From news broadcasts to news websites to social media, multiple information sources highlight the world’s problems. Climate change and access to education are issues impacting communities around the globe, while high-profile court cases or local elections may impact cities or states. While opinions vary, some of the most significant modern problems today include poverty, access to education, and political polarization.
While many people are familiar with the ways businesses use data science to address operational issues, you can also use data science to address modern problems. Let’s examine how data science can generate solutions and how to prepare for a career in data science.
How can data science generate solutions for modern problems?
Data science involves working with multiple data types, including noisy, historical, structured, and unstructured data. Data scientists use data mining to collect datasets from various sources. Data scientists may use data integration and move or copy data or use data virtualization to access data without moving it from its source. These scientists apply various processes and use algorithms to clean and process the data. They use data analytics and machine learning to identify patterns and support conclusions. They generate data science solutions using predictive analytics to forecast future events and use prescriptive analytics to produce immediate insights based on current events.
Once data scientists process data, it becomes information. Data scientists can choose from visualization options such as charts, graphs, tables, or maps to present the information. Information may include evaluations of historical events, predictions about short-term and long-term outcomes from various events or decisions, and comparisons of the effectiveness of potential options to address a problem.
When it comes to modern problems, data scientists pose relevant questions, gather appropriate data, and use analytical methods to answer their questions. Climate change is a significant issue impacting every nation on Earth. Consequently, many consumers make environmentally conscious decisions when choosing products or service providers.
Suppose an energy company wants to determine how many wind turbines they need to supply renewable energy to 100 million clients. Perhaps they want to know if it’s more cost-effective and efficient to invest in solar power instead. Data scientists can evaluate energy outputs, costs, and production variables, such as weather conditions. They can use this data to determine how long each option would take to reach the objective and which option is more cost-effective. They may also identify how much fossil fuel is required to expand operations. Energy companies striving to eliminate fossil fuel use may opt to spend more to reduce or eliminate fossil fuels in their operations.
How do data science professionals prepare for their careers?
Data scientists must have an academic background in information technology (IT). Aspiring data scientists, data analysts, and market research analysts need strong computer skills and should have experience using a data science platform to produce predictions. Familiarity with popular software tools produced by leading software manufacturers enables aspiring data science professionals to launch their careers working for businesses, governments, or nonprofit organizations tackling social issues.
Data analysts and scientists typically need a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED) before pursuing postsecondary studies. To launch your career, you may opt to complete an online information technology associate’s degree. An associate degree is a two-year program featuring coursework in software applications, social media, database applications, and data visualization.
Aspiring data science experts benefit from acquiring essential skills, including analytical skills and critical thinking skills. You can develop these skills by pursuing internship opportunities, enabling you to acquire work experience to prepare for your career. You could also gain practical experience by volunteering with nonprofit organizations working to eliminate world hunger or tackle climate change.
Data science refers to gathering and processing data to produce actionable information to solve or prevent problems. Data science professionals can use data science methods to address various issues, such as increasing access to education or producing enough renewable energy to replace fossil fuels.