The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Careers in Data Analytics and Computational Social Science

Career Opportunities

The current job market for professionals with a background in data analytics and computational social scientists is ripe with opportunity.

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15% job growth in data science through 2029, 15% faster than the national average for all occupations.
  • In Massachusetts, occupations related to data analysis are projected to grow by 20-25% between 2016 and 2026 
  • EAB recently found that occupations requiring education in data analytics grew by an estimated 143% over the past 3 years.  
  • A recent Burning Glass report identified over 30,000 job postings in a single 12-month period in the Boston metro area.
  • Boston is among the top 10 metro areas in terms of both total and per capita demand for data analytics professionals (Burning Glass).
  • Massachusetts is tied with California and Washington for the state with the highest relative demand for data analytics professionals (Burning Glass).

Companies are looking for employees who combine data science skills with a substantive understanding of how those data are generated and collected and the best way to communicate data-driven insights to a general audience.

Career Preparation

Degree curriculum has been carefully designed to prepare students for the workforce and reflects current industry standards for data science professionals. According to EAB, a higher education consulting group, employers expect graduates to have sufficient training in programming, statistics, and data communication. The core DACSS curriculum prepares students to meet industry standards in all three areas, while an additional three advanced technical courses will ensure graduates have cutting edge training in one or more social science research methods such as survey research, network analysis or computational text analysis.

Skills workshops are offered regularly to provide a students with the knowledge needed to pursue additional specialized career-relevant skillsets. For example, students may identify faculty sponsors to pursue additional training in particular areas within data science and high performance cloud computing through AWS, Google, or other corporate or independent certification organizations.

Career Resources

DACSS students on the UMass Amherst campus have access to multiple career resources.

  • Dedicated career counseling.
  • Career workshops during Orientation in August and throughout the semester.
  • Diversity in Social Data Science Leadership Academy, sponsored by the DACSS program over Winter break.
  • Regular on-campus job fairs and recruiting events, including many sponsored by the College of Information and Computer Science.

These and other supports are in place to ensure that DACSS students are ready to put all that they learn to use in their professional lives.

Career Outcomes

UMass undergraduate and graduate alumni with extensive training in data analytics and computational social science, pursued through the letter of specialization in Data Analytics for Politics, Policy, and Legal Studies and related graduate coursework, have done very well on the job market and in applications for advanced degrees. Our alumni have been accepted into graduate programs (primarily PhD and MPA) at Harvard, Berkeley, Princeton, Chicago, Columbia, and LSE.  Alumni have also gone on to work for a a range of private sector and non-profit organizations: a tech startup in San Francisco, Kaiser Family Foundation, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Facebook, and multiple research and consulting firms.