Data Science Course: What Is It All About?

As one of the most in-demand specialities of the 21st century, data science combines statistics, mathematics, computer science, and domain-specific knowledge to extract insights from data.

This article explores all that entails a data science course and how one can kick-start a career in this field. We will also discuss the various options for learning data science, including online classes, boot camps, and traditional university degrees.

So, this article is for you whether you’re a student exploring your career options, a professional looking to upskill, or someone interested in the field. Let’s get started!

data science
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What is data science?

A data scientist uses statistical and computational methods to extract information from data. In practice, data scientists collect, process, analyse, and visualise large datasets to uncover patterns and trends that can be used for research, policy-making and inform business decisions.

This field draws from diverse disciplines such as statistics, mathematics, computer science, and domain-specific knowledge. Its applications are vast in numerous areas, including healthcare, finance, marketing, and sports.

What does a data scientist do?

A data scientist uses statistical and computational methods to extract information from data. In practice, data scientists collect, process, analyse, and visualise large datasets to uncover patterns and trends that can be used to inform business decisions, research, and policy-making.

Some of the specific tasks might include:

  1. Collecting and storing data: A data scientist ensures that data is collected in a structured and organised manner and stored in a way that is accessible for analysis.
  2. Cleaning and processing data: Data is often messy and incomplete. Thus, data scientists use techniques to clean and process the information to ensure it is ready for analysis.
  3. Exploring and analysing data: Data scientists use statistical and machine learning methodologies to identify patterns and trends in the data.
  4. Developing predictive models: Using the patterns and trends identified, they create models to predict future events or outcomes.
  5. Communicating insights: Data scientists communicate their findings to stakeholders who may not have a technical background.

What are the skills needed to be a data scientist?

A diverse range of skills, both technical and non-technical, is needed for success in this field, including:

  • Proficiency in programming languages, such as Python or R, which are commonly used in data analysis.
  • A strong foundation in statistics and mathematics to understand and apply statistical models to data.
  • Data manipulation to clean and manipulate data in a way that makes it suitable for analysis.
  • Data visualisation to communicate complex data and insights to a non-technical audience using visualisations.
  • A good understanding of machine learning algorithms, like supervised and unsupervised ones, and applying them to real-world problems.
  • Business and domain-specific knowledge to ask the right questions and develop relevant insights.
  • Communication skills to effectively communicate their findings and insights to technical and non-technical stakeholders.
  • Problem-solving skills to identify and define problems, develop hypotheses, and test and refine their solutions.

In addition to these technical skills, data scientists must have a curious mindset, be adaptable to change, and have the ability to work collaboratively with others to devise solutions to complex problems.

Overall, the skills needed to be a data scientist are diverse and continually evolving as the field advances. However, individuals who possess these core competencies can pursue a rewarding career in this exciting field.

What does a data science course include?

Data science courses differ in various ways and depend on the institution you’re enrolled in. However, you can expect the following subjects or something similar.

Data science course subjects

Data science course subjects include:

  • Introduction to Data Science
  • Data Visualisation and Interactive Design
  • Data Science Toolbox
  • Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining
  • Image Processing and Computer Vision
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Big Data Mining Techniques and Implementation
  • System Security

Data science course duration

Again, this depends on the particular course you choose and the university. Nonetheless, a full-time course can run for three to four years.

What qualifications do I need to study data science?

The following are the general requirements needed to study data science:

  • A Levels: Two Principal Passes (2Ds)
  • STPM (Science Stream or equivalent): 2Cs or a CGPA 2.00 average with a Credit in Mathematics and a Credit in a Science or ICT subject.
  • Diploma: Diploma in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Information Technology or Information Systems or related Diploma in Science and Technology with a Minimum CGPA of 2.50
  • Foundation Studies: Pass with a Minimum CGPA of 2.00
  • UEC: 5 Credits (5Bs), with a credit in Additional Mathematics
  • Mathematics requirements:

(i) Students MUST have obtained a ‘Credit’ in Additional Mathematics at SPM/O Levels, or equivalent.


(ii) MUST have gotten a Credit in Mathematics and a Credit in either a Science, Technology or Engineering subject for SPM/O Levels or equivalent.

However, students who don’t fulfil the mathematics requirements at SPM level may be given admission if their entry qualification contains Maths-related subject(s) and their accomplishments are equivalent to, or higher than the required Credit of Additional Mathematics at the SPM level.

Data science career opportunities

Overall, there is a broad range of career opportunities in data science, and the field is continually evolving. The main career opportunities are:

  • Data scientist
  • Data analyst
  • Machine learning engineer
  • Business intelligence analyst
  • Data engineer
  • Data architect
  • Data science manager

How much does a data scientist earn?

According to the Dice Salary survey, the average salary of a data scientist globally is approximately $100,000 to $130,000 per year. In Malaysia, the median salary of a data scientist is around RM58,368  per year, according to data from PayScale.

However, this figure can vary depending on factors such as the level of experience, industry, and location. For example, data scientists in Kuala Lumpur tend to earn more than those in other parts of the country due to the higher cost of living.

Data science course Malaysia

A great option for studying data science in Malaysia is the Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons) program at UOW Malaysia. This program aims to equip students with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a career in data science.

The program covers topics such as programming, data visualisation, natural language processing, image processing, data analytics, and machine learning. It also includes hands-on experience through industry projects, internships, and capstone projects.

Data science course FAQ

Is the data science course difficult?

The difficulty of a data science course can vary depending on several factors, including the course level, the institution offering the course, and the individual student’s background and aptitude for the subject matter.

Data science courses can be challenging, as they often require a strong mathematics, statistics, and programming background. Students may also need to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills to succeed.

However, students with a passion for data science can succeed with dedication and hard work. Many data science courses also provide support through tutoring and study groups to help students overcome challenges and master the material.

It’s important to note that data science is a dynamically evolving field, and staying up-to-date with new technologies and techniques is essential for success. However, a data science course can be a rewarding and fulfilling learning experience for individuals willing to put in the effort.

Is it worth doing a data science course?

Whether or not it is worth doing a data science course depends on several factors, including your interests, career goals, and financial situation.

It is a rapidly growing field with a high demand for skilled professionals. As such, studying data science may lead to many career opportunities with high earning potential. Additionally, data science skills are valuable across various industries, from technology and finance to healthcare and government.

However, pursuing a data science course requires significant time, effort, and financial investment. Furthermore, it is crucial to consider the cost of tuition, the potential of student loan debt, and the time commitment required to complete the course.

Nonetheless, if you are passionate about data science, pursuing a data science course can be a worthwhile investment into your future.

Can I learn data science in 1 year?

Learning data science in one year is possible, but it depends on your starting level of knowledge, the intensity of the program or course, and your dedication and effort.

To become proficient, you must have a solid foundation in statistics, programming, and machine learning concepts. If you already have a background in these areas or related fields, you can accelerate your learning and gain the necessary skills quickly.

There are many intensive data science boot camps and online programs designed to provide a comprehensive education in data science over a few months. These programs often have a rigorous curriculum and require a significant time commitment, but they can be an effective way to learn data science quickly.

It’s