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Why Should High School Students Learn Data Science?

Data science is currently one of the fastest-growing career paths in the world. It can be applied to virtually every industry and computers are constantly advancing to be able to analyze increasingly large sets of data. Therefore, the demand for well-trained data scientists is only going to intensify.

Today’s high school students are coming of age in a technologically-focused world, which makes them the perfect choice for early exposure to data science concepts. Earlier introduction of these ideas will help give students a more solid background and help them become adaptable as new technologies and approaches to data science arise. Even students who ultimately want a career outside of data science, this foundational knowledge will still give them a competitive edge on their job applications. 

Prepare for College

Currently, it is more common for high school students to learn computer science during high school; most aren’t exposed to data science until college or later. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot prepare for a potential data science career while still in high school. Data science requires a foundation of skills that a high school student can learn now, which will help them stand out later on.

The most successful data scientists have a keen ability to explain their findings to an audience that is usually less skilled in technology than they are. Because of this, any high school student interested in learning data science would benefit from learning presentation and communication skills as well. Many high schools offer speech and debate, theater, and student government clubs. All of these would help a budding data scientist feel comfortable speaking in front of an audience and learn more about communication. 

If you’re confident you’d like to pursue a career in data science or a related field, it is also important to emphasize math and science in your high school studies. You might want to consider taking some Advanced Placement courses in subjects like Calculus, Computer Science, and Statistics. Many data science degree requirements are heavy in courses like these. Students who do well on their AP exams have the opportunity to apply for several internships and scholarships offered by the AP Program, in partnership with major corporations like Facebook, Amazon, and Google.

Careers in Data Science

A career in data science is a lucrative one: data scientists make an average annual salary of nearly $100,000. Data scientists use their creative thinking and mathematics backgrounds to help businesses translate a huge amount of information into solutions they may not have otherwise been able to solve. For example, data science is used frequently in the healthcare industry to track and predict the spread of certain illnesses. Data scientists have also saved major airlines millions of dollars by reducing the time an airplane is spent idling. This career path is especially exciting because data science has potential applications in virtually every industry

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another area where data scientists frequently put their skills to use. These careers are becoming more essential as demands increase in complexity and are no longer able to be performed efficiently by humans. For example, AI is currently being used in the Department of Defense to identify potential threats for both civilians and in cyberspace; a human simply could not analyze such a large amount of data at once, but AI does not have the same limitations. Artificial Intelligence Engineers are offered a wide range of salaries, but they typically earn over $100,000 annually. 

Machine Learning (ML) is a fascinating subspecialty of AI which also requires extensive knowledge of software programming and mathematics. These professionals design programs for businesses that can make predictions based on large quantities of data. In essence, they build the AI software and monitor it to ensure it is analyzing data appropriately. Becoming a Machine Learning engineer is not an entry-level career—these careers typically require a Master’s Degree or a Ph.D. The average annual salary for a machine learning engineer is about $112,000, but this has the potential to increase over time. Machine Learning Engineers with 20 years of experience can earn over $160,000 per year. 

Data Science Builds Important Skills

Learning a skill as complex as data science can keep your brain healthy while also building several valuable skills. Research shows that an early introduction to math and science has two important outcomes—it generally leads to more students pursuing STEM education as they get older, and it helps bring them the confidence to continue in their studies when the subject becomes more difficult. 

Early data science training also allows students to learn important soft skills that apply to any career path. For example, data scientists must be able to collaborate and communicate well with others. Being a constructive member of a team is an important attribute for almost any job. Students who learn data science also have plenty of opportunities to present their work to others, making them more comfortable with public speaking and accepting constructive feedback. 

Learn Data Science in NextGen’s Summer Classes

If learning data science as a high school student sounds exciting, check out NextGen Bootcamp’s data science courses for high schoolers. NextGen Bootcamps offers in-person data science classes at its Manhattan-based campus, as well as live online data science classes that can be attended remotely from all over the world. You can also review the full list of coding courses for high school students on NextGen’s website if you’d like to learn more. 

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