Take a sprinkling of math, add some statistical analysis, and coat with the advanced programming and analytics that enables people to pore through enormous batches of data and you have the recipe for a data scientist.
These professionals (and their data-based talents) are sought after in industries of all shapes and sizes. Every sector from healthcare, finance, and retail to communications and even the government can make use of the skills of data scientists to advance. That’s great news if you’re considering completing your Master’s degree in the subject, as your degree is the key that can unlock the door to a comfortable five-figure salary.
Here, we look at the Master’s in data science salary and explain what you can do to maximize your potential.
Masters in Data Science: An Overview
As a postgraduate degree course, a Masters in data science builds on some of the core skills you’ll learn in a computer science or information technology degree. Think of it as a specialization. You’ll expand on the programming and analytical skills you’ve already developed to learn how to extract actionable insights from massive datasets. In the world of Big Data (where companies generate more data than at any other point in history), those skills are more important than ever.
Speaking of skills, you’ll develop or hone the following when studying for your Master’s in data science:
- Data Analysis – The ability to analyze data (i.e., interpret what seemingly random datasets tell you) is one of the first skills you’ll pick up in your degree.
- Data Visualization – Where your analysis helps you to see what you’re looking at, data visualization is all about representing that data visually so that others see what you see.
- AI and Machine Learning – The nascent technologies involved in the artificial intelligence sector revolve around data, in addition to many modern AI technologies being helpful for analyzing data. You’ll learn both sides, developing the skills to both create and use AI.
- Software Engineering and Programming – Don’t assume the programming skills you have from your previous degree will go to waste, as you’ll need them for a data science Master’s. You’ll use plenty of new tools, in addition to picking up more skills in languages like Python, SQL, and R.
- Soft Skills – A Master’s in data science isn’t all technical. You’ll develop some soft skills that prove useful in the workplace, such as communication, basic teamwork, and management. Most data science courses also teach ethics so you can get to grips with the idea of doing the right thing with data.
The Top Universities for a Data Science Masters
According to the university rating website Collegedunia, there are more than 60 leading data sciences universities in the United States alone, each offering both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the subject. It ranks the following as the top five institutions for getting your Master’s in data science:
- MIT – As the top data science university in the world (according to the QS Global Rankings), MIT is the first choice for any prospective student.
- Harvard University – The “Harvard” name carries weight regardless of the course you choose. Data scientists have their pick of a standard Master’s in data science or a course dedicated to health data science.
- Columbia University – Those who want to fast-track their studies may find that the intensive one-year data science Master’s that Columbia offers is a better choice than traditional two-year courses.
- John Hopkins University – Though it’s best known as one of America’s best medical schools, John Hopkins also has a strong data science department. It may be a great choice for those who want to use their data science skills to get into the medical field.
- Northwestern University – Ranking at 30 in the QS Global Rankings, Northwestern offers Master’s degrees in both data science and analytics, with the latter expanding on one of the core skills needed for data science.
Masters in Data Science Salary Potential
As great as the skills you’ll get will be, you want to know more about the Master’s in data science salary you can expect to earn.
The good news is that a strong salary isn’t just possible. It’s likely. According to Indeed, the average salary for a data scientist is £49,749 in the UK. Cult.Honeypot has interesting figures for Europe as a whole, noting that the average data scientist on the continent earns €60,815, which matches up well to general salary expectations of €60,000. You can also expect a position in this field to come with numerous benefits, including medical insurance (where relevant) and flexible working conditions.
Of course, there are several factors that influence your specific earning power:
- Geographic location
- The specific industry in which you work
- Your experience level
- The size of the company for which you work
For example, a brand-new graduate who takes a position at a start-up in a non-tech industry may find that they earn at the lower end of the scale, though they’ll develop experience that could serve them well later on.
Data scientists also tend to have higher salary prospects than those in comparable fields. For example, more data from Indeed shows us that data scientists in the UK earn more, on average, than software engineers (£49,409), computer scientists (£45,245), and computer engineers (£24,780). Furthermore, a Master’s in data science is wide-ranging enough that it’ll give you many of the skills you need for the above industries, assuming you’d want a career change or discover that data science isn’t for you.
