Coe creates a new data science major

CoeCreatesDataScienceMajor2.5 quintillion bytes, or roughly 75 DVDs. That’s how much data a single person produces in a day, according to IBM. As we learn to harness and understand all that data, it’s leading to world-changing innovations.

Coe College is introducing a new interdisciplinary data science major, beginning fall 2021. As a college dedicated to equipping its students with the tools and connections to be positive change leaders, adding data science is a natural forward-thinking step. Less than one-third of college campuses in Iowa offer a data science degree.

“We are proud to offer a new major and opportunity. Gathering and interpreting data is a crucial practice in high demand for medicine, education, aviation, agriculture, media, public health and many more fields,” said assistant professor Michael Stobb. “For example, think about the role data played in the COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution. Students with a data science background are going to be ready to make significant contributions in their field that improve the lives of others.”

For the new major, Coe has taken care to create fresh courses to meet the industry’s evolving needs. In the classroom, Coe data science students will learn the fundamental computational and mathematical skills required in data science, but also be able to choose from a variety of other courses that align with their specific interests. By graduation, they will be able to build data sets, construct hypotheses, analyze supporting data, form conclusions based on analysis and then present their findings. The applications are wide-ranging and, for example, could include improving aerodynamics on the next generation of jets, managing deforestation in the Amazon or using analytics to manage the roster of a baseball team.

“One of the advantages of being a data science student at Coe is the flexibility to work across disciplines, always in small classes. It helps you develop a personal understanding of all the applications data can have in any industry and builds valuable critical thinking skills,” Stobb said.

Outside the classroom, Coe students will have an incredible advantage. For four years in a row The Princeton Review has named Coe one of the nation’s Top 25 Best Schools for Internships, including ranking 10th for 2021. The college maintains relationships with local businesses in areas such as data, insurance and aerospace that will create meaningful internship opportunities. Students will be able to apply what they learn in the classroom to real world experiences before they graduate.

The market for graduates is strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for data scientists exceeds $100,000 nationally, and the demand for data science skills will drive a 15 percent rise in employment in the field through 2029.

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