Online MBA Programs in Data Science
Government agencies and private businesses all over the US rely on the skills of data scientists to gather and interpret digital data and provide meaningful recommendations based on their interpretations. The study of data science includes statistics, mathematics, and computer sciences. Together, these topics prepare students for real-world experience in analytical careers. With the inclusion of business management courses, students who enroll in programs to obtain an online MBA1 in data science often graduate feeling prepared to advance to top management positions throughout their careers.
Graduates of online MBA programs in data science can often find employment in a variety of fields, including government, health care, research, and information technology.
What Is an Online MBA in Data Science?
Studying data science in an online MBA program prepares students to take on high-level careers that are focused on numbers, statistics, and technology. The skills taught in these programs prepare students to face common workplace challenges head-on and provide meaningful and effective solutions. Students graduate with advanced knowledge of data analytics, statistics, mathematical theory, and computer programming. Additionally, the inclusion of business management courses in online MBA programs helps students to focus on a career path that ends in top-level management positions and, for some, even business ownership.
While an MBA in data science online may seem to offer courses that are comparable to what’s offered in master’s degree programs in data science, it’s important to keep in mind that master’s degree programs don’t usually include a business management component. Students researching a data science career should consider which type of degree best meets their career goals.
An additional consideration is whether or not online study is a good fit for the student’s lifestyle. Students who lack focus and time management skills, or those who study better with individualized attention from their instructors, may find that classroom study is a better fit for them.
Online MBA in Data Science Curriculum
An accredited online MBA in data science can help workers land high-level careers in their chosen field. The program’s curriculum includes courses on algorithm design, database management, statistics, forecasting, machine learning, and artificial intelligence as well as a broad range of business management topics such as marketing, business law, ethics, and human resources.
While course titles and topics vary depending on the school attended, most online MBA programs in data science include some variation of the following classes:
- Algorithm Design and Data Abstraction: Students learn the techniques required to design and analyze algorithms, as well as programming mechanisms used for implementation.
- Logic and Computation: Students are introduced to propositional and predicate logic and the implications of soundness and completeness and undecidability of computation problems such as the halting problem.
- Introduction to Machine Learning: This course introduces students to modeling techniques for machines that help them to learn concepts from data such as underfitting, overfitting, and cross-validation. Students are also introduced to Gaussian processes, kernel methods, Bayesian learning, and other statistical and analytical machine-learning methods.
- Forecasting:Students in this course learn to interpret statistical data to forecast future trends using a variety of analytical theories.
The prerequisites for most online MBA programs include a bachelor’s degree in a related field and one year of relevant job experience. However, some online MBA programs let students apply regardless of previous experience. Additionally, many MBA programs prefer that students have high GMAT scores. That being said, some institutions have chosen to waive the GMAT requirement2 to draw more prospective students to their online MBA programs.
What Unique Career Paths Can I Pursue with an MBA Specializing in Data Science?
Graduates of online MBA programs in data science have a variety of options when it comes to their careers. They’re qualified to take on jobs in government, health care, pharmaceuticals, research, science, and manufacturing. By obtaining an MBA degree, their options expand to include high-level managerial roles in their field of choice.
The following list includes a few of the careers that graduates who have an online MBA with a concentration in data science may consider.
Chief Information Officer/Chief Technology Officer
Chief information officers and chief technology officers are top-level executives3 who work on a team to run major business operations. They’re responsible for entire departments and must work to devise policies and strategies that keep their companies operating smoothly. Their duties usually include:
- Liaising with other C-level executives to discuss company directives and goals
- Supervising upper-level managers and providing direction when necessary
- Determining the technologies and systems for the company’s day-to-day operations
- Implementing new systems, procedures, and technologies
- Solving problems that arise within their departments
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,4 top-level executives, including chief information and technology officers, earned an average of $189,600 per year as of May 2018. Job availability for this role is expected to increase 8% by the year 2026, which is about average.
Management analysts5, sometimes known as business intelligence analysts, work with businesses to improve systems and efficiency. They use statistical data, including sales, processes, workflow, and inventory management, to identify problem areas and offer solutions. Often, companies hire management analysts when experiencing a decline in sales, efficiency, or morale. Many management analysts are self-employed and may travel nationwide to meet with new clients. Regular duties often include:
- Meeting top-level managers and business owners to discuss goals and problems
- Obtaining and analyzing statistical data to identify problem areas
- Preparing reports and other paperwork
- Offering solutions and recommendations to improve operations
Management analysts earned an average of $83,610 annually as of May 2018. Job availability for this role is expected to increase 14% by the year 2026, which is above average.
Statisticians6 are often employed by government agencies and private science and pharmaceutical research companies. They’re responsible for obtaining and analyzing statistical data and forecasting change to make accurate predictions and provide reasonable solutions for their employers. Typical duties include:
- Creating algorithms and computer programs that accurately obtain or analyze statistical data
- Inputting information into computers
- Presenting findings to their team, which may include scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, and working together to solve problems
- Preparing reports and other paperwork
Statisticians earned an average of $87,780 per year as of May 2018. Job availability for statisticians is expected to grow 33% by the year 2026, which is above average.
Database administrators7 are responsible for storing and organizing data using specialized software. They often work with numbers such as financial information, research data, or customer shipping records. Database administrators are also responsible for ensuring that information is stored securely. Duties usually include:
- Using programming languages to create software or algorithms that update and maintain sensitive data
- Ensuring the security of their data by continually updating software to protect against malware, viruses, and other threats
Database administrators earned a median wage of $90,070 as of May 2018. Job availability is expected to increase 11% by the year 2026, which is faster than average.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts8 monitor the security systems that safeguard their employer’s digital information. They’re responsible for ensuring that security is up to date and reliable and protecting sensitive information that may include research data, sales data, and customer information. Duties typically include:
- Implementing and monitoring new security software to ensure reliability
- Responding quickly to security breaches
- Monitoring technologies for unexpected events and threats
The average information security analyst earned an average of $98,350 per year as of May 2018. Job opportunities for this role are expected to grow 28% by the year 2026, which is much faster than average.
Software engineers9, or software developers, create computer programs that allow businesses and individuals to easily complete tasks with the help of technology. Some software engineers are also responsible for developing entire operating systems. Typical duties include:
- Analyzing market research to determine the necessary and desired functionality of new software programs
- Using programming language to create reliable, useful, or fun computer programs or operating systems
As of May 2018, the average software engineer earned an average of $103,620 per year. Job availability for this career is expected to increase 24% by the year 2026, which is much faster than average.
Should I Get an Online MBA in Data Science?
Before applying to a program to obtain an online MBA in data science, it’s best to consider some of the following questions and comparisons to ensure this program is the right fit for you and your career goals.
Online MBA in Data Science vs. Online MBA in Data Analytics
Data science is a thorough study that encompasses data analytics, data mining, statistics, and machine learning. Data analytics, on the other hand, provides students with a more focused specialization in analyzing raw data and making accurate predictions using the information contained within it. In both data science and data analytics programs, students are expected to learn computer programming and create and use algorithms to analyze statistical data.
Are you comfortable learning and using computer programming languages?
Students who study data analytics are required to work with computers and create programs and algorithms that help them to research and analyze data. Programming languages include C++, Java, and COBOL.
Have you completed a bachelor’s degree in a related field?
When going into an online MBA program in data science, it’s best to have some educational background on the topic. These programs include master’s-level data science programs, which might be challenging for those who don’t have introductory to mid-level experience in this field of study. While most online MBA programs require students to have a bachelor’s degree before they apply, some don’t have any prerequisites, and for those, it’s usually a good idea to ensure you’ve got the necessary background to succeed in the program anyway.
Are you looking for a flexible way to earn an MBA on your own time?
Obtaining an MBA online is a great option for those who are employed full-time or stay-at-home parents with busy schedules. Online study lets students complete their coursework without the burden of strict deadlines and scheduled classroom lectures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is online learning as good as classroom study?
When it comes to course materials, often online MBA programs offer the same curriculum, with one of the biggest differences being that online learning doesn’t provide the opportunity for group study or individualized attention from the instructor. Online learning has the flexibility for tailoring study schedules around work and family obligations, which makes it a great option for those who have full-time jobs or young children.
How can having an MBA in data science help me to advance my career?
While a bachelor’s or master’s degree in data science provides you with an adequate background in your field, online MBA programs give you a well-rounded education that’s focused on advanced data science and business management skills, which many employers prefer when considering candidates for top-level management positions.
Are all online MBAs offered by accredited institutions?
Unfortunately, not all online MBA programs are accredited. To ensure that you’re applying to an institution that offers an accredited MBA in data science online, it’s best to search for the program in the United States Department of Education’s database of accredited programs10.
How long does it take to complete an online MBA program in data science?
While most online MBA programs offer a period of two years for students to complete their coursework, the amount of time may vary depending on the institution. In some cases, students can apply for accelerated programs, which let them obtain their MBA in six to eight weeks, and part-time programs may allow students to complete their coursework over a period of up to five years.
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