Data scientists learn the value of data storytelling to find complex solutions across industry
Data science is a multidisciplinary field that integrates math, computer science and statistics with business insights and trends. Because of its broad scope and application across almost all industries, data scientists are a new kind of data analytical expert, in line for some of the most sought-after roles in the job market.
“Data science is a very attractive job option because the salary is excellent, the demand is high, and job satisfaction is good,” said Professor of Computer Science and Chair of the Data Science program Bun Yue at University of Houston-Clear Lake. “Data science can be applied to nearly all domains, especially business analytics, which uses data to make better business models, decisions and transactions. This is probably the largest domain area of data science now.”
Yue explained that UH-Clear Lake’s Master of Science in Data Science program, available since fall 2021, offered specializations in bioinformatics, business analytics and big data cloud solutions.
“The specialization in business analytics uses the data to help businesses make better business models, decisions and transactions,” he said. “That’s probably the largest domain area of data science. The specialization in bioinformatics uses data to model and analyze biological and healthcare applications.”
Suhail Arfaath, whose December 2022 graduation made him the very first student to graduate from the Master of Science in Data Science program at UHCL, said he had specialized in cloud computing and big data.
“I came to UHCL from India having searched for universities with this coursework and found very few that had this degree,” he said. “The additional specialization adds value to the degree. All of this put together is a very good preparation. For employers, it means I am a better candidate.”
Arfaath came to the U.S. in August 2021 after having worked as a software engineer for four years. “I gained experience in India, and I thought a master’s in data science would be a natural pathway for me to progress in the fields of data science and artificial intelligence,” he said. “While I was at UHCL, I found many supportive professors, including (Associate Professor of Computer Science) Gary Boetticher, for whom I was a teaching assistant, and Dr. Yue, who provided mentorship and guidance, as well as taught me about the job market, approaching people, and my resume.”
Currently in search of a job, Arfaath said he has been interviewing and his top choices were Facebook, Amazon, Google or Microsoft.
Through ‘storytelling’ skills, data scientists can help build significant context and explain their insights, using a narrative to make the dataset and analytics more accessible.
“There are so many applications for my degree,” he said. “In areas like the finance, e-commerce, insurance, technology, manufacturing, robotics or medicine, data science is booming. Transport logistics, information technology, food distribution are all areas which need data scientists. Before, we didn’t have the systems to process huge data, but now we have huge computational systems to support large scale data processing and modelling.”
Even the mundane, daily details of life, like deciding how to dress for the day, are impacted by data science. “We can see the weather report every day and for 10 days from now. All these predictions are nothing but data science implementation, where information is gathered and analyzed to predict the future,” he said.
Yue said that given any domain, it’s not difficult to find applications for data sciences. “Our students are expected to be able to get into a domain and see how data science might help,” he said. “Domain expertise is one of the focuses of our program. We now have students with undergraduate degrees in business, engineering, education, criminology, accounting, and more.”
For more information about UHCL’s Master of Science in Data Science program, go online.