We have created one of the first comprehensive Data Science bachelor’s degrees in the Mountain West. This program will prepare individuals to develop and apply knowledge of basic computer science and software engineering sufficient to be able to build, modify, or use software tools for data analysis. These students will also learn fundamentals of data analysis and processing in order to be able to effectively, efficiently, and ethically make decisions based on the information within various data sources.
Graduates of the proposed program will fill a growing demand for data scientists and work in a variety of industries including health care, finance, and the internet. They will typically work with consumers of data in order to analyze, manage, and augment large data sets or work in industries that require automated forms of decision making and analysis. In situations that require large and sophisticated software development for data analysis, these graduates may work with or lead teams of computer scientists or software developers in a joint effort.
In recent years, Data Scientist is commonly listed as one of best jobs in the United States. For instance, a Forbes article from January 2018 based on the hiring website “Glassdoor.com” reports “Data Scientist has been named the best job in America for three years running, with a median base salary of $110,000 and 4,524 job openings.” Related jobs “Analytics Manager,” “Data Engineer,” and “Data Analyst” rank 18, 33 and 38, respectively, on this list. Note that all of these jobs are listed as distinct from more traditional Computer Science jobs “Software Engineer,” “DevOps Engineer,” “Mobile Developer,” “Front End Engineer,” etc.
The Utah Economic Data Viewer does not include an explicit category for “data scientist,” with the closest being “Computer and Information Research Scientists.“ This is likely related also to a Computer Science degree, but likely includes data scientists. For this field, the annual median state-wide wages are $91,090 and there are expected 30 annual openings statewide and 600 in the United states. While the listing notes that many of these jobs expect a “Doctoral or professional degree,” the data scientist panel we hosted in August 2017 provided some insight into why an applicant with a BS in Data Science may be competitive. Many entry level jobs are labeled as “Data Engineer” and “Data Analyst” whereas jobs titled “Data Scientist” often expect some seniority and include some management component. At least among those on the panel, they mainly obtained this necessary experience on the job.