What Can You Do With a Master's in Data Science? - Jobs & Salary

Sep 28, 2019

A master's degree in data science can lead to many career options in a range of fields. In addition, job growth in this industry is predicted to be high, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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A master's degree program in data science is a relatively new offering at many colleges and universities. However, coursework in this developing field prepares graduates to work in multiple settings, ranging from cybersecurity to healthcare. Continue reading to learn how a master's degree in data science can be a gateway to the following careers.

Career Options & Outlook with a Master's in Data Science

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Computer and Information Research Scientist $118,370 16%
Database Administrator $90,070 9%
Information Security Analyst $98,350 32%
Operations Research Analyst $83,390 26%
Software Developer $105,590 21%
Statistician $87,780 31%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Data Science Master's Degree Career Paths

Computer and Information Research Scientist

Computer and information research scientists often work in areas such as robotics, data science, and programming, and are tasked with discovering new ways to use technology or to improve existing methods. They tend to work in more conceptual roles, which includes writing complex algorithms to enhance machine learning or creating new computer languages so software programs run more efficiently. Computer and information research scientists also share their findings with others in the field at conferences and in academic journals. Those holding a master's degree in data science can use their knowledge of advanced math and research methods as well as analytical skills in this career path.

Database Administrator

Database administrators can work in various fields, including insurance, education, healthcare, and retail, and are responsible for managing and organizing data, backing up information in case of a loss, and merging data into new databases. Some database administrators also build databases that are specific to a company's needs. Others, depending on their field, have more specific roles such as managing education, medical, or financial records for an organization. In this career, master's degree holders can use their knowledge of database design and management and database languages, including Structured Query Language.

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts typically ensure their company's computer networks are secure and investigate if a data breach does occur. They might also perform simulated attacks to look for weaknesses within their organization's networks and develop recovery plans so the company can remain operational in the event of a real attack. Graduates who have taken a cybersecurity pathway in their data science master's degree program can use their knowledge of risk prevention, government regulations, and the most current cybersecurity technologies in this career.

Operations Research Analyst

Operations research analysts commonly solve problems to help all aspects of an organization operate as efficiently as possible. They might collect information related to the problem, analyze it using databases and statistical software, and weigh the costs and benefits of making changes. They frequently solve diverse problems, ranging from figuring out the best way for a store to display its products to determining the most economical and efficient flight schedule for an airline. Graduates with a master's degree in data science who choose this career path can use their advanced math skills, particularly statistics, and knowledge of database management.

Software Developer

Software developers often work closely with teams of experts and oversee the design of computer programs from start to finish. They can create specific software for companies or applications, including games, that are sold to the public. Software developers also perform routine maintenance on programs to ensure optimal performance and develop upgrades. In this career, data science master's degree holders can use their knowledge of computer languages and coding in addition to problem-solving skills.


Statisticians might work in healthcare, government, education, and research settings that require data collection and analysis. In addition to breaking large amounts of data into manageable pieces and using statistical software to interpret it, statisticians often make predictions, identify trends, and suggest strategies based on the results. Depending on the field they choose, some statisticians develop studies to test the effectiveness of drug treatments on diseases, while others analyze consumer shopping patterns or professional sports statistics. Those with a master's degree in data science can use their knowledge of data management, statistics, and experimental design in this career choice.

Data science is one of the fastest growing industries, and specialists who work in this field are in demand at many types of organizations in both government and private sectors. The knowledge and skills gained from a master's degree in data science can prepare graduates for a wide range of career opportunities.

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