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What is Data Science?

Big Data.
Data Analytics.
Data Science.

You’ve probably heard the terms before and are wondering: What is data science? What is a data scientist? What does a data scientist do, and how can I become one?

In today’s data-driven world, businesses and other organizations are collecting information that could help improve their products and services, but there’s just one problem: too much data! How can a business executive cut through all the numbers, find important trends, and make the right decision? They need a data scientist to help make sense of the information.

Example #1: Airlines

Consider your local airport, where airlines and their passengers are dealing with delays, layovers, and rising travel costs. With so many problems, how can an airline maintain a profit?

Well, they start by hiring data scientists to use statistical modeling and programming.  Data scientists can analyze hundreds of complex data points to uncover problems and craft real solutions. For example, they might prove that a smaller class of airplane would still meet passenger demand while reducing costs and fares, or that a direct flight to Denver is inefficient and costly to the airline.

Example #2: Delivery Logistics

Think about companies like DHL, FedEx, or UPS that ship millions of packages a day and struggle with package tracking, on-time delivery, and transportation costs. With so many variables to consider, including GPS-generated delivery data, how can they operate most efficiently?

Companies like these have hired data scientists to analyze the data and discover the best routes for shipping, the best times to deliver, and the best modes of transportation to use.

Example #3: Digital Advertising

Every company wants to target their advertising to people who are most likely to want and buy their products, without wasting money on ads for folks who couldn’t care less. How can they spend their ad dollars effectively, getting the best ROI for their effort?

Data scientists are helping to develop the algorithms to place the right ads in front of the right people at the right time. By analyzing the data and understanding people’s buying patterns, they can determine who should be shown the ad, when they should see it, and where. The result is higher click-through rates and more sales for the company.

Are Companies Really Hiring?

Yep, they sure are. In fact, jobs are growing at a rate of 34%, much faster than the average in other industries. It's no wonder Glassdoor ranks data scientist Number 1 on their Best 25 Jobs List.

How Do I Get Started?

Hopefully, we’ve answered your question: “What is a Data Scientist?” and you’re ready to dive in. At Loyola, we offer a Master of Science in Data Science that gives you the skills you need to become a data scientist.

To learn more, explore our:

Undergraduate Learning Aims and Course Outline.

Graduate Learning Aims and Course Planning.