Cornell Helping to Unlock Doors to Careers in Data Science

Unlocking the power of Big Data is becoming a career hot commodity. In the United States, it is reported that in 2018 there will be more than 490,000 data science positions available, but only 200,000 qualified people to fill the roles. With only 110 universities offering data science students, the growing market will continue to need supply. Cornell University is working to feed future data scientists into the pipeline with a brand new course being offered this semester called Data Science for All.

A joint course between Computer Science, ORIE and Stats, the goal is to introduce data science to any student. “My vision is for one day to be teaching this course to 1,000 students a year. Every educated person needs data literacy these days, whether they plan to be a scientist, doctor, attorney or a journalist,” said Dr. Michael Clarkson, a CIS senior lecturer who teaches the course with Professor Madeleine Udell (ORIE).

“We are going to teach the student how to explore and visualize data, how to make predictions based on data, and how to assess the quality of those predictions and make informed decisions,” said Clarkson. “The tools we use are computer programming and statistics, which we will teach from scratch, making no assumptions about the students’ backgrounds.”

There are currently 54 undergrad and graduate students in the course—primarily from the Arts & Science College. The course satisfies a degree requirement in Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning. Data Science for All is based on Data 8, a course taught by Ani Adhikari and John DeNero at the University of California – Berkeley.