Will a Master's on Data Science/Analytics be an overkill?

Big-JJBig-JJ Member Posts: 53 ■■■□□□□□□□
edited September 2020 in IT Jobs / Degrees

I have been considering doing a Master's on Data Science (online) either from Georgia Tech or UT Austin. But I wonder if it is the right move for me.


  • Not switching career – Currently in internal audit/risk. No plans to become a data scientist/analyst.

  • Reasons - To perform audit/risk analytics in a more efficient/effective way. Using Excel is mostly fine, but there are some limitations. Plus, I believe having Masters on DS will make me stand out when I apply for director-level roles down the road as data analytics started to become one of the sought-after skills in internal audit. In addition, it would nicely compliment my MBA.

  • No experience - zero experience in python or R

Some of the tasks related to my work. (They are done by Excel or brute-force manual work)

  • Finding matching names – extract the list of users from systems and find matching names when the naming conventions are different (over 5,000 ppl)

  • KPI, KRI – come up with KPIs, KRIs, extract data from systems, display in the interactive dashboard. 

  • Benford analysis – do Benford analysis with transactions to identify fraudulent ones.

  • Credit card transaction – analyze credit card transactions to identify non-business ones.

  • Control testing – automate control testing by populating data from different systems.

Anyone currently doing a Master's in DS? Will it be an overkill for me or just taking MOOC courses will be more than sufficient?



  • Options
    UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,567 Mod
    Interesting question.

    Here's my view. You seem to be after two different things:

    Goal #1: Progressing to a director level role:
    - To progress from internal audit/risk to a director role, the master of data science might not be the way to go. How about you look up Directors in your geographical location. Do you see that they have a Master of Data Science? My guess is no.

    The MBA is possibly the only degree that *might* help you progress to director level. Apart from that, it's usually a matter of being in a company for a long time and getting promoted (if this is a possibility with your employer). Or moving jobs and getting a role as senior manager or associate director or head of internal audit. From there you progress to a Director. Being an internal auditor with Data Science skills doesn't seem be a pathway to directorship.

    Goal #2: Gaining specific Data analysis skills (specific technical skill):
    - You seem after specific skillset. I wouldn't bother with a formal degree, specially that you already have an MBA.

    Want to improve your data analysis skills? Why don't you learn from books, videos, tutorials, etc That will *directly* give you those skills. Don't just learn R or Python for the sake of learning it. Find a problem at work that requires solving and if R is the way to solve then learn it.

    Just be aware that the two goals that you want are not necessarily related. The skillset and experience needed by a director are not the same thing as being better with Excel and being better at Data Analysis. One is a board level managerial/governance skillset; the other is a technical specialist skillset.


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    yoba222yoba222 Member Posts: 1,237 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I agree with UnixGuy on goal two. Well both goals really, but I wanted to comment on goal two. You'll learn more about data analytics by simply studying data analysis and at your own control. Otherwise you may be bogged down by the college curriculum, forced to spend many inefficient hours writing term papers, doing group projects, etc. Just get the syllabuses, buy the specified textbooks, and do it on your own.

    If your company is paying for it, why not though. For goal 1, I'd spend some time on LinkedIn reviewing profiles for current directors and use their accomplishments to guide your choice on whether or not a second degree will make the difference.

    In retrospection on my master's degree that happens to have "concentration in software engineering" somewhere in the title, I learned few useful things about how to actually engineer software. I believe spending a year doing actual software engineering instead would have taught me more than those four extra classes did. They were fun I suppose.
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