By Millicent Mwololo
Are you the curious type who gets excited with numbers? Do you want to be the person using tangible figures and related information to help organisations make big time decisions?
Ever thought of becoming a data manager, data systems developer, data architect, business intelligence developer, data engineer, information analyst, statistician or even a data analyst?
If so, then the Bachelor of Science degree in Data Science and Analytics, offered at the United Sates International University-Africa (USIU-Africa), should be one study to immerse yourself in.
With it, you will gain data handling skills, majorly how to unearth data to generate meaningful information. You will get to learn data mining, analytical and computational skills, programming skills, data security and ethics, and general education skills, including life skills.
The course also sees students acquire knowledge in the areas of research methods, data mining, machine learning, algorithms and in modelling business intelligence platforms. Students further gain competitive skills on how to read or develop data-based driven systems for organisations.
The study targets all secondary school-leavers who have a passion for building a career in handling data. The main requirement for enrolling is a minimum of a C+ mean grade in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) or its equivalent, with at least a plain C in mathematics or physics or both.
The course is not all about being in the classroom. Here, students get to also involve themselves in community service and in designing business-intelligent systems for organisations. They get exposed to the reality of the growing need for data security, and how to steer clear of data breaches. Further, they learn about what is current in their space and how to professionally use the technological tools and skills at their disposal in an ethical manner.
Growing need for data scientists in East Africa
The Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Analytics at USIU-Africa is one of a kind in East Africa. It covers a field that is relatively new, but highly necessary.
Data science is applied daily in the job market. Hence in recent years, there has been a need for more data scientists in East Africa, given the voluminous data that organisations handle and need to make use of using statistical and computation techniques, says Dr Gabriel Okello, a mathematics and statistics lecturer at USIU-Africa.
He says the people working as data scientists in the market today are professionals who have either a degree in computer science, statistics, mathematics and computer science, or applied science. “They know programming, but not how to conduct statistical analysis. Our Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Analytics students will be equipped with core mathematical, statistical and computer science knowledge and skills. The programme is two-fold,” Dr Okello explains.
It ensures a smooth progression to Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics, or a Master of Science in Computer Science, or Computer Engineering, or Statistics.
Importantly too, the Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Analytics ensures that students join the industry and launch a career, either as employees of an organisation, or self-employed.
“The industry is very wide. Any public or private organisation, including non-profits and NGOs, today want to make data-driven decisions. Data is what is moving the world today,” Dr Okello stresses.
Many organisations generate data without sometimes knowing it or devising a system for structuring the piling data. The vast data, or big data, can be analysed to predict certain business trends and make useful decisions. Hence the need for big data analytics, a growing trend.
The Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Analytics at USIU-Africa offers numerous benefits to graduates, who go on to fare well in employment in the East African region.
“Beyond teaching the course, we also train our students to be self-reliant through a course in entrepreneurship and business organisation, where they generate their own business ideas and innovate business models. We also have an innovation and incubation centre at USIU-Africa,” says Dr Okello. This ensures that students acquire the skills they can use to successfully navigate their careers.
To find out more about this programme, go to: https://www.usiu.ac.ke/2240/bachelor-science-in-data-analytics/.