Data Science Degree and Career Guide

data science degree and career guide

The field of data science is an area of study that blends programming skills, domain expertise, and knowledge of both statistics and mathematics to get meaningful and useful information and insight from data. By using machine learning algorithms and applying them to text, numbers, images, audio, and video, data scientists can create artificial intelligence systems that can perform tasks that are normally done by humans.

Business professionals use this information or data to help add value to their business. As our world continues to become automated, the field of data science will continue to grow. People interested in learning more about data science or want a career in data science often choose to earn data science degrees field. They can choose from different degree levels depending on their career aspirations. Many colleges offer these degree programs online as well as on campus.


Excellent Job Growth

Data scientists are expected to see a 36 percent increase in job growth during the 2021-2031 decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).


Excellent Pay

Although data scientists’ wages can vary from area to area, they have the potential to earn an excellent wage. As of May 2021, data scientists earned an average annual wage of $100,910.


Many Positions

Data science is such a vast field that’s used in so many industries there are many positions within this field. Data scientists are very much in demand.


Associate Degrees in Data Science

The associate degree is a two-year program that takes two years to complete if you’re a full-time student. Online programs, which are more flexible, can be completed in less or more than two years. Associate degree programs combine general education courses with courses related to data science courses. The data science associate degree program is a good choice for someone entering the field of data science and seeking entry-level positions.

Online Programs

  1. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has an Associate of Arts and Sciences program that is 100 percent online and can be completed in less than two years. This program offers a blended curriculum of general education courses and elective courses that prepare students for entry-level positions in the area of data science.
  2. Southern New Hampshire University offers an online Associate in Data Analytics that requires the completion of 60 credits. Students with experience in this field can transfer in up to 45 credits toward the required 60 credits. These same 60 credits can be transferred into a bachelor’s degree in data analytics program or into a STEM program offered through SNHU. Various credits, including math credits, can be transferred in based on what you already know.
  3. American Military University offers an online Associate of Science in Data Science program that teaches students about artificial and machine learning, functional coding, prescriptive and descriptive analytics, and analytic methods. Courses in this 60-credit program start monthly and run from eight to 16 weeks.

Bachelor’s Degrees in Data Science

The bachelor’s degree in data science is a four-year program aimed at students who want to jump right into the field of data science with a choice of several different career options. The program generally requires the completion of general education, core courses, and elective courses that match the student’s area of concentration. Many undergraduate data science programs are offered online.

Check out our new ranking of the Best Undergraduate Data Science Programs for a list of reviewed schools.

Online Programs

  1. Maryville University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Data Science program that teaches students about statistical learning, mathematic statistics, machine learning, SAS programming, and more. The focus of this program is to teach students how to apply artificial learning techniques to solve real-world issues. This program requires 128 credits, with 46 of them being related to data science.
  2. Arizona State University has an online Bachelor of Science in Data Science program that consists of 40 classes with each class lasting 7 ½ weeks. Students must complete 120 credits to earn the degree. They can choose an area of interest and complete at least 18 credits in that specific area. Graduates of this program are qualified to work in high-level positions in data science.
  3. A 100 percent online Bachelor of Science in Data Science program is offered through the University of Maryland Global Campus. This 120-credit program requires students to complete at least 36 major-related courses. They can also transfer in to 90 credits. Hybrid courses are available to interested students. Students can also obtain extensive hands-on training in using artificial learning techniques and analytical tools.

Master’s Degree in Data Science

The master’s degree in data science is a graduate degree that prepares students for upper-level positions in data science, computer programming, data architecture, data engineering, and many more. Master’s degree programs can usually be completed in two years beyond the bachelor’s degree. Data science professionals with a bachelor’s degree often choose online master’s degree programs so they can continue to work while advancing their education.

Online Programs

  1. Eastern University offers an online Master of Science in Data Science that can be completed in less than a year. Self-paced classes start every seven weeks, and students can complete six credits every seven weeks for the required 30 credits. Students will learn the top coding languages used for a data science career. EU also offers an MBA/MS in Data Science program that allows the student to complete two degrees at once.
  2. Maryville University has a Master of Science in Data Science program that is 100 percent online and offers three different start dates. There are no application fees or entrance exams required. The program offers project-based learning to give the students hands-on experience as well as an internship if wanted. It includes elective courses like actuarial science, statistics and probability, and artificial learning. MU also offers an online master’s in data analytics program.
  3. Northwestern University offers an online Master of Science in Data Science through its School of Professional Studies. It offers an accelerated hybrid curriculum for studies who want to finish the program in less time than normal. Students can choose from five areas of specialization. The program also offers students various programming languages so they can choose the language they’ll use the most in their chosen careers.

Advanced Data Sciences Degrees

Advanced degrees are generally post-graduate certificates or doctoral degree programs. A post-graduate certificate might be chosen by a student who has a master’s degree but wants to focus on a specific area of data science. Doctoral degree programs are used by individuals who want careers in academia, research, or for a high-level position in data science. They are often chosen as online programs.

Online Programs

  1. Northcentral University offers a 100 percent online Doctoral of Philosophy in Data Science program that is taught by doctoral faculty with years of experience in this field. Each student is assigned one professor, so they have one-on-one learning. There is no GMAT/GRE required. This is a flexible program that offers various start dates.
  2. The University of Virginia offers an online Ph.D. in Data Science program that teaches students how to use research and discovery in areas requiring data science. This interdisciplinary program can take five years to complete because it requires using research methods, independent research, and the completion of a research-based dissertation.
  3. The School of Informatics and Computing offers an online Ph.D. in Data Science that prepares students for upper-level positions in data science, research careers, or to work as college professors teaching data science. Students must complete a written and oral exam as well as a dissertation based on research they’ve done in the program. The school also offers boot camps for individuals who want to enhance their learning or brush up on their skills.

Careers in the Data Science Field

  • Data analysts – Data analysts sift through data, analyze it, determine its meaning, and determine where and how it will be best utilized. This position usually requires a bachelor’s degree in data science, computer science, or mathematics.
  • Database administrators – Database administrators are in charge of data scientists and data analysts and oversee the department. This position usually requires a master’s degree, but a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient depending on the employer or company.
  • Data engineer – Data engineers design and build projects used for storing and retrieving data. This position requires at least a bachelor’s degree in data science, computer science, statistics, and mathematics.
  • Junior data analysts – This is an entry-level position and involves assisting data analysts in their daily duties. This position can be obtained with an associate degree
  • Junior data engineer – These professionals help data engineers design and build projects used to store data. An associate degree is generally sufficient to obtain this position
  • Risk management analysts – Risk management analysts work in various companies. Their task is to find areas or things within the company that might pose a risk. These individuals usually have a bachelor’s degree.
  • Professors – Professors teach data science and other subjects at colleges and universities. Professors generally have a doctoral degree.
  • Laboratory researchers – Laboratory researchers spend their days in labs performing research on data science and anything data-related. This position requires a doctoral degree.

Other Data Science Careers

Data Scientist
Data Architect
Machine Learning
Marketing Analyst

Next Steps

Getting a degree is the next step to a career in data science. Request information about degrees from a variety of schools to begin your new career.