Virtual High School will begin offering a Data Science course in July of 2016. As mentioned in our previous blog post, this course provides students with the knowledge and tools they need to analyze and visualize data. This course presents students with opportunities to exercise skills that are in high demand while gaining experience in the field of data science.

A data scientist must have expertise and skills in three areas of knowledge. For this reason, VHS is combining components from 3 different disciplines in offering this interdisciplinary course which consists of the following:

Let’s dig a little deeper…

What does a data scientist do?

Data science has evolved from the field of data analysis – the main difference being that the data scientist has strong business acumen. A data analyst may look at data from a single source, whereas a data scientist will look at data from all angles to determine what the data mean and which problems are the most crucial in the work of the organization. Learn more about data scientists here.

Goal of the Data Science Course

This VHS course has been developed in conjunction with Fireside Analytics and IBM. We have collaborated with these important organizations to offer a high school credit course in data science via Virtual High School. IBM has created Big Data University, which provides free education on big data, analytic technologies, and data science at the post-secondary level. The Data Science course at VHS is an interdisciplinary Ontario Secondary School Diploma credit, preparing students for data science programs after high school using real world examples and problems.

How will this course be taught?

VHS’s Data Science course uses IBM’s Data Scientist Workbench (DSWB), which is a free service that brings together open data and data science tools. Using the DSWB, students interact with, analyze, visualize, and prepare data. The DSWB will be used in VHS’s Data Science course for R programming experience. R is a programming language designed specifically for statistical computing that facilitates the interpretation of, interaction with, and visualization of data. This is a must-have skill in the world of data science.

Here are some questions to get you thinking about data science and its application to the real world:

  • How can text data be used to analyze who the best candidates are based on their resumes? What are appropriate salaries for these individuals?
  • How can data be used to determine who is most likely to stop attending (“churn”) high school music lessons? Can you use the data to provide recommendations?
  • What story does a set of data tell? Can it be used to tell a story about a global issue?
Data Scientists in the Real World

The ability to mine data is extremely valuable in the world of business. Why? Data provide insight into what is happening in a business, what can be improved, and what can provide a competitive advantage. Because the skills of business, statistics, and programming are so valuable when combined – and difficult to find – the salary for a data scientist is expected to be ~$130,000 after 8 years of education and experience in the industry.

Join VHS’s online Data Science course which will launch in July 2016, and start building your portfolio of skills for university!