If you are thinking of getting a degree in data science you will probably be wondering whether or not it is a good major.
This post will show you whether or not it will be a good major for you and some other things to consider.
So, is data science a good major? Data science jobs often require a master’s degree so you might struggle to get a job in data science itself with just a bachelor’s degree. However, there will still be many jobs that you will qualify for such as a data analyst.
There are actually many things to consider if you are thinking of getting a data science degree and there are a number of things that you can do to make your time in the major easier.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of data science jobs is expected to rise by 19% by 2026 and the median pay is $118,370. Data science was also rated the best job in America on Glassdoor.
However, as mentioned above, data science jobs will often require a master’s degree.
With that being said, people do still get jobs as data scientists with just a bachelor’s degree. If you want to get a data science job you should do an internship and a number of data science projects while working on the major.
Types of jobs you can get with a data science degree
In addition to data science, there are many other types of jobs that you can get with a data science degree which can include:
- Data analyst
- Data architect
- Machine learning engineer (requires a master’s degree)
- Data visualization developer
- Business intelligence analyst
- Data engineer
You can read more about what you can do with a data science degree here.
One thing to consider is that, while a data science degree might be a challenge with just a bachelor’s degree, what will be possible would be a job as a software engineer.
Make sure to take a data structures class and an algorithms class from computer science so that you will be able to interview for software engineering positions if you need to.
You will also find that many data science interviews will question those courses as well. Most data science courses will cover data structures but they might not all cover algorithms.
If you are thinking of getting a data science degree then there are a number of other majors that you might want to consider which could include:
- Computer science
- Applied mathematics
- Data analytics
Types of classes you will be taking
Data science is a blend of mathematics, computer science and statistics so you will be taking many classes from these three subject areas.
Colleges that offer data science degrees will also have data science specific classes that focus on dealing with data.
You can look here to see a sample curriculum for a data science degree. You can also look at Tufts University’s website to see their data science requirements.
It won’t be an easy major
Since you will be taking classes from mathematics, statistics and computer science it won’t be an easy major especially when considering each of those majors have high dropout rates.
How difficult a data science degree will be for you will depend on how much math and statistics you have already taken. If you have already taken some extra math and statistics classes in high school and done well in them then you will be in a good position to also do well in data science.
If you didn’t do much math or statistics in high school or you didn’t do well in them then you will have some catching up to do in a data science major. With that being said, the degree will be designed assuming that you have not already taken many math classes so it will still be possible for you to do well in the major. But, you will likely have to study more than you are used to.
Another thing to consider is your level of interest in the subject. If you have an interest in math, computer science, and stats and are interested in learning about data and using it to make predictions then you will be able to motivate yourself more easily when things are difficult.
Ways to make a data science major easier
If you do decide that you want to get a data science degree then there will be a number of things that you will be able to do to make the degree go more smoothly.
Plan the schedule out in advance
As soon as you get the syllabus for each class, at the start of the semester, it would be helpful to plan the due dates for all of your classes out in advance. By doing so you will be able to avoid missing homework due dates and you’ll know when you need to focus on a certain class.
Many students will wait until just before an exam to start studying. The issue with this is that it doesn’t take advantage of the forgetting curve so it is not good for long term recall. It can also cause you to do worse on exams if you are unable to learn the material quickly enough.
Instead, you will have a much easier time in your classes if you study for them consistently throughout the entire semester. It will also help you to remember the material for longer as well.
Consider the professor
The professor can have a big impact on the difficulty a class and especially in classes related to data science. The professor will determine the pace of a class, what goes on exams and how they get graded. Some will tell you to know everything from the book and others will give you a study guide.
Before choosing a class it would help to look at what other students have said on ratemyprofessors.com.
Study for the class ahead of time
One way to make your classes a lot easier would be to study for them before starting them. You can do this by watching a Youtube playlist or reading a highly rated book online. Doing so will help you follow the lectures more easily and do better on the exams.
Take the homework seriously
While the largest weighting will be on the exams, the homework can still have a high weighting in many classes related to data science. Many students don’t take the homework very seriously but this is a mistake. Doing well on the homework will allow you to do better on the exams and help make up for poor exam results.