Benefits of a Masters in Data Science for Earning Power
It’s clear that the Master’s in data science salary potential is strong, with mid-five-figure salaries being the standard (rather than the exception) for the industry. But there are benefits beyond potential earnings that make the Master’s course a good one to take.
More Job Opportunities
Data science is everywhere in modern industry because every company produces data. You can apply your skills in industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and retail, meaning you have plenty of job opportunities. The research backs this statement up, too, with figures from Polaris Market Research suggesting a 27.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the data science industry between 2022 and 2030.
Greater Job Security
The encroachment of AI into almost every aspect of our lives has many people worried about job security. Some even speculate that machines will take over many roles in the coming years. Data scientists don’t have to worry about that. Not only will you use AI to advance your research, but you may also be responsible for further developments in the AI and machine learning fields. All of which will make you crucial to the continuation of the AI trend.
Opportunities for Career Advancement
The salary figure quoted above (average salary of €60,815) is for a fairly standard data science role. Opportunities for career advancement exist, whether that be simply moving into a more senior position in a company or taking control of a team, thus adding management to your skill set. Those who prefer conducting research will also find that many universities and large companies have teams dedicated to using data science to create social and commercial change.
Tips for Maximizing Earnings With a Masters in Data Science
With the Master’s in data science salary potential already being attractive enough (six figures is a great start), you may not worry too much about maximizing your earning potential at the start of your career. But as you get deeper into your working life, the following tips will help you get more money in return for the skills you bring to the table.
1 – Choose the Right University and Program
Universities aren’t built equally, with some carrying more weight than others. For example, a data science Master’s degree from MIT holds huge weight because it’s one of America’s top universities for the subject. Employers know what the school is about, understand that those who study there undergo superb training, and will thus be more willing to both hire and offer more money to its graduates. The point is that where you go (and what you study in your course) influences how employers see you, which also influences your earning potential.
2 – Gain Relevant Work Experience
As with any career path, what you learn along the path is as valuable as the skills you pick up when studying. You can get a head start on other data science graduates if you take on internships or get involved in research projects while studying, giving you some work experience to add to your resume that could lead to higher initial salary offers.
3 – Leverage Networking and Connections
Meeting the right people at the right times can do wonders for your career. Studying for a Master’s in data science exposes you to professors (and even people who work in the industry) who can put you in touch with people who offer roles in the industry. Continuous building on these connections, from staying active in the industry to leveraging social media, offers more opportunities for advancement.
4 – Stay Up-to-Date With Industry Trends
Data science is a fast-moving sector, with constant advancements occurring at both the high level (the evolution of AI) and in terms of how we use data science in different industries. Keeping on top of these advancements means you stay “in the know” and can see potential career paths branching out before you.
5 – Pursue Additional Qualifications
Keeping with the theme of staying up-to-date, how you build on your skills via continuing education can influence your salary potential. A Master’s degree in data science is impressive. But a degree supplemented by specialized certifications, proof of bootcamp completion, and any other accolades puts you ahead of the pack of other graduates.
Turn Your Master’s in Data Science Into a Great Career
In addition to opening you up to an exciting career in a field that’s undergoing tremendous growth, a Master’s in data science comes with mid-five-figure salary potential. You can boost your Master’s in data science salary expectations through networking, specialization, and simply staying up-to-date with what’s happening in the industry.
Granted, there are time and monetary commitments involved. You usually dedicate two years of your life to getting your degree (though some universities offer one-year data science Master’s courses) and you’ll pay a five-figure sum for your education. But the benefits on the backend of that commitment are so vast that a Master’s in data science may be the key to unlocking huge earnings in the data industry.
Soon, we will be launching four new Degrees for AY24-25 at OPIT – Open Institute of Technology
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Product Definition process that has shaped these upcoming programs.
🚀 Phase 1: Discovery (Late May – End of July)
Our journey began with intensive brainstorming sessions with OPIT’s Academic Board (Francesco Profumo, Lorenzo Livi, Alexiei Dingli, Andrea Pescino, Rosario Maccarrone) . We also conducted 50+ interviews with tech and digital entrepreneurs (both from startups and established firms), academics and students. Finally, we deep-dived into the “Future of Jobs 2023” report by the World Economic Forum and other valuable research.
