The path to a data science career often takes unexpected twists and turns. Data scientists have professional backgrounds as varied as journalist, systems developer, or—in the case of University of Wisconsin Master of Data Science student Halee Mason—lab scientist. We sat down with Halee with a few questions about her experience in the online program. Here, in her own words, the Westfield, N.Y. native shares how she went from lab scientist to data scientist, what drew her to this particular program, and what advice she would give to someone considering a data science degree.
If you’re a data scientist, you probably recognize the names DJ Patil and Jeff Hammerbacher. Not only are both often credited with popularizing the term “data science,” but they also exemplify the modern data scientist—that is, one who applies his or her data-savvy expertise in any setting that demands it, including healthcare, e-commerce, social media, and journalism—just to name a few.
Patil, the chief data scientist at the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy, boasts an extensive resume that includes stints at LinkedIn, Greylock Partners, Skype, PayPal, and eBay.
If you’re a student in the online UW Master of Science in Data Science program, summer can save you time.
How much? Consider this example:
Say you take two courses each spring and fall semester, and you take summers off. You would earn your Data Science degree in three years.
Now, imagine you take two courses during summer semester, too. If you did this, you’d graduate with your master’s degree in just two years.
Summer matters a lot. Make it count.
When it comes to landing the data science job of your dreams, you only get one opportunity to make a first impression. You need to make it count.
How can you do that? It’s simple: A succinct and targeted data science resume and cover letter. When written effectively, both documents set you apart from other candidates and convey exactly what you can offer and why.
Though only halfway finished with his UW Master of Science in Data Science, Nicholas Sondelski already knows his future lies in data-driven manufacturing.
Nick is the IT manager at Pointe Precision, a Plover, Wis. manufacturing company, where he’s witnessed the dawn of Industry 4.0—or, the evolution of “smart factories.” Today, these facilities produce a tremendous amount of data that can be used to automate and improve manufacturing technologies.
“Data is exploding right now,” he says, “but manufacturing needs more professionals who can study and interpret this data.” And Nick sees opportunities here—for manufacturing and for his career.
A quick search on LinkedIn reveals more than 8,000 data scientist jobs nationwide. More than 5,000 of these jobs were posted in the last month. More than 300 were posted in the last 24 hours alone, suggesting that those who pursue a data science degree can literally (and figuratively) bank on job security.
In psychology, data is everything. Without data, it’s difficult to quantify findings that lead to more effective care and positive outcomes. Making data actionable requires the insights of a savvy psychologist with a background in data science who can help others understand what data is truly saying about human behavior—and what it could mean going forward.
Picture this: The bases are loaded at the bottom of the ninth inning. A batter steps up to the plate, scuffs his sneakers against the mud-caked marker that signals home, and glares at the pitcher’s mound. The crowd roars as the pitcher nods to the catcher and winds up for the throw. In the blink of an eye, the fastball slices through the air at nearly 90 miles per hour. Will the batter get a hit and enable at least one run? Or will he miss and disappoint his team?
The University of Wisconsin Master of Science in Data Science blog team will be exploring how data science complements various professional backgrounds in the Can I Be a Data Scientist? blog series. We’re excited to bring the world of data science to people who might not otherwise seek it.
You’re in the health information field, but you want to expand on your expertise or explore other fields… Are you the type to geek out over numbers, equations, and statistics? Do you frequently question existing assumptions and processes? If the answer to either or both of these questions is ‘yes,’ then data science—an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the use of data to inform decisions and make new discoveries—may be a good fit for you.
Navigating the complex world of a data science degree requires that students have two things at their fingertips: 1) key concepts and knowledge about data analytics and 2) instant access to the latest technology—powerful tools including SQL Server, R, Python, Tableau, and more. The University of Wisconsin’s online Data Science master’s degree program offers students convenient access to both.
According to David Summers, program manager for UW Data Science, “We know our students are busy professionals from a variety of fast-paced industries. They don’t have time to make a special trip to a campus computer lab like a traditional student. For their benefit, we offer the Virtual Desktop—a cloud-based source for all the necessary program software. One simple login provides access to every software, application, and program our students will need to earn their data science degrees. No downloads, no installations, no multiple logins—and no recurring cost. They have access to every tool they’ll need to master any assignment in our curriculum.”