The 5 Best Industries to Find a Job in Data Science

There’s never been a better time to pursue a career in this field. With that in mind, here are five extremely practical and exciting fields you could leave a mark on with an education in data science.

Data scientist

Data powers everything we do these days. And that means how we accumulate, disseminate, study, store and act upon data is one of the most important jobs out there. That must be why data science is such a booming business — one that’s expected to reach $16 billion in value by 2025.

There’s never been a better time to pursue a career in this field. The skills you’ll acquire as a data scientist are extremely valuable and could see you employed with companies as diverse as IBM, Coca-Cola, Ford Motors and Uber, as well as countless pro-social and nonprofit endeavors aimed at building a better world.

The point is, the world is complex, and data helps make sense of it. With that in mind, here are five extremely practical and exciting fields you could leave a mark on with an education in data science.

1. Biotechnology

Science and medicine have always been intrinsically linked. In the future, as technology improves and developed and developing nations recommit themselves to public health, all manner of health-related industries will require data scientists — including biotechnology.

This field will require data scientists like never before for a significant reason: We stand on the verge of unlocking the secrets of the human genome. Doing so requires an almost unimaginable amount of data to accomplish, but once we crack it, we’ll see an explosion of renewed research and development in treatment methods, medical devices and much more.

As a data scientist in this field, you’d help develop new ways to study massive amounts of data — including interactive and semantic technologies and even machine learning. Work done at this level will influence which treatments, technologies and drugs go on to more widespread testing and, ultimately, store shelves.

2. Energy

Some energy sources are more modern than others. But all the industries related to powering our world rely on data — and lots of it. Whether we’re exploring new ways to extract energy and mineral wealth from the earth, dreaming up newer and safer ways to store and transport crude oil or doing the responsible thing and building better and cheaper solar panels, data scientists are in high demand in the energy sector.

It’s that last industry — solar power — that has so many people excited about pursuing data-rich careers in energy. Cleaner energy production, delivered by solar and wind farms, is clearly the future, as evidenced by the success of most of the Nordic countries, where targets of 100 percent sustainable energy are common.

Just as developing oil fields required the study of vast amounts of data, installing and refining clean energy production facilities requires data about the natural environment and the needs of modern construction. Data scientists are also frequently called upon to improve safety and help companies commit to new safety and environmental regulations.

3. Quality Control and Source Inspection

When companies get sloppy, everybody suffers. But building a better mousetrap — or any other product, really — means you need to stay connected with all kinds of meaningful data. Ever have your favorite app ask you, pretty please, for a review? That’s a kind of crowd-sourced quality control. The numerical rating you assign and the positivity or negativity of your review are the data being collated.

Quality control and source inspection is very much an industry unto itself. If you’re doing something like source inspection, you might be called upon to look at data concerning production methods, bottlenecks and areas of persistent inefficiency. Your keenly trained eyes can make sense of usage and breakage patterns, streamline production and transportation and ultimately deliver insights that deliver better and safer products to the world, faster.

4. Transportation

Like every other industry on this list, transportation is in the middle of some pretty extraordinary changes. As an example, with a single product announcement, Tesla managed to turn the entire trucking industry on its head by unveiling a long-haul truck that can drive itself. They’re not the first to make such a promise — this future has been a long time coming. But now it’s here and we’re living in it.

Beyond self-driving automobiles and the obvious shipping applications, the transportation industry is also eyeing ever-more-efficient ways to store and transport energy. These breakthroughs entwine closely with a turbulent regulatory environment and the development of better battery technology. In short, every sector in the very large and very important transportation industry looks to benefit from skilled data scientists.

5. Telecommunications

The Internet isn’t “a series of tubes” — it’s data. Future iterations of the Internet will be a planet-spanning network of satellites and user devices communicating via blockchain and a host of other technologies that aren’t currently household terms, but soon will be.

Actually, it’d be hard to overstate just how important data architecture and data science will be as we continue to develop the Internet into what it was always meant to become: a unifying, civilizing and democratizing communication medium. When we need to know how to tell people about a new product, we call on user data. When we need to figure out where to bury new fiber-optic cables, we need environmental data. We rely on data scientists to design and roll out more energy-efficient server farms.

The point is, everything about how we talk these days comes back in some way to the Internet. And the Internet isn’t possible without the free exchange of information and meaningful data. And though some folks might play at erasing knowledge from the world by purging it from the Internet, they must know by now they live in a world where that’s not really possible.

Data science is an exciting and important field today, and it’s only going to become more important as the marches of technology and globalization continue. If you have a mind for patterns, numbers and analytics, this niche will probably be a great fit for you.

Bio: Kayla Matthews discusses technology and big data on publications like The Week, The Data Center Journal and VentureBeat, and has been writing for more than five years. To read more posts from Kayla, subscribe to her blog Productivity Bytes.