🔍 Phase 2: Selection – Crafting Our Roadmap (July – August)
Our focus? Introducing new degrees addressing critical workforce shortages and upskilling/reskilling needs for the next 5-10 years, promising significant societal impact and a broad market reach.
Our decision? To channel our energies on full BScs and MScs, and steer away from shorter courses or corporate-focused offerings. This aligns perfectly with our core mission.
💡 Focus Areas Unveiled!
We’re thrilled to concentrate on pivotal fields like:
- Advanced AI
- Digital Business
- Metaverse & Gaming
- Cloud Computing (less “glamorous”, but market demand is undeniable).
🎓 Phase 3: Definition – Shaping the Degrees (August – November)
With an expert in each of the above fields, and with the strong collaboration of our Academic Director, Prof. Lorenzo Livi , we embarked on a rigorous “drill-down process”. Our goal? To meld modern theoretical knowledge with cutting-edge competencies and skills. This phase included interviewing over 60+ top academics, industry professionals, and students and get valuable, program-specific, insights from our Marketing department.
🌟 Phase 4: Accreditation and Launch – The Final Stretch
We’re currently in the accreditation process, gearing up for the launch. The focus is now shifting towards marketing, working closely with Greta Maiocchi and her Marketing and Admissions team. Together, we’re translating our new academic offering into a compelling value proposition for the market.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Far from being a temporary educational measure that came into its own during the pandemic, online education is providing students from all over the world with new ways to learn. That’s proven by statistics from Oxford Learning College, which point out that over 100 million students are now enrolled in some form of online course.
The demand for these types of courses clearly exists.
In fact, the same organization indicates that educational facilities that introduce online learning see a 42% increase in income – on average – suggesting that the demand is there.
Enter the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT).
Delivering three online courses – a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and two Master’s degrees – with more to come, OPIT is positioning itself as a leader in the online education space. But why is that? After all, many institutions are making the jump to e-learning, so what separates OPIT from the pack?
Here, you’ll discover the answers as you delve into the five reasons why you should trust OPIT for your online education.
Reason 1 – A Practical Approach
OPIT focuses on computer science education – a field in which theory often dominates the educational landscape. The organization’s Rector, Professor Francesco Profumo, makes this clear in a press release from June 2023. He points to a misalignment between what educators are teaching computer science students and what the labor market actually needs from those students as a key problem.
“The starting point is the awareness of the misalignment,” he says when talking about how OPIT structures its online courses. “That so-called mismatch is generated by too much theory and too little practical approach.” In other words, students in many classes spend far too much time learning the “hows” and “whys” behind computerized systems without actually getting their hands dirty with real work that gives them practical experience in using those systems.
OPIT takes a different approach.
It has developed a didactic approach that focuses far more on the practical element than other courses. That approach is delivered through a combination of classroom sessions – such as live lessons and masterclasses – and practical work offered through quizzes and exercises that mimic real-world situations.
An OPIT student doesn’t simply learn how computers work. They put their skills into practice through direct programming and application, equipping them with skills that are extremely attractive to major employers in the tech field and beyond.
Reason 2 – Flexibility Combined With Support
Flexibility in how you study is one of the main benefits of any online course.
You control when you learn and how you do it, creating an environment that’s beneficial to your education rather than being forced into a classroom setting with which you may not feel comfortable. This is hardly new ground. Any online educational platform can claim that it offers “flexibility” simply because it provides courses via the web.
Where OPIT differs is that it combines that flexibility with unparalleled support bolstered by the experiences of teachers employed from all over the world. The founder and director of OPIT, Riccardo Ocleppo, sheds more light on this difference in approach when he says, “We believe that education, even if it takes place physically at a distance, must guarantee closeness on all other aspects.” That closeness starts with the support offered to students throughout their entire study period.
Tutors are accessible to students at all times. Plus, every participant benefits from weekly professor interactions, ensuring they aren’t left feeling stuck on an educational “island” and have to rely solely on themselves for their education. OPIT further counters the potential isolation that comes with online learning with a Student Support team to guide students through any difficulties they may have with their courses.
