If you are looking to get into data science then you might be wondering what the best bachelor’s degree for it would be.
This post will show you what the best bachelor’s degree would be for becoming a data scientist and the classes that you should make sure to take.
So, what is the best degree for data science? Overall, the best bachelor’s degree for data science would be computer science with a minor in statistics.
There are actually a number of different paths you can take to becoming a data scientist and there are a number of degrees that are highly valued in the industry.
Overall, computer science is the most recommended degree if you want to get into data science.
Data science requires the knowledge of programming, data structures and some advanced computer science algorithms. Computer science features all of these classes so it is a good fit for data science.
Having good computer science skills will help you to be able to take the machine learning models and know-how to deploy them in a production environment. This is a highly sought after role and will help you get a job as a machine learning engineer or a data engineer if you want one.
An added benefit of a degree in computer science is that it is a very employable degree outside of data science and it will qualify you for many well-paying jobs with just a bachelor’s degree. According to Payscale, the average salary of someone with a bachelor’s in computer science is $83,000. This makes computer science one of the best paying degrees that are available.
This means that if you decide that data science is not actually for you then you will still have a very valuable degree.
Data science can also be very heavy on mathematics and statistics.
Most computer science programs will require that you take single and multivariable calculus, linear algebra and discrete mathematics.
However, they might not require that you take probability and statistics. If you want to get into data science then it will be important that you take these classes as electives.
It would also help to take as many classes as you can related to data analysis, processing, cleaning and visualizing as you can within the major.
I have written more about whether computer science would be a good major for you here.
The algorithms used in data science are all based on statistics in some way. As a result of this, a degree in statistics will be very beneficial if you want to get into data science.
Most statistics degrees will require that you take computer science algorithms and data structures classes. If your statistics program does not then make sure to choose them as electives and possibly even take more advanced algorithms classes if they are offered. Some classes related to databases would help as well.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for statisticians and mathematicians will rise by 33% by 2026. This is mainly due to the surge in data that companies have been receiving in recent years that they need people with statistical skills to make sense of.
Many of the jobs being created for statisticians will involve data science in some way. However, many of them will involve more traditional statistics so having a statistics degree will also put you in a good position upon graduation.
I have written more about whether or not statistics would be a good major for you here.
As mentioned above, mathematics gets used in many different ways in data science so having a good understanding of mathematics will make things much easier for you.
When doing an applied math degree with the intention of getting into data science, make sure to take classes including data structures, algorithms, probability and statistics.
As mentioned above the demand for mathematicians is expected to continue to rise in the coming years so it will also be a degree that will put you in a good position. Taking computer science and statistics electives will also help to put you in an especially good position.
I have written more about whether or not you should get an applied math degree here.
Data science takes mathematics and statistics and finds ways to apply them similarly to how physics finds ways to apply them as well.
Having a degree in physics will help you to understand how to take advanced mathematical subjects and to make use of them. This will be very helpful when implementing algorithms in data science.
If you do decide to major in physics make sure to take classes mentioned in the list below.
There are many data science degrees that are beginning to appear that will help in getting into the field of data science.
Data science degrees will require that you take the required classes from mathematics, computer science and statistics in order to learn machine learning and to do well in data science. They will also often feature actual machine learning classes that other universities might only offer to grad students.
Data science undergraduate degrees will focus more strongly on the data visualization, processing and analysis side of machine learning than its mathematical underpinnings. If you want to get a job in data science then this would normally be a good thing.
The reason that data science is not at the top of the list is that it is not a degree that is being offered by most universities and it doesn’t give as much room to maneuver to different fields as a degree in computer science would.
I have written more about whether or not data science would be a good major for you here.
Data analytics bachelor’s degrees have also started to appear in recent years. Data science and machine learning requires the use of large amounts of data and having the knowledge of how to manipulate it will be very useful. In fact, many data scientists will tell you that most of their time is actually spent on data preprocessing and gathering.
Data analytics bachelor’s degrees will also require you to take the necessary classes that are needed to learn data science so it will also be a good degree to get into the field with.
I have written more about whether or not you should get a degree in data analytics here.
Necessary classes for data science
If you want to get into data science then there are a number of classes that you will need to make sure to take as an undergraduate which can include:
- Single and multivariable calculus
- Linear algebra
- Data structures
Taking classes that focus on visualizing, manipulating, storing and processing data would also be very helpful. This means that databases computer science classes would help and computational statistics classes would help too.
Consider what field you want to be a data scientist in
Virtually every profession has room for data scientists to improve the efficiency and results of the profession. Having domain knowledge of a particular field also helps a lot in data science since it allows you to know what questions are the right questions.
With that being the case, it would help to consider what field you would like to work as a data scientist in and to take some classes from that field as an undergrad if you can.
Consider what classes the college offers
Certain colleges offer more classes on machine learning, deep learning and data analytics than others. If your goal is to become a data scientist then it would help to choose a college that offers classes that are relevant to becoming one.
How hard will it be to become a data scientist?
Data science makes use of mathematics, statistics and computer science. All of those majors have high dropout rates. This is likely to be because they are difficult majors that require a lot more study time than most people are used to.
This means that it will also be a challenge to learn about data science as an undergraduate. How difficult it will be for you will largely depend on how much math, stats and computer science you already know.
However, there are many things that you can do to make it easier to learn about data science as an undergraduate that I have written about here.
How to learn specifically about data science?
Many colleges do not offer classes that specifically teach you about machine learning or data science.
If you want to learn about data science or machine learning then it will be necessary for you to do it in your own time.
You can learn about machine learning here and deep learning here and I would highly recommend this book on Amazon.