The Future of Data Science and Important Skills for Data Scientists

A data scientist analyzes metrics on a data chart.

Data science is an exciting field that includes machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), data cleansing, and the preparation and analysis of massive sets of information (big data). Data scientists transform this data into valuable insights and actionable steps that improve business operations and outcomes. The role of data scientist has become highly sought after in the U.S. In fact, it was named the “best job in America,” in Glassdoor’s 2018 rankings. Earning a data science bachelor degree online can be a great way to seek a position in this growing field.

Trends in Data Science

Important skills for data scientists are equally far-reaching. Working with large retailers, at manufacturers, in advertising, or in the tech industry, data scientists apply mathematics, statistical understanding, programming skills, and creative problem-solving to derive meaning from raw information. While the core concepts of data science have been around for a long time, the opportunities afforded by new technology have made the applications of the study more compelling and versatile.

Some recent trends in this expansive field include:

Turning Big Data into Business Insight

The ability to glean information from big data sets is critical for businesses hoping to optimize sales, production, and reach. Today, there are numerous data sources for marketing experts to leverage, such as digital analytics, economic trend research, and social media reach reports. This is a huge asset, but also comes with certain challenges that data scientists help navigate. Working in today’s market, they are able to use data to examine where conversations are happening, which outreach methods are effective, and how customers interact with content.

Data Science in Manufacturing

Manufacturing is a key industry that will reap the benefits of the future of data science. Already, data science has helped to revolutionize operations, reducing scrap rates, optimizing fabrication rates, reducing supply chain forecasting errors, and improving yields of many products as much as 30% according to Forbes. Efficiency is increased through specific applications such as data mining, automation, and machine learning. Data science also helps reduce supply chain risk, boost competitive advantage, recommend predictive maintenance, customize products, and improve the post-sale service experience.

Real-Time Data Analysis

As we collect and analyze more data in real time, our capacity to mine this information for valuable insights helps organizations adapt and improve performance. In some environments, such as hospitals, real-time data analysis creates life-saving results, reducing mortality rates and individual workloads for nurses, according to Nursing Times. While the data captured can differ by company and task, this trend allows businesses to become increasingly automated. In addition, the insights provided by data scientists will add deeper context to the information, allowing businesses to make important decisions that improve safety, profit margins, pricing, and more.

These trends in data science offer insight to the future of the discipline, and to the vitally important skills for data scientists to develop as they advance in the field.

The Future of Data Scientists

Businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations have all become more data-centric. In fact, nationwide use of data science platforms is expected to double in the next two years. This is good news for the future of data scientists, who will find their skills in high demand for years to come. As the BLS notes, the field of computer and IT science will continue to expand and offer opportunities for those with the right skills and training. The most current projections estimate about 19% growth between 2016 and 2026, which is well above the average of all jobs.

Proficiency in coding languages and data analysis often attained through bachelor’s or even master’s level study, may boost the ability of graduates to find well-paid and exciting jobs in the field.

Discover Opportunities in the Data Science Field

If you’re interested in IT, programming, and mathematics, there has never been a better time to seize upon the momentum of data science. For its wide applications in numerous industries, the new global reliance on insights gleaned from data, and the vast potential that this field has to grow and evolve, the future of data science appears very bright. Learn how you can capture these opportunities for yourself by exploring some of the online computer science degree programs at Maryville University.


CIO, “Five Critical Success Factors to Turn Data Into Insight”

Forbes, “Data Scientist is the Best Job in America According to Glassdoor’s 2018 Rankings”

Forbes, “Radical Change is Coming to Data Science Jobs”

Forbes, “Ten Ways Machine Learning is Revolutionizing Manufacturing in 2018”

Forbes, “The Value of Real-Time Data Analytics”

Maryville University, Bachelor’s in Data Science

Nursing Times, How Real-Time Data Can Improve Patient Care

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Big Data Adds Up to Opportunities in Math Careers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer and Information Research Scientists

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