The top 10 schools to study data science

With the shortage of data scientists in the enterprise, companies need these skills now more than ever, according to a Correlation One report.

Is a data science degree worth it? Data scientists are in demand, but a master's degree in the field may not open as many doors as you think.

Innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology have created large amounts of data in the enterprise, potentially generating billions of dollars in value, according to Correlation One's Future of Data Talent Report released on Wednesday. However, companies struggle to find data talent due to a lack of supply, the report found.

Some 40% of companies said they were unable to hire or retain data talent because of the talent shortage. The demand for these skills will only increase, the report found, with 2.7 million new data-related job postings expected to hit the US job market by 2020.

SEE: How to build a successful data scientist career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

For those interested in breaking into the field, the report shows that prestigious and technical universities are not the only institutions producing strong data science talent.

Best undergraduate data science programs

The following 10 schools are the best options for aspiring data scientists seeking an undergraduate degree in the field, based on their students' average score on the C1 Assessments Data Science Exam, according to the report:

  1. Harvard
  2. University of Chicago
  3. Princeton University
  4. Cambridge University
  5. Yale University
  6. Columbia University
  7. MIT
  8. Stanford University
  9. Harvey Mudd College
  10. Northwestern University

Best master's-level data science programs

The report also identified the following 10 master's programs in data science as those producing the top-scoring students:

  1. Baruch College
  2. University of Chicago
  3. Cornell University
  4. Princeton University
  5. Cambridge University
  6. MIT
  7. UC-Berkeley
  8. University of Oxford
  9. Harvard University
  10. Carnegie Mellon University

While universities typically prioritize GPA scores, the report found that GPA is not the best measure for evaluating data talent. The majority (67%) of recruiters filter candidates by GPA, dismissing individuals below a certain score. However, GPA is not a reliable barometer of intelligence, as it cannot be consistently compared across universities: A 3.9 GPA is considered below average at MIT, while a 3.6 is above average at Oxford, the report found.

To hire the right talent, organizations must look beyond the candidate's university and GPA and consider their skills more holistically, according to the report.

For more resources to improve your data science skills, check out this article from TechRepublic.

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Image: iStockphoto/AlexRaths

By Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.