Expanding Pathways to a Data Science Career by Developing a Certification in Data Science and Analytics
Businesses and organizations across all industry sectors are increasingly looking for ways to use data in their decision making. This shift to data-driven decision making is creating a growing workforce demand for Data Science and Analytics professionals. In a 2018 report, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that jobs in data science and analytics will grow 34% by 2026. However, thus far, very few two-year institutions offer data analytics programs that could prepare students for entry-level positions in data science and analytics. To create new pathways into data science and analytics careers, this project intends to establish a college credit-based certificate in data analytics. In concert with this goal, it also aims to increase the College's capacity for high quality data science instruction and to broaden participation in data science, with a focus on inclusion of women. In addition to its potential to increase the capacity and quality of the data science workforce in New Jersey, the project may also provide a model for other institutions that are interested in building new data science programs.
The major goal of the project is to develop a 15-credit data science certificate that integrates technology such as R, Tableau, Python, and SQL into the curriculum. Less than 20 community college-based data science programs appear to exist in the US, and this certificate is believed to be the first at any community college in the greater New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. The curriculum will be informed by an industry advisory committee and implement national recommendations for data science education, including teaching statistics thinking, integrating real data with a context and a purpose, and using project-based learning. The project intends to recruit women into the field through collaboration with the College's Women in STEM Club, R-Ladies Global, and faculty development. The resulting certification will prepare students to enter the workforce as data analytics professionals, or to transfer to four-year programs where they can acquire the advanced credentials needed for mid- to high-level data scientist positions.