In this focus on support, OPIT showcases one of its main differences from other online platforms.
You don’t simply receive course material before being told to “get on with it.” You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace while also having a support structure that serves as a foundation for that learning.
Reason 3 – OPIT Can Adapt to Change Quickly
The field of computer science is constantly evolving.
In the 2020s alone, we’ve seen the rise of generative AI – spurred on by the explosive success of services like ChatGPT – and how those new technologies have changed the way that people use computers.
Riccardo Ocleppo has seen the impact that these constant evolutions have had on students. Before founding OPIT, he was an entrepreneur who received first-hand experience of the fact that many traditional educational institutions struggle to adapt to change.
“Traditional educational institutions are very slow to adapt to this wave of new technologies and trends within the educational sector,” he says. He points to computer science as a particular issue, highlighting the example of a board in Italy of which he is a member. That board – packed with some of the country’s most prestigious tech universities – spent three years eventually deciding to add just two modules on new and emerging technologies to their study programs.
That left Ocleppo feeling frustrated.
When he founded OPIT, he did so intending to make it an adaptable institution in which courses were informed by what the industry needs. Every member of its faculty is not only a superb teacher but also somebody with experience working in industry. Speaking of industry, OPIT collaborates with major companies in the tech field to ensure its courses deliver the skills that those organizations expect from new candidates.
This confronts frustration on both sides. For companies, an OPIT graduate is one for which they don’t need to bridge a “skill gap” between what they’ve learned and what the company needs. For you, as a student, it means that you’re developing skills that make you a more desirable prospect once you have your degree.
Reason 4 – OPIT Delivers Tier One Education
Despite their popularity, online courses can still carry a stigma of not being “legitimate” in the face of more traditional degrees. Ocleppo is acutely aware of this fact, which is why he’s quick to point out that OPIT always aims to deliver a Tier One education in the computer science field.
“That means putting together the best professors who create superb learning material, all brought together with a teaching methodology that leverages the advancements made in online teaching,” he says.
OPIT’s degrees are all accredited by the European Union to support this approach, ensuring they carry as much weight as any other European degree. It’s accredited by both the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF), with all of its courses having full legal value throughout Europe.
It’s also here where we see OPIT’s approach to practicality come into play via its course structuring.
Take its Bachelor’s degree in computer science as an example.
Yes, that course starts with a focus on theoretical and foundational knowledge. Building a computer and understanding how the device processes instructions is vital information from a programming perspective. But once those foundations are in place, OPIT delivers on its promises of covering the most current topics in the field.
Machine learning, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity – all valuable to employers – are taught at the undergraduate level. Students benefit from a broader approach to computer science than most institutions are capable of, rather than bogging them down in theory that serves little practical purpose.
Reason 5 – The Learning Experience
Let’s wrap up by honing in on what it’s actually like for students to learn with OPIT.
After all, as Ocleppo points out, one of the main challenges with online education is that students rarely have defined checkpoints to follow. They can start feeling lost in the process, confronted with a metaphorical ocean of information they need to learn, all in service of one big exam at the end.
Alternatively, some students may feel the temptation to not work through the materials thoroughly, focusing instead on passing a final exam. The result is that those students may pass, but they do so without a full grasp of what they’ve learned – a nightmare for employers who already have skill gaps to handle.
OPIT confronts both challenges by focusing on a continuous learning methodology. Assessments – primarily practical – take place throughout the course, serving as much-needed checkpoints for evaluating progress. When combined with the previously mentioned support that OPIT offers, this approach has led to courses that are created from scratch in service of the student’s actual needs.
Choose OPIT for Your Computer Science Education
At OPIT, the focus lies as much on helping students to achieve their dream careers as it does on teaching them. All courses are built collaboratively. With a dedicated faculty combined with major industry players, such as Google and Microsoft, it delivers materials that bridge the skill gap seen in the computer science field today.
There’s also more to come.
Beyond the three degrees OPIT offers, the institution plans to add more. Game development, data science, and cloud computing, to name a few, will receive dedicated degrees in the coming months, accentuating OPIT’s dedication to adapting to the continuous evolution of the computer science industry. Discover OPIT today – your journey into computing starts with the best online education institution available.