This story is excerpted from the U.S. News "Best Colleges 2021" guidebook, which features in-depth articles, rankings and data.
Zackary Bennett, Publications Intern at U.S. News & World Report emphasiz, Across disciplines, there's a demand for people with an aptitude for crunching numbers.
Data science programs offer opportunities to apply math, statistics and computer science foundations to fields like health, business or the social sciences.
Photo: Coe Sweet
Maddy Matura took an early interest in biology at Denison University in Ohio and over time discovered she had an affinity for a specific scientific approach to understanding human life: digging deep into data. The Chicago native ended up majoring in data analytics because she saw how valuable number-crunching has become in just about every field.
Hospitals are using in-depth statistics to do predictive modeling of disease outcomes and to identify opportunities to intervene early and head off trouble, for example. Education officials analyze test results and grade trends to improve student performance. Credit card companies and financial institutions ferret out risks and fraud.
There are "a lot of cool applications in health care, especially in global health," says Matura, who had the opportunity to gain exposure to hospitals and health systems in Europe while studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2020 graduate is planning to put her data analytics degree to immediate use as a business consultant at Deloitte in New York City.
The basic notion of data science is to analyze information to improve performance or productivity, and the applications are "just endless," says Phil Bourne, a data science and biomedical engineering professor and dean of the new school of data science at the University of Virginia...
Jobs in data science and advanced analytics were projected to grow by 28% over the last five years, with advertised average salaries of $80,200 – more than $8,700 higher than the figure for other bachelor's- and graduate-level jobs – according to a 2017 report from IBM, the Business-Higher Education Forum and Burning Glass Technologies, a job market analytics firm.
And the field of computer and information research scientists alone is expected to grow "much faster than average," by 16% between 2018 and 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Source: U.S. News & World Report