What Can I Do with a Degree in Data Science?

Data is everywhere — and information is the lifeblood of nearly any modern businesses. Smart application of data can help people make more informed decisions, but who helps prepare that data? That’s where a degree in data science can open the door to a variety of career paths, both inside and outside of the field. 

But what kind of data science careers can a data science career prepare you for, and how can you pursue a career in a field as complex as data science?

A Data Science Job Description

One of the more common career tracks for a Data Science degree is becoming a Data Scientist. But more importantly, many data science careers are actually moderately different iterations of this fundamental position, which makes it an excellent place to start. 

In the simplest sense, a data scientist is someone who knows how to take raw data and turn it into something valuable. They’re involved in the proactive search and requisition of information for analysis, sometimes with more focus on acquiring data, and sometimes with more focus on analyzing it. In fact, preparing or discovering data is what a Data Scientist does about 80% of the time. 

Most data science positions are an odd mixture of many interrelated academic fields. At their core, data science jobs revolve around mathematical modeling executed through a foundation of computer science. A Data Scientist needs to be familiar with a variety of techniques for modeling data, as well as excellent problem solving skills. They also need to understand the way databases are constructed, as most data science careers will require some proficiency in common programming languages like Python, Jana, and SQL.

But those kinds of technical skills are only the bare essentials. As is often the case with analytical careers, those who truly excel in this field tend to have an even more diverse and specialized educational background. Because before it’s been sorted, data tells no story of its own. And when drawn from complex, interrelated systems, interpreting and sorting “raw data” in a meaningful way can be quite challenging. 

That’s why, for analyzing human data, a background in psychology can be quite useful. Similarly, a background in business can also be helpful because it takes business acumen to arrive at the insight necessary for discovering how to turn data into something that businesses can use. And as a general rule, nearly all data science careers require a considerable teamwork and communication. But how do you find the right balance of skills necessary for getting the job you want?

How to Get a Job in Data Science

Due to the large and varied list of skills required for these kinds of positions, planning how to get into a data science career typically requires a fair amount of preparation and forethought. 

More importantly, the majority of the advanced leadership positions within the field tend to be graduate degree holders. That means while a master’s degree in data science is not required for all positions, it is statistically important for your prospective for career advancement. 

You don’t necessarily need to start out with a data science major to end up working in data science. In fact, you can learn many of the skills necessary to process and analyze complex data in mathematics, economics, computer science, physics, social science, statistics, and other fields. Pursuing a data science major for undergraduate studies merely provides a more linear educational path. It’s at the graduate level that a data science degree, like the Master of Science in Data Science, becomes more significant.

Data Science Courses

What kind of data science courses might you take while studying for a Master’s in Data Science? A few essential topics might include:

  • ANA 600 Fundamentals of Analytics
  • ANA 605 Analytic Models & Data Systems
  • ANA 615 Data Mining Techniques
  • ANA 625 Categorical Data Methods
  • ANA 630 Advanced Analytic Applications

But National University’s Master of Data Science program allows students to further specialize Database, Business, or Health Analytics; each with their own series of unique data science courses to better prepare graduates for their respective career tracks. That includes courses like:

  • HCA 626 Healthcare Information Systems
  • ANH 607 Health Outcomes Research
  • BAN 645 Prediction in Marketing
  • BAN 650 Probabilistic Finance Models
  • ANA 650 Database Design for Analytics
  • ANA 665 Data Mining & Machine Learning

Data Science Jobs

Even looking at a single career track, like Data Scientist, you’ll find many different paths. Data Scientists can specialize in various areas, like insurance or marketing. They can also move between a wide range of different industries and organizations, allowing them to work on an equally wide variety of different subjects. But where else can a data science career path take you with a Master’s degree in Data Science? 

  • Data Researcher – Collect and analyze data from a variety of sources. According to Glassdoor, Data Scientists’ salary tends to range between 83k-150k, with an average annual salary of $113,309.
  • Data Architect – With an emphasis on working with database problems and solutions, according to Glassdoor, a Data Architect’s salary tends to range between 81k-140k, with an average $113,309 annually. 
  • Data Science Engineer – Use forward-thinking data practices to build and maintain the architecture surrounding a database. According to Glassdoor, Data Engineers earn between 72k-158k, with average base pay of $102,864
  • Business Intelligence Developer – Develop and maintain Business Intelligence (BI) interfaces to help businesses more easily extract value from their internal data. According to Glassdoor, Business Intelligence Developer earns between 62k-108k, with an average base pay of $81,514.
  • Machine Learning Engineer/Scientist – Research new ways to help machines use data to learn. According to Glassdoor, a Machine Learning Engineer/Scientist typically earns between 78k-150k, with an average base pay of $114,121.

Learn Data Science at National University 

Figuring out how to get into data science is much easier when you have the right path to follow. National University is a regionally accredited school with a distinctive Master of Science in Data Science program. Graduates are prepared to apply analytical techniques, design successful machine learning and data mining strategies, and apply those skills to success in a variety of different data science careers.


Data Scientist Degree Popularity 


Glassdoor Data Scientist Salary


Business Int. Developer Salary 


Glassdoor Data Architect


Machine Learning Engineer


Data Engineer Salary


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