Data Science Master Degree: To Take or Not to Take

Data science, surely, has risen to become one of the world’s highest-paying jobs today. Tech firms’ obsession with data scientists is a guarantee for significant benefits in the industry. Because they optimize their workflow and earn them more income through data analysis. Many graduates are already thinking about earning a Masters in data science, which will come at a substantial expense. 

The cost, which can range from $30,000 to $70,000, does not cover the expense of living while you study. For the most part, the returns will not be as high as you had planned, especially if you don’t land a job in a high-profile organization. 

So, should you acquire a data science Master’s Degree at all expenses? Or should you focus on self-teaching approaches? This article has answers to most of your questions.

First, is a Master’s Degree in Data Science necessary?

Masters Degree programs specialized in data science have sprung up as the career of Data Scientist has grown in popularity over the past few years. And, given the hype around the field, you may be pondering, “Should I get a Masters Degree in Data Science?”

Before you answer that rhetorical question, you might want to consider if a Masters in Data Science is even necessary for data science.

A Master’s degree in Data Science isn’t required to work as a data scientist, to be honest. Most individuals with data scientist job titles, in reality, do not have these degrees. However, many of them may hold degrees in mathematics, computer science, statistics, or other relevant fields.

In your Bachelor’s Degree, you learned arithmetic, information technology, statistics, and computing. So why should you spend another $50,000 on a Masters’ degree by repeating them all?

The cost efficiency of a Data Science Masters’ degree

Given the tuition, studying data science in a formal school is significantly more expensive than learning on your own. Many online courses, some of which were developed by university tutors, will educate you in-depth about Data Science for a fee ranging from $150 to $500. If you take ten of these courses, you will only spend $5,000 instead. You will be well equipped at the end, with due practice. 

Secondly, the Master’s level information is similar to what you may have learned or what is already available in many paid and free online courses. Almost everything covered at the Masters level may be learned online, both for a fee or for free.

Furthermore, obtaining a Master’s Degree in data science does not ensure immediate employment. To land a data science job, you’ll need in-depth knowledge of the skills needed to assist your employer in solving business-related problems, as well as the ability to sell yourself. In short, it is your proficiency and selling skills that will set you apart from the competition.

The pay you will earn as a data scientist with a company will be the same as the compensation you will receive when you complete your Master’s Degree in data science. The ROI will not be as spectacular as you may have hoped.

In addition, the time you are willing to devote to a data scientist masters program can be used to improve your skills as an employee. You can improve your talents or, if you want to add more papers to your resume, you can pursue a completely different field of specialty. But ensure to choose a relevant field. 

Building a career with a Masters in Data Science

If you have the money and time to acquire an added credential on your resume, you can choose to take a Data Science Masters’ degree program. Obviously, it gives you the knowledge you need to become an expert in the industry. 

By becoming a renowned data scientist with a masters’ degree (or PhD perhaps), you can teach Data Science students in universities. In addition, the graduates from your numerous classes can go on to work as data scientists and analysts in organizations and build a better future for the industry.

However, be aware of the inadequacies associated with a Data Science Master’s Degree so that you can measure the benefits against the drawbacks before making your decision. You don’t want to pour all that money into a program that wouldn’t be practically beneficial to you career-wise. 

Where to get the Best Data Science Masters degrees?

Maths, Statistics, and Computer Science are just a few of the disciplines that make up the Data Science field. There are a range of degree programs available, ranging from Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to Data Systems Administration and Security. Here are some of the best data science masters options for you.

Columbia University Institute of Data Science

The institute offers an MSc in Data Science. It is a 30-credit program that costs $2,018 per credit. Columbia allows its students to focus on one or more of the several areas of data science concentration. These areas of focus include health analytics, cybersecurity, finance and business analytics, smart cities, and many others that you can find here.

A prerequisite for applying to the program is knowledge and ability to code in multiple languages including R, Java, Python and C. You are required to pass a minimum of 12 credits to graduate the program and earn an MSc certificate in Data Science. 

American University, Washington DC.

The AU, Washington offers a Masters’ in Data Science program for students looking to take their career to the next level. This is a 30-credit program delivered on campus with each credit costing $1,759. 

Taking this program exposes you to courses, including statistical methods, programming, regression, machine learning, and political analysis. Your knowledge in these areas will be very instrumental in taking your career to the next level. 

Chapman University, Orange, California

This CA-based university offers a Masters in Computational and Data Science program with 31 credits costing $1,630 per credit. All its 13-credit core courses are focused on methodology and techniques of the field. So, if you are looking for a laser-focused Masters program in DS, this is not a bad option. 

Purdue University: Krannert School of Management, Indiana.

This school of management offers a masters in data science program as Master of Science in Business Analytics and Information Management. It is a full-time, STEM-certified program with three specializations in supply chain analytics, investment analytics, and corporate finance analytics.

With knowledge of SAS, Python, Minitab, and SQL, as well as a tuition of $47,786, out-of-state students can add this degree to their career arsenal while in-state students only need to pay $29,741 for the same opportunity. State advantages, you bet. 

How difficult is a Masters degree in Data Science?

Master’s Degrees are designed to help students advance their careers by providing them with more technical, specialized knowledge. Completing a Master’s Degree in data science might be difficult. It may be more difficult if you are making a shift from Art/Philosophy to science. Especially if you don’t have a Math or Statistics background.

Graduates in Computer Science, Maths, and Statistics, on the other hand, may find it easier. This is because most of the skills and programming languages required for a Masters Degree Data Science would have been taught during their Bachelor’s study.

Which is the best degree for Data Science

A Master’s Degree is the best degree for a data science job. Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s great. The majority of data scientists hold a Bachelors’, Masters’, or even Ph.D. Degrees. And, if you look at some job postings available online, you will discover that the majority of them specify a B.A. or M.S. Degree as the preferred educational qualification. 

That means you may need a B.S. or M.S. in a relevant discipline to stand a chance of landing a Data Scientist job. However, there are some Data Science jobs that require experience in the field. In this case, you will need to convince the employer with your work portfolio and past jobs

Masters of Science in Data Science, Computer Science, and Statistics are some of the most valued masters degrees programs for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the field. Computer science, on the other hand, is the safest pick because it allows for a lot of flexibility.

Is a career in Data Science a good one?

Data Science is a great professional path with a lot of room for progress in the future. Demand is already high, compensation is attractive, and benefits are plentiful, which is why LinkedIn has named Data Scientist “the most promising career” and Glassdoor has named it “the finest job in America.”

Data Science is one of the highest-paying careers, no doubt. Data Scientists earn an average of $116,100 a year, according to Glassdoor. Therefore, Data Science is a lucrative career choice. Furthermore, the high demand for data capabilities necessitates continuous refinement of certain positions within data science. It’s a profession for the future, and it’ll be fascinating to see how this sector develops over the next decade.

Does data science require coding?

For a data scientist job, basic coding is a must-have skill. When you interpret data like a data scientist, you may need to utilize code to create models or algorithms that can help you obtain even more insight.

Knowing programming languages such as Python, R, SQL, Java, and C will be beneficial, but you do not need to be an expert programmer to pursue a career in data science.

All you’ll need is a basic understanding of these coding languages. Experts agree that anyone who is acquainted with and knows the fundamentals of programming, such as loops, functions, if-else statements, and programming logic, may succeed as a data scientist.


If you are still asking: “Should I get a masters degree in data science?” Well, it’s entirely up to you. If you have the resources to embark on the formal adventures of learning and earning a certificate, then you can key into a Masters in data science. Nevertheless, you can enroll in an online data science masters program through edX, Coursera, Udemy, and other platforms in case you won’t be available on-campus.

Without prior experience in coding languages such as Python, R, SQL, Java, or others, earning a Master of Science in Data Science may be challenging. But, if you want to learn a language, I recommend starting with the basics. Our several basic Data Science courses can help prepare you for the game changing career decision of pursuing an MSc in Data Science.

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