Do you need a PhD to get a job in data science? If you're looking for just any old data science job, the answer is probably no. However, if you want a job working in machine learning at a big tech firm or in the 'lab' of a bank like JPMorgan, which is setting up a new AI-focused team in Silicon Valley, a PhD might help. The question is, where to study.
Correlation One, the quantitative assessment firm which specializes in selecting data science talent for banks, hedge funds and trading firms, has put together a ranking of the top PhD programs for data scientists based on performance in its tests. Correlation One's data suggests that studying a PhD rather than a masters in data science really does make you a better data scientist. On average, PhD students whose schools scored the highest in its tests achieved a score of 58%, compared to 51% for masters students and just 45% for bachelors students. In terms of aptitude, at least, a PhD makes sense.
However, some schools' PhD students are more talented than others. And they're not always the big name schools you might expect. As the chart below shows, PhD students are Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana score far higher than PhD students at MIT and are "truly the best of the best", according to Correlation One. Stanford PhDs score lower still and Cambridge University PhDs aren't even on the list.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
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