UC Riverside welcomed students into its newest major this fall, data science. Created in partnership through the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Department of Statistics, the data science major trains students on collecting, transforming, and analyzing data to solve problems across disciplines including business, science, and medicine.
"According to economists, 'data is the new oil,'" Vassilis Tsotras, professor of computer science and engineering, who co-developed the new major and serves as its director said in a recent interview. "Extracting data insights provides a competitive advantage. Joining the program prepares students with the expertise to become leaders in this evolving field."
The data science major was designed over a two-year period following suggestions from a recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and a report endorsed by the board of directors of the American Statistical Association. Students pursuing this major can earn their degrees either through the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering, or through the College of Natural and Agricultural Science. Data science students will learn to “master the whole data lifecycle, from gathering and cleaning, to storing and processing, to data visualization, mining and analysis as well as ethics,” Tsotras said. Furthermore, the new major "provides an appealing pathway to graduate school in statistics, computer science, data science, and related fields such as business and economics" according to Daniel R. Jeske, professor of statistics and vice provost of academic personnel, who co-developed the program.
Data has become ubiquitous in everyday life, impacting every profession, from entry-level office workers to CEOs, from team coaches to general managers, from accountants to CFOs. As a result, data scientists are highly sought-after. Currently, Glassdoor shows that entry-level salaries start in the low $90,000s.