Data Scientist: The Number One Job In America

Glassdoor recently reported that the number one job in America was a data scientist. Read on to learn more about this in-demand job and the importance of data science. Explore our courses in data science and advance your career today! 

What is Data Science?

You may be surprised to learn just how much data science informs your everyday life. Amazon recommendations, marketing campaigns, Uber, Siri, price comparison sites, gaming and image recognition, are all powered, to varying degrees, by data science.

And, you may have heard the term over the last year and not fully understand what it means. Data science is defined as an interdisciplinary field in which processes and systems are used to extract knowledge or insights from data. Those who are data scientists collect, manage, analyze and interpret vast amounts of data with a diverse array of applications.

In 2016, data science is predicted to reach a momentous status as many industries are realizing just how important this field is to informing their day-to-day decisions. And, with marketing trends in 2016 predicting a surge in mobile advertising, personalization, and an overall need for ‘data-savviness’, it’s clear data science won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon.

The Future of Data Science

Data Science is a relatively new field, with the term “data science” being coined in 2001, but it’s future is very bright.

In today’s world, data science has immensely grown across a multitude of industries including finance, energy, travel, and government, but even more importantly, universities have begun to recognize the importance of offering courses and programs in this field. Campus wide initiatives at Columbia and MIT and new master’s programs at UC Berkeley and NYU have increased the opportunity for students to study this field and develop a career in data science.

At edX, we recognize the need for this skill set and offer a Data Science and Analytics in Context XSeries from Columbia University’s Data Science Institute. Taught by a team of distinguished professors, this XSeries helps learners gain a better understanding of basic concepts in data science and learn the fundamentals of statistics, machine learning and algorithms.

And if job trends are telling us anything, it’s that the need for data scientists are growing at a fast rate as seen in the chart below from


Although growth in this field presents opportunity for more jobs, we face the challenge of filling these positions with qualified and skilled professionals. According to a recent study conducted by Wanted Analytics, only 4% of the 332,000 computer programmers in the United States currently have the skill set required for data science. And global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company forecasts by 2018 there will be 4 million big data-related jobs in the US, and a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 data scientists.

This spike in jobs is because industries now see the importance of analyzing data for industry growth. Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist, said “…the ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades…”

At edX, our goal is to provide courses in subjects that will help you be successful. As the need for data scientists continues to grow and these skills becomes more vital across industries, edX’s Data Analysis and Statistics courses will help you harness these skills to advance your career in data science.

Get on a path to a new career in data science with the Microsoft Professional Program Certificate in Data Science, a 9-course, advanced online program designed to teach you the core tools, principles and applications of this exciting and in-demand field. Start with the short introductory course, Data Science Orientation, to learn more.

Also check out Data Science and Machine Learning Essentials, specifically designed to enhance your data science and analytical skills, or enroll in another data analysis and statistics course today and gain the skills to become a successful data scientist!