Do I Need a Master's Degree for Data Science?

Sep 30, 2019

Getting a bachelor's degree or master's degree in the data science field may open up many career paths but it's not always required. Read on to learn about a range of data science jobs, including education requirements, salaries, and job growth.

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Related Careers in Data Science

Computer and Information Research Scientist

This position focuses on inventing and designing new approaches to computing technology while finding innovative uses for existing technology. Typically a master's degree in computer science, or a related field, is required to obtain this position. In some cases, especially for positions held in the federal government, a bachelor's degree could get you in the door, but a master's may provide that step up.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

Computer and information systems managers organize, manage and oversee all computer-related activities within a company. Some organizations may only require a BA in Data Science or equivalent, but want it paired with at least five years of experience. To land this position now, a master's degree is highly beneficial, as it will provide you with the foundation of skills and experience required to accurately perform the responsibilities of a manager.

Computer Support Specialist

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to computer users and organizations. It's one of the most accessible entry-level jobs currently available. A wide range of skills are used for computer support jobs, making this career path a diverse one. Generally, a bachelor's degree is needed for specialist jobs, but sometimes an associate's degree, or postsecondary classes, is enough to snag a position like this.

Computer Systems Analyst

To hold the position of computer systems analyst, one must study an organization's current computer systems to explore efficient and effective solutions. A Bachelor Computer or Information Science will hold you in good stead for this position but may not be necessarily required. Some firms hire analysts with business or liberal arts degrees, as long as they possess some form of programming experience.

Database Administrator

Known as DBAs, these administrators utilize specialized software to store and organize a company's data. The minimum entry-level education needed for the position of a database administrator is a bachelor's degree, typically consisting of information or computer-related subject.

Mathematician and Statistician

These positions analyze data and apply mathematical and statistical techniques to help solve problems. Mathematicians and statisticians have the highest job outlook on the list because almost all businesses will need specialists to analyze the ever-increasing volume of digital and electronic data. Both of these are competitive fields, so a master's degree is highly sought after for either of these positions.

Operations Research Analyst

Apply advanced mathematical and analytical strategies to fix on-going company problems. Previously a BA was all that was needed to land this position. However, with the influx of applicants, a master's degree in a technical or quantitative field, such as computers, maths, and sciences, is what many businesses now require.

Software Developer

Software developers create the applications or systems that run on a computer or other devices. Software development is a logical choice for students who have a background in computer science and programming. This is one of the more popular career paths in this discipline, so the market is oversaturated with job applicants holding a bachelor's degree, making a Master of Arts in Data Science a necessity for staying ahead.

Job Title Median Salary*
Entry-Level Education
Computer and Information
Research Scientist
$118,370 per year 16% Master's Degree
Computer and Information
Systems Manager
$142,530 per year 11% Master's Degree
Computer Support Specialist $53,470 per year 10% Bachelor's Degree
Computer Systems Analysts $88,740 per year 9% Bachelor's Degree
Database Administrator $90,070 per year 9% Bachelor's Degree
Mathematicians and
$88,190 per year 30% Master's Degree
Operations Research Analyst $83,390 per year 26% Master's Degree
Software Developer $105,590 per year 21% Bachelor's or Master's

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

A Bachelor of Arts in Data Science may land you an entry-level position such as a computer systems analyst, database administrator, or software developer. However, to stay competitive and relevant in this growing field, a master's degree is required to get a majority of data science-related jobs.

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