What is Data Science?
Data science is using skills from the fields of computer science, applied math and statistics to extract insights from data, helping companies and organizations to make well-informed decisions. In addition to technical skills, data scientists must be able to work as part of a team and communicate effectively.
The data science curriculum was developed following guidelines for a data science degree with mathematical focus recently set out in the National Academy of Sciences Report Data Science for Undergraduates: Opportunities and Options, as well as an analysis of the skills required by jobs in industry. A key element of the program is extensive hands-on experience.
Final touches in program design were aided by a technique from data science known as “web scraping.” Because of Oregon Tech’s commitment to meeting the needs of industry, an essential piece of the program design involved acquiring a list of skills companies are currently looking for when hiring a data scientist. While such a list could be obtained many ways, the University’s list was created by programming a computer to quickly collect (“scrape”) and analyze hundreds of job advertisements for data scientist positions posted online. Web scraping is a good illustration of the type of data science techniques that allow statistical analyses to be done quickly for large amounts of complex data.
This program combines coursework from five departments: Applied Mathematics (the program host), Computer Systems Engineering Technology, Communication, Business Management, and Geomatics.