Data science is a rapidly evolving discipline at the intersection of statistics and computer science. The field’s progression has been driven by the surge in processing power available and the increasing amount of data collected, stored and made available in every facet of business, science and government. There is a rising need for big data, and moving forward, it is likely that most jobs available to computer science and statistics graduates will include a big data component.
Because of the field’s rapid expansion, it is projected that by 2018 there will be a shortage of 190,000 data scientists. In 2015, to meet this rising need, Western Michigan University launched the state’s first Bachelor of Science program in data science.
Offered jointly by WMU’s departments of Computer Science and Statistics, the data science major consists of 45 credit hours, with a statistics core of 16 credit hours and a computer science core of 15 credit hours. If you choose to enter this program, you will learn about statistics using R, R programming for data science, storage and retrieval of big data, machine learning, SAS, regression analysis, applied data mining and computer-based data analysis. In your capstone courses, Senior Design I and II, you will work in a group to design and implement a solution to a practical problem involving the handling and analysis of large data sets.
You will be required to have a laptop in this program.
Beyond the classroom
As a data science student at WMU, you may work with a local business or research team for your capstone courses. This not only offers valuable hands-on experience and networking opportunities, but could also lead to an internship or research position.
After you graduate
The need to analyze big data sets now permeates industry, marketing, science, medicine, environmental studies and critical societal issues. Although big data in all of these areas is now available, and exponentially expanding, there is a serious shortage of data scientists to help decision makers effectively use this data. Additionally, because of the rapidly evolving tools for such analyses, data scientists must be able to learn and adapt at a staggering pace. Upon successfully completing WMU's data science program, you will be uniquely qualified to meet these needs. There are, and will continue to be, ample job opportunities in the data science area.
If you perform well in WMU's undergraduate data science program, you may also consider entering a master's program in either computer science or statistics.
Where is this program offered?