Careers for Data Science Students
If you’re studying data science, you’re probably feeling pretty good about your chances of getting a job after college. We’re talking about a career that’s been dubbed “the sexiest job of the 21st century.”
While lots of hopeful data scientists assume they’ll land killer jobs at Google or Facebook right out of school, most are overlooking an industry already swimming in data, with opportunities for good jobs and good salaries – insurance.
Companies like Allstate, AIG and Aetna employ armies of data scientists. As technology unleashes more data every picosecond, analyzing that data — and figuring out the best ways to leverage it — is in high demand, especially in the risk management and insurance field.
From telematics devices in cars that collect data used to create more accurate car insurance rates, to wearable fitness trackers that report on physical activity to reduce health risks, the Internet of Things (IoT) has released a flood of information that today’s companies can analyze and use to make better products and better serve their customers.
Data scientists are creating new ways of collecting and analyzing all that data that will revolutionize how insurance works. They’re basically engineering their own job security.
Today, data scientists at insurers spend their days combing through staggering amounts of data looking for trends and correlations that are worth investigating further, with a heavy focus on predictive modeling.
Here’s how Vijay, a data scientist at Verisk Analytics, describes it:
“When I was graduating, I talked with several good companies. I had no idea about insurance outside my own policies. I never thought that one day, I’d be in insurance. I just knew I wanted to do the things I actually studied. Now I’m doing exactly those things in the data science field. Plus I have an amazing view of Manhattan.”
How to Make It Happen
Recent graduates with degrees in everything from computer science and statistics to mathematics and data analytics have all sorts of entry-level opportunities in roles such as data engineer and associate data scientist.
If you can, it’s worth taking a couple of risk management and insurance courses. You’re going to be on the cutting edge of risk management, and insurance companies will prioritize anyone who can bridge the gap between complicated data analytics and traditional insurance knowledge.
To get the formal title of data scientist or analyst — and the paycheck that goes with it — you’ll likely want to get an advanced degree. In fact, the majority of data scientists have a master’s degree or a PhD.
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