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Elite North American Data Science Institutes

Data science promises to revolutionize the way we live, work and learn, offering students a world of opportunities in this emerging field.

In the coming decades, scientists who understand and extract value from data will be sought after by employers. Data scientists analyze vast stores of data and communicate their insights in ways that benefit the public, government and business. They mine electronic health data to forecast flu outbreaks and other epidemics, as well as to predict the heritability of diseases. They study climate data to counter the effects of global warming, and analyze transport data to find patterns that reduce traffic, pollution and ensure general road safety. They design the algorithms to combat cybercrime and promote fairness and truth across the Web. In essence, data scientists plumb data for the good of humanity – to improve people’s lives.

And since it’s such a hot new field, data science graduates are highly sought-after, with the demand for them far outstripping supply. Big companies compete with each other to land as many graduates of data science programs as they can. For the second straight year, the website Glassdoor named data scientists as the top career in the US, basing its ranking on salary, number of job openings and job satisfaction. PwC also estimated that 2.3 million job openings now need data-science skills, adding that “the best jobs right now in America include titles like data scientist and data engineer.”

Students of data-driven subfields such as deep learning, artificial intelligence or deep neural networks will be among a select few thousand for whom opportunities will be limitless. In a talk she gave recently at a data science institute, Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene said there are only a few thousand people in the US who understand deep learning; a subset of machine learning whose networks are capable of learning from data. And the salaries being offered to those select few range from $300,000 to $500,000 a year.

During a recent career fair in Manhattan, Ben Zweig, an IBM recruiter, said “You can’t find enough good data scientists. We are looking to hire students who are good with data but who also know how to frame problems and communicate solutions to them.”

If you’re ready to enter the world of data science, consider these four universities…

DATA SCIENCE INSTITUTE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

The Data Science Institute (DSI) at Columbia University is the perfect place for students to acquire these skills. The Institute offers two graduate level programs: the MS in Data Science, and the Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences.

At DSI, students learn to merge data science with myriad disciplines to solve seemingly intractable societal problems in areas such as climate change, education, energy, environment, healthcare, the media and the internet. Above all, students here learn to use data ethically for the benefit of society, which DSI refers to as using “data for good.”

DSI excels at postgraduate degree and certificate placements with nearly a 100 percent success rate for placing students in summer internships and full-time jobs. The Institute engages with companies and organizations that want to expand their data science teams and works closely with its Industry Affiliates. Students work in tandem with the affiliates on their Capstone Projects, in which they seek solutions to real-world problems.

“Our graduates have mastered the most advanced data-science techniques in their classes while completing internships and hands-on projects as part of their degree requirements,” says Rachel Fuld Cohen, Assistant Director of Student Services & Career Development at DSI. “Their mix of theoretical and applied experience makes our graduates extremely desirable in the data-science job market.”

DEPARTMENT OF STATISTICS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

As an Ivy League College, Harvard features on the wish list of almost every student and employer. A degree from here signals to employers that you’re the cream of the academic crop and have worked alongside some of the best data science minds throughout your degree.

The Department of Statistics at Harvard University have a newly launched Master’s in Data Science.

The program offers leading education in statistical modeling, machine learning, optimization, management and analysis of massive data sets, as well as data acquisition. The course also allows students to specialise in topics such as reproducible data analysis, collaborative problem solving, visualization and communication, and security and ethical issues that arise in data science. This means graduates study modules in both the computer science and statistics departments in a university that has made ground-breaking contributions to the data science field.

Students here gain industry relevant experience through university organised internships, which prove to be invaluable upon graduation. This experience, combined with a degree from, arguably, the best university in the world, will fool-proof your career in a competitive graduate market.

DIVISION OF DATA SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY

Focussed on providing a comprehensive and multifaceted data science education, the University of California Berkeley’s (UC Berkeley) Division of Data Science offers a range of courses that explore everything from the foundations of data science to Human Contexts and Ethics.

Undergraduate students in the division have the unique chance to partake in Data Science Discovery Programs – a research initiative that allows students to gain hands-on experience with research projects, community impact groups, entrepreneurship ventures, and educational initiatives across UC Berkeley.

Masters students can choose to study Masters of Information and Data Science, Masters of Engineering – Data Science and Systems Concentration, Masters of Statistics, Masters of Biostatistics, MBA Program in Data Science & Strategy, Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, giving them a deeper education in any area of data science they wish to pursue.

DEPARTMENT OF STATISTICAL SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

Ranked Canada’s top university, the University of Toronto offers students a world-class education in one of the world’s most vibrant cities.

Undergraduate students can choose to study the Actuarial Science Program or the Statistics Program to begin their journey into data science. Graduate students can study the Master’s of Financial Insurance, while PhD students can research Statistical Theory and Applications

Probability, or Actuarial Science and Mathematical Finance.

Students in the Department of Statistical Sciences benefit from being part of a close-knit academic community that holds regular seminars and events to discuss topics within the field. This gives students the opportunity to broaden their knowledge beyond the lecture theatre, moulding them into industry influencers after graduation.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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