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How Can a Master’s in Data Science Prepare You for the Future of Artificial Intelligence?

December 11, 2023

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Future of Jobs Report, 75% of companies plan to adopt artificial intelligence technologies within the next five years. This increased interest in AI is driving rising demand for highly skilled data scientists and AI developers. 

In line with this trend, McKinsey’s State of AI report notes that 33% of organizations hired AI data scientists in 2022. However, qualified professionals in this field remain scarce, with 78% of survey respondents reporting that hiring AI data scientists was either “very” or “somewhat difficult.”

To help meet the growing need for AI professionals, universities are incorporating artificial intelligence coursework into their data science master’s curricula. The Online Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) from Stevens Institute of Technology, for example, includes classes in applied AIi and machine learning, deep learning, cognitive computing and natural language processing, all of which are integral to a wide variety of AI applications. This article discusses the intersection of data science and artificial intelligence and explores how an M.S. in Data Science can help professionals become AI technology experts.  

The AI Revolution: What Lies Ahead

With AI adoption more than doubling since 2017, artificial intelligence is beginning to impact nearly every industry. While the most common uses of AI include speech recognition tools such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, organizations also use AI technology to improve processes and lower operational costs. 

The healthcare sector, for instance, is testing AI’s effectiveness in diagnosing diseases and automating tedious tasks. Studies show that machine learning can help detect diseases on X-rays, and chatbots can provide general health information to patients. As artificial intelligence continues to advance, AI technology could transform the patient journey by helping doctors review literature faster, optimize treatment plans and monitor symptoms through wearable technology. 

In the supply chain industry, AI is becoming increasingly essential. According to an IBM survey, 88% of the highest-performing supply chain organizations have concluded that AI is inevitable in their industry. Supply chain organizations are actively using AI to perform tasks, including quality checks, inventory management and warehouse logistics

AI job openings should continue to grow as artificial intelligence becomes more ingrained in workplace operations. Lightcast reports that AI job opportunities increased by 22% between 2019 and 2022 alone, further underscoring the need for skilled workers with AI expertise to fill jobs across industries. 

The Intersection of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

Companies are collecting more data than ever before and need skilled data scientists who can organize and analyze it. Because most data in the internet age is unstructured, it cannot be easily arranged in a spreadsheet or database. Data collected, such as emails, audio files, videos, and blog entries typically consists of large files stored in multiple locations. As a result, extracting insights is challenging and time-consuming work. 

AI can analyze large, unorganized datasets much faster than humans, expediting raw data analysis processes. Data scientists use advanced AI-driven analytics methods, such as machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) and neural networks to detect patterns and drive more effective decision-making. 

A recent Salesforce survey showed that 57% of senior IT leaders believe generative AI will help their organization take better advantage of data. To effectively perform specific tasks and use AI technology for data analysis, professionals need a strong mathematics and data science background, including proficiency in Python, R, SQL, probability, statistics, and linear algebra. 

How a Data Science Master’s Degree Can Help

Data science employment is expected to grow 35% by 2032. An M.S. in Data Science is a degree program that can provide professionals an edge in a rapidly growing field. In a data science master’s program, students gain technical, analytical and practical skills they can apply to solving problems in data science jobs in any industry. Most master’s in data science programs teach mathematics, programming and data visualization concepts to build a cross-disciplinary skill set. 

Earning a master’s degree in data science also provides a foundation for career success in an increasingly AI-driven world. Machine learning, neural networks and natural language processing (NLP) expertise is in high demand. Students learn about all of these topics in a data science master’s program, such as the one offered by Stevens. 

With highly desirable skills and a master’s degree, you will be better equipped to land the job and six-figure salary you want. When searching for the right program, consider how factors such as the program curriculum, faculty and alumni network can help you reach your professional goals. 

Find an Industry-Aligned Curriculum

When researching MSDS programs, consider which options are aligned with current industry trends and offer hands-on training in data science methodologies. The Stevens Online M.S. in Data Science curriculum, for example, covers topics related to artificial intelligence, including applied machine learning, deep learning and NLP. 

“Applied Machine Learning” helps students understand how to design machine learning algorithms and systems that automatically learn, improve and accumulate knowledge with experience — a required skill when working with AI. By designing their own algorithms, students learn how to apply them to solve real-world problems. 

In “Deep Learning,” students gain knowledge of the most fundamental and powerful machine learning methods with real-world applications such as object recognition, pattern recognition, machine translation, self-driving cars, recommender systems, and more. Through their coursework, students practice implementation and programming using Python, TensorFlow and Keras. 

Look for a Program Taught by Faculty Experts

Learning from industry experts helps prepare you for a successful career. Active practitioners share real-world case studies in the classroom and discuss the latest industry trends. At Stevens Institute of Technology, the MSDS faculty includes National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER winners, as well as researchers who consult with companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Google, and other top industry firms.

Consider the Value of the Network 

Fellow students and alumni offer additional key connections that can help you prepare for the future of artificial intelligence. As you navigate your job search and industry challenges after graduation, you can lean on your network for support. 

In the Stevens online data science master’s program, students form lasting bonds with their classmates through group projects and live class discussions. Former Stevens online MSDS students work for prestigious organizations such as Amazon, Disney Streaming Services and Bank of America. 

Prepare for the Future at Stevens Institute of Technology

AI will continue to revolutionize the data science field for years to come, helping data scientists extract better insights, faster. To stay competitive in this rapidly evolving landscape, companies need highly adaptable employees who can use AI to analyze and interpret large datasets. 

Future-focused data science master’s programs, like the Stevens Online MSDS, can get you one step closer to becoming the candidate employers want to hire. With a focus on innovation, the Stevens Online MSDS curriculum is influenced by the corporate headquarters and bustling tech startups in nearby New York City. As a remote learner, you can benefit from these insights, no matter where you are located. 

Stevens MSDS students earn their degree part time in two years or less, 100% online. Housed within the math department, the program emphasizes foundational data science mathematics to ensure students are equipped with the skills needed to support informed decision-making and quickly respond to accelerated technological changes. 

As you consider the data science master’s program that is right for you, attend admission events and meet people affiliated with each program. Stevens offers virtual events, where you can speak to admissions staff and current students to learn more about the program and gain insight into the online student experience. 

Ready to see what a data science master’s from Stevens can do for you? Contact an enrollment advisor for one-on-one application support, or if you are ready, start your application today.