There are many careers that can follow the UMass Amherst Program in Data Analytics and Computational Social Science, and the current job market for Data Analysts and Computational Social Scientists is ripe with opportunity. Companies and employers are looking for specific skills in their new Data Scientists, and the UMass Amherst Program in Data Analytics and Computational Social Science develops those specific skills. A graduate of this program will have developed skills relating to data driven decision-making, manipulating and analyzing large datasets, ethical data management, evaluative data interpretation, and clear communication of data results. The following graphic summarizes the four different skill categories that a degree from this unique program can provide.
Employers can use these skills to help create well-informed policy and business decisions, inform efficient marketing practices, evaluate many different business-specific types of data, etc.. Job applicants with these skills, data analysis knowledge, and computational social science training are already in high demand, and this demand is likely to continue to grow over the next 10 years. Possible career trajectories include analyst and consulting positions in public policy, market research, public relations, corporate communications, population studies, and survey research. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates growth by major occupational group for the next decade (BLS, Employment Projections, 2016-2026). According to the BLS, the national projected job growth in new employment stemming from data analytics and computational sciences in ‘big data’ over the next decade is estimated to be 350,000. By 2024, almost 175,00 Massachusetts jobs will require data analytics skills in occupations related to the social sciences, in addition to an increasing number of managerial jobs that require a strong understanding of research and data analysis. BLS projects there will be over 4,300 new and replacement job postings each year. Opportunities are ripe for new data scientists, and graduates of the UMass Amherst program will be sought after in this expanding job market.
BLS estimates are on the low-end, however, likely due to rapid changes in the demand for data analytics skills as well as a rapid change in the mix of skills required for specific occupations. A 2017 study by Burning Glass, commissioned by IBM and the Business-Higher Education Forum, estimated demand for data science skills based on a thorough analysis of skill requirements listed in posted job ads over a 12-month period. The study identified almost 30,000 job postings requiring data science skills in the Boston MSA alone, with Boston appearing in the top 10 MSAs overall in demand (total and per capita) for data analytics professionals. The Burning Glass report highlights specific shortages of job candidates with both the domain expertise and data science skills required for hybrid decision-making and managerial positions, noting that traditional data science training programs often fail to provide students with sufficient domain knowledge. The UMass Amherst program offers a stimulating, engaging, and state-of-the-art education that is sure to prepare students for the welcoming job market.
In addition to all the opportunities above, international graduate students have another option after the UMass Amherst Data Analysis program: The U.S. Federal Government’s STEM OPT program. This program allows international graduate students to graduate and then continue their OPT in the United States for an extended period of two more years. To find out more, see the STEM OPT website.
Another great resource for international graduate students is the UMass Amherst IPO page. It has a wealth of useful information for students studying outside their native country.