Data scientists in Delaware with master’s degrees have incredible potential to secure long-term, well-paid employment. In 2015, Forbes reported that there was a need for 4.4 million data analysts worldwide, and that number continues to grow as data scientists have become crucial components to the success of many different industries. Some of those industries include finance and banking, healthcare, manufacturing, retail and HR, as well as the public sector and beyond. In 2014, IDC estimated that the volume of digital data will grow 40% to 50% per year, requiring trained professionals to quantify and identify trends in internal data processes.
Data scientists in Delaware have the opportunity to find employment with many different companies, including banking and finance operations and healthcare corporations. As a data scientist with banks such as M&T bank in Wilmington, Delaware, data scientists perform complex analysis of internal data in order to provide summarized reports to company executives. In addition, data scientists at M&T write code for databases, maintain current databases, and add to existing processes in order to improve data mining systems. Data scientists may also work for companies such as Informatic Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Newark, Delaware. Informatic Technologies provides medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics, and medical information technology to healthcare clients. Data scientists at Informatic Technologies work with clinical research data in order to maintain client information databases and identify trends and improvements within the system.
In 2014, executive recruiting firm Burtch Works reported that salaries for data scientists at almost every career level have increased, with the most substantial increase in senior data science manager salaries. With high earning potential and increased marketability, Burtch Works’ study showed that in 2015, nearly 88% of data scientists held master’s degrees. Pursuing a master’s degree in data science is the next step for many successful data science professionals.
Preparing for a Master’s Degree in Data Science in Delaware
Candidates seeking a master’s degree in data science in Delaware must meet a variety of qualifications, including undergraduate education, related employment experience, and knowledge of fundamental concepts. Master’s programs set highly selective admission requirements, and all candidates must possess a diverse skill set, prerequisite courses, high scores on graduate entrance exams, and between 5-7 years of previous employment in the data science field.
Undergraduate Degree and Master’s Prerequisite Courses
Applicants to data science master’s programs are required to meet several minimum qualifications in order to be considered for acceptance. These requirements include:
- Bachelor’s degree in a related field (statistics, computer science, engineering, or applied math)
- Minimum of 3.0 GPA during undergraduate studies
Applicants must also complete required prerequisite courses before enrolling in the program. Required courses include:
- Calculus I & II
- Linear algebra
Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of fundamental quantitative concepts, score in the 85th percentile on either the GRE or GMAT exam, and have at least 5-7 years of related work experience.
In order to succeed in data science coursework, candidates must possess strong familiarity with key concepts, including:
- Data structures
- Algorithms and analysis of algorithms
- Linear algebra
Preparing to Excel in the Quantitative Sections of the GRE/GMAT Exams
In order to be considered for admission, applicants must score in the top 15 percent on the quantitative section of either the GRE or the GMAT exam. Admissions departments also look for applicants with excellent scores in the verbal and writing sections, as all data science professionals require strong communication skills.
The Graduate Record Exam (GRE)’s quantitative section will evaluate the candidate’s abilities to perform data analysis and solve basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry problems. Topics particularly relevant to data scientists include statistics, standard deviation, tables, graphs, and probabilities. To prepare, the candidate can take a free practice exam or view a preparation guide on the quantitative section hosted on the official GRE website.
The General Management Admissions Test (GMAT) also has a quantitative section, which consists of 37 questions on problem solving, data analysis, and data efficiency. To prepare for the GMAT exam, candidates may review preparation materials and take two free practice exams on the official GMAT website, or candidates may choose to take practice exams hosted by The Princeton Review or Veritas Prep.
Gaining Relevant Prior Work and Personal Experience
In order to be accepted into a master’s program, candidates must have 5-7 years of experience in data science or a related field. Applicants are required to possess the following skills:
- Strong communication skills
- Programming proficiency in languages such as JAVA, C++, and Python
- Coding skills
- Hacking skills
- Data mining ability
- Database administration proficiency
In Delaware, data science professionals can gain the required experience through many different entry-level positions. A few examples of the kinds of employment that would satisfy admission requirements include:
Entry level analyst with DHG in Wilmington, DE, researching data, reviewing it for accuracy, and subsequently ensuring appropriate documentation within databases. Analysts use data manipulation and sorting of data sets to catalog data.
Data architect with Infinite Computer Solutions in Wilmington, DE, designing and developing Hadoop clusters using Hadoop distribution and open source platforms, as well as employing data driven analytics and collaborating with project managers to build solutions for clients.
Data programmer or engineer at local government offices, startups, or nonprofits.
Bridge Programs and Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Options for Master’s Program Applicants Who Need to Fill Gaps in Knowledge
Applicants to data science master’s programs are expected to possess a diverse array of knowledge and skills because master’s course work will build off of prior knowledge and experience with concepts, programming languages, and familiarity working with data sets. If applicants do not possess each of the requirements for admission, most universities offer bridge programs to fill the gaps in education or experience.
Two different types of bridge programs are offered:
- Fundamental bridge programs (includes linear algebra, algorithms, analysis of algorithms, data structures)
- Programming bridge programs, including essential programming languages such as Python, JAVA, and C++
MOOCs are supplementary educational resources designed to help data science master’s students fill gaps in knowledge or learn additional skills, such as programming languages. MOOCs include online problem modules, filmed lectures, and the opportunity to interact with instructors and teaching assistants.
Earning a Master’s Degree in Data Science in Delaware
Master’s programs in data science are offered in a handful of traditional in-state, on campus programs in Delaware. However, online master’s programs are growing in popularity, offering a broader range of programs and flexibility around a professional schedule. Online options offer fully accredited curriculum and are widely respected by employers nationwide.
Most data science programs require students to complete an immersion experience in their last semester. The immersion program is a hands-on group project that will require online students to visit campus. In addition, students can choose from full time, part time, or accelerated program tracks. Full time programs take 18 months to complete, part-time programs can be completed in 32 months, and accelerated options can be completed in as little as 12 months.
Students may choose from several program titles:
- Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS)
- Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS)
Curriculum Content and Core Coursework
Coursework within master’s programs will vary, but all courses require certain fundamental skills required for data science professionals. Programs will include a combination of the following topics:
- Applied regression and time series analysis
- File organization and database management
- Advanced managerial economics
- Ethics and law for data science
- Network and data security
- Visualization of data
- Quantifying materials
- Statistical sampling
- Data storage and retrieval
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence
- Experiments and causal inference
- Data research design and applications
- Scaling data – macro and micro
- Information visualization
- Data mining
- Experimental statistics
Key Competencies and Objectives
Data science master’s programs seek to prepare students for the challenges of working in the field. Students are expected to become competent in the following areas:
- Communication and visualization
- Research design
- Database queries
- Data cleansing
- Ethics, privacy, and relevant law
- Statistical sampling
- Data collection and analysis
- Data mining and machine learning
- Database management and file organization
- Data and network security
- Programming languages such as Python, GitHub, and SAS
Career Opportunities for Data Scientists in Delaware with Advanced Degrees
In Delaware, data scientists are employed by a broad range of companies to help derive insights from company data as well as to maintain and improve internal data systems. In 2015, executive recruiting firm Burtch Works reported that due to the shortage of qualified professionals, there has never been a better time to be a data scientist looking for a job.
The following job listings are shown as illustrative examples only and are not meant to represent job offers or provide any assurance of employment. These examples were taken from a survey of job vacancy announcements for data scientists in Delaware in February 2016.
Data Scientist with Cybercoders in Newark, DE
- MS or Ph.D. in data science, chemical engineering, computer science, or mathematics
- Experience with data mining and machine learning
- Conducting hands-on research and development in partnership with the data science team
- Using data mining to monitor business operations, plant production and processes
- Evaluating and developing data mining algorithms using advanced regression techniques
Risk Data Scientist in Wilmington, DE
- Master’s or Ph.D. in data science or related discipline
- 5 years’ experience using Python or similar software
- 5 years’ experience in financial sector
- 5 years’ experience building predictive models
- Developing credit risk and scorecard models for business lending
- Performing data mining, analysis, and optimization of decisions
- Exploring data solutions to optimize models and decision making process
Director of Data Science at Anthem in Wilmington, DE
- Master’s in data science or a related field
- 7 years’ experience in predictive analytics
- Advanced expertise with Python, R, SAS, SAS Enterprise Miner or equivalent
- 3 years’ experience leading advanced modeling teams
- Leading a team of data scientists engaged in development of machine learning algorithms to solve business problems
- Providing guidance to the team on working with varying datasets
- Piping and processing massive data streams in distributed computing environments