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DCE Magazine

A Path to Success in Data Science

Four programs designed to provide a unified career track, from data analytics to machine learning.

Summer 2021

As the old analog world fades into history, it’s clear that global commerce is increasingly powered by data science – gathering, analyzing and interpreting massive amounts of it to drive innovative business solutions. Leveraging data and analytics is key to making the most informed decisions, whether it’s crafting effective marketing campaigns, smarter investments, or improved healthcare.

Data science encompasses a wide range of high-demand specializations, and the Division of Continuing Education addresses the growing need with a series of four certificate programs that provide a career track, a roadmap of sorts that can guide students to success in several areas of data science, from predictive analytics to the emerging field of machine learning.

“Data science and analytics are among the wildest growing fields and there is a strong demand for graduates and professionals who can apply data science to solve business challenges,” said Majed Al-Ghandour, PhD, instructor and DCE advisory board member. “DCE offers a great roadmap, four related programs that chart a career path, and all four are designed to be taken in a particular order.”

The key is taking that big first step – learning the basics and then figuring out where your data science skills can take you from there, he added. “As far as career possibilities, the big three are data analyst, data scientist and data engineer. Students need to figure out which path is right for them, and our certificate programs can help lead the way.”

Al-Ghandour recommends Data Analytics for Business as the perfect entry point, a comprehensive certificate program that provides a strong foundation for career advancement. The program is designed for working professionals from a range of backgrounds who are seeking a solid understanding of how to interpret organizational data and processes to drive business strategies.

Students learn to excel in the essential elements of data analysis: collecting, selecting, and preparing data to create decision plans that streamline business processes and guide the most effective data-based decisions.

The certificate can propel candidates to move ahead in their own organization or strike out for other opportunities. Quite often, it’s a launching pad for continuing education to broaden their knowledge base for further advancement.

“We design these certificate programs for any student without any business or analytics background, to start them on the path and lead them to the end point of their journey,” Al-Ghandour said. “It’s all about empowering the students to learn and support their real-world business insights from data, whatever their career specialty might be.”

Consider that data science-related positions in the U.S. are projected to grow by 18.7% through 2029, with a median annual salary range of up to $183,000 for highly qualified candidates, according to Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.

Majed Al-Ghandour

“The key is taking that big first step – learning the basics and then figuring out where your data science skills can take you from there.” Majed Al-Ghandour, Instructor and Advisory Board Member

A roadmap to success

Once candidates have gained a solid background in data analytics, many enhance their skillsets with the Data Science certificate program. With guidance from Al-Ghandour and other expert advisors, the curriculum is continually evolving and updating to keep up with the latest advancements in the field.

Data scientists are increasingly in demand for collecting and analyzing data to discover new insights that can drive innovation, employing a “hacker” mentality of sorts to uncover new ways to extrapolate and capitalize on existing data. The program addresses the latest tools and theories for designing, modeling and managing large databases.

After taking a deep dive into data science, the next step along the path would be Predictive Analytics, the science of using data and statistical algorithms to predict future outcomes, an emerging skillset that’s increasingly coveted in numerous fields. If a candidate is only able to complete one of the four programs, Al-Ghandour recommends taking this one.

“All four programs are awesome,” he said. “But if I had to pick and choose, if a student has time for only one, I suggest taking the Predictive Analytics certificate program. It’s very much in demand, a way to build models and to predict future trends and use them to inform business strategy.”

For those who want to take the next step, the Machine and Deep Learning program puts students on the leading edge of artificial intelligence, a vastly more efficient way to mine and analyze data. These technologies are able to recognize hidden patterns and continually learn from gathered data, providing highly advanced competitive advantages.

Machine learning methods are applied in a growing and diverse range of fields – traditional ones like criminal justice and advertising, as well as emerging industries like autonomous vehicles and smart homes.

Designing the future

The DCE Data Science career track provides a steady progression that broadens and deepens a student’s background along the way. Each program is periodically revised to maintain the most up-to-date curriculum, and Al-Ghandour was involved in not only designing and developing the programs but he also teaches several courses.

“I was honored to be one of the subject matter experts to develop the layout and road map for the four DCE certificate programs,” he said. “I had the wonderful experience of seeing it from beginning to end, putting my experience and skills to use to help students understand the applications and values of data science within different businesses and industries. I want to prepare our students to be ready to go to work with minimal learning curve on the job.”

The quartet of certificate programs can help guide a journey to success in virtually any industry, regardless of one’s specialized career interests, he added. “At the end, students from these programs will enjoy exciting new careers and expanded roles dealing with top CEO management to optimize business strategies.”

Data Science Career Track. Data Analytics for Business. Data Science. Predictive Analytics. Machine and Deep Learning.

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