Data Science is a relatively new interdisciplinary area of study that combines knowledge and skills from statistics, mathematics, and computer science in novel ways to address a broad range of real-world applications.
Data Science majors are currently in high demand across the board, in industries that include:
- Banking and finance
- Entertainment and video gaming
- Hospitals and pharmaceuticals
- And many more
Glassdoor's annual report on the "50 Best Jobs in America" has ranked Data Scientist among the top three jobs every year for the past five years (2016-2020).
What does a data scientist do?
A data scientist finds solutions to problems using data from a multitude of different sources. These sources include not only different disciplinary domains and channels, but also a variety of platforms such as cell phones, social media, e-commerce outlets, medical datasets, internet searches, and more. Thus, a data scientist must cultivate skills in all the areas related to working with large, complex datasets, and produce the information necessary for planning, forecasting, and decision-making.
Studying Data Science at Earlham
A student may enter Earlham's Data Science major through one of our introductory statistics, calculus, or computer programming courses. In the first two years of the major, students typically take courses that build a rigorous foundation in the analytical and computational skills needed. Following that, the upper division courses emphasize hands on, project-oriented learning in different application contexts, culminating with the capstone project in the final year.
As a data scientist, you may be asked to:
- analyze medical data to see whether there could be a correlation between neighborhood, water quality parameters, and public health issues, e.g. cancer (think A Civil Action).
- analyze voting district maps along with census data and election results to look for signs of gerrymandering.
- track the movement of city busses in relation to residential and commercial neighborhood traffic patterns.
- analyze Premier League statistics to assist playing Fantasy Premier League online.