“Without big data, you are blind and deaf and in the middle of a freeway.” – Geoffrey Moore
Data Science has become the driving force of every business today, and it may not be one of the popular career options your relatives would tell you to go for because it has huge scope but the opportunities in the field speak for themselves.
What is Data Science?
In simple words, Data Science is the science of data, where data in its raw form is processed into easily perceivable information. It involves using multi-disciplinary methods to analyze data scientifically using various tools, algorithms, processes, and systems to gather useful insights from data. Structured and unstructured data is converted into useful insights that can be applied to various fields.
The rapid technological advancements have resulted in an overflow of data in several sectors of the economy and an ever-increasing number of organizations and domains are relying on these massive streams of data to make business decisions.
With nearly 97,000 vacancies, India now accounts for 1 in every 10 advanced analytics job openings in the world. The great pace at which businesses are adopting analytics and data-based decision-making has caused a 45 percent increase in the supply gap in just one year.
How to start a career in Data Science?
While it’s undeniable that there has been a rapid rise in the number of colleges and institutions offering data science and analytics training, the large gap in the job market has been linked to the lack of institutions that properly prepare candidates to solve real-world problems.
Since Data Science techniques are applied to make decisions in a multitude of domains and business functions, in addition to the technical knowledge of data analytics, it is imperative for one to possess the pertinent domain knowledge as well. While a machine learning algorithm like regression, classification can be used to predict some test data, however, the true power of an algorithm can only be harnessed along with some form of domain knowledge.
While an advanced degree seems to be the logical way to pursue a career in a traditional field; it is becoming increasingly apparent that, in the case of such a new age career, having the relevant technical skills supported by relevant domain knowledge is a critical factor in landing a data science job.
Be it at the Undergraduate, Post Graduate Level, Diplomas or Certifications for Working Professionals, there are an increasing number of opportunities available to anyone who wants to kick start their career in data science.
At the Undergraduate level, one has two options:
- Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree with a specialization in Data Science.
- Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in any other related field which would either help the technical skills or the relevant domain knowledge. Eg. Computer Science, IT, Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, Finance, etc. This can later be followed by a Postgraduate Course specialized in Data Science or Business Analytics.
For graduates and working professionals, there are a plethora of options available these days in the form of Full-Time PG Courses, Diplomas, and Certifications. These are increasing at an incredible rate to help people apply their existing domain knowledge to make data-driven decisions.
Let us dive deeper into the options that one has at each level:
Here is a list of undergraduate courses that you can pursue to enhance your knowledge and make a mark in the field:
- BSc with Data sciences as specialization
The course is usually designed with a combination of programming knowledge, expertise in mathematics, and an introduction to business communication through data. The best part about this course is that it focuses very clearly on the field of Data Sciences and gets updated frequently as per the innovations in the sector.
Colleges like SP Jain, Christ University and the Great Lakes Institute offer B.Sc. in Data Science with a unique data science specialization for people pursuing a bachelor’s in science in graduation.
- BSc in other related fields
Data Science is a field that is still evolving in India. As of now, not every major Indian university offers a bachelor’s degree in Data Science specifically. You can also pursue a bachelor’s of science degree in other related fields like statistics, computer science, information technology or Mathematics which would directly add to your skills and help you take up this career option.
Many reputed universities all over the country over a B.Sc. degree including Chennai Mathematical Institute, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi University, Christ University etc.
For those of you who love Maths, you can also explore some other careers in mathematics.
- Allied bachelors’ degree
With innovations in the field coming up every other day, major universities are coming up with unique courses that combine Data with other fields where it finds its applications. For example, there is a Bachelor of Vocation in Business process and data analytics (B.Voc in BP and DA) offered by the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), which combines the best of both worlds and focuses on both data sciences and business applications simultaneously.
In addition to the conventional MSc. in Data Sciences or other related fields, here are some other postgraduate courses:
- Executive programs in Big Data and Machine learning
With Artificial Intelligence (AI) taking over different processes and automating business processes, machine learning is one of the most sought after courses in the field of Data Sciences. At the postgraduate level, you can specialize in Big Data and Machine learning in order to be a Data Scientist.
This course is offered by various universities including NMIMS and IMT with opportunities even on an international level.
- Certificate Programs in Business Analytics
This course combines the acumen of the Data Science industry with its application for various management related business decisions. If Business Intelligence interests you as a career option and you want a course that is detailed yet short, you can go for these certificate programs to specialize in the field.
The best universities like XLRI and IIT offer a postgraduate certificate program in Business Analytics for Management Decisions (PGCBAMD).
- PGDM or MBA in Business Analytics
As compared to certificate programs, this is a more detailed course that provides an in-depth exposure into the field along with the multiple opportunities to work on, after the course. In addition to the technical Data Science skills, pursuing a PGDM or MBA would also empower one with management skills making them a prominent candidate for leadership roles in top organizations.
Some universities like IIM, Great Lakes, IMT, Reva University offer a full-time postgraduate diploma (one-year duration) or Masters’ in Business Administration (two-year duration) degree in Data Science/Business Analytics.
In addition to being a part of one of the fastest-growing industries finding its application in almost every job function, a career in the field of data sciences has also been called the most awesome job of the century by Harvard. With the continuous evolution of Artificial Intelligence, there will be many more applications of the Data Sciences in fields we haven’t even imagined yet. If you are planning to pursue a career in this field, make sure you do your research and select the best courses for yourself as per your interests and needs. And in order to help you gain in-depth information about what Data Science is, the career opportunities and the various colleges that provide the above-mentioned courses, read our blog on The Power of Data.