in full- or part-time studies may all play a role in the length of the program you choose.
How Can I Find the Best Online Data Science Master's Degree Programs?
As of 2022, dozens of colleges and universities in the U.S. offer online data science master's programs. There are several ways to narrow down your search so that you can find the best program for your needs. Some of these include:
- Name recognition: While name recognition isn't everything, employers are often impressed when they see the name of one of a top university on your resume. These schools often have the funds to create strong programs. For example, if you attended the University of California, Berkeley, which has one of the best online data science master's degree programs in the nation, it will probably look better on your resume than if you attended a school that not many people have heard of.
- Age of the program: While a brand-new program may be perfectly fine, one that has been around a few years and has positive reviews from former students is usually a better option. Always look for opportunities to talk to former students from a program if you can. Many schools may even offer this sort of opportunity.
- Cost: You likely have a budget in mind when seeking your online master's degree in data science, and it's best to stick with it. Tuition will range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars a semester depending on the school you choose.
- What the program offers: The quality of the program based on what it offers should be your ultimate deciding factor. Is there a specialization that you want? Does it offer access to resources you can't find anywhere else? Does it offer real-world applications or actual business practice?
You can also start with this list of some of the top schools that offer a data science master's degree online:
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of Missouri
- University of Notre Dame
- Southern Methodist University
- Northwestern University
- Syracuse University
- University of California, Los Angeles
- Bellevue University
- City University of New York
- Duke University
- Drexel University
- Saint Mary's College
- University of Denver
- University of the Pacific
- University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- New Jersey Institute of Technology
- Texas Tech University
- Clemson University
- Oklahoma State University
- University of Texas, Austin
- Eastern University
- Villanova University
What Kinds of Jobs Can I Get After I Earn My Data Science Master's Degree Online?
After you earn your data science master's degree online, you may find that numerous job opportunities as a data scientist are available to you. You may also work as a:
- Data architect
- Data administrator
- Data engineer
- Machine learning (ML) engineer
- Business intelligence (BI) Analyst
- Information technology (IT) analyst
- Clinical data manager
- Marketing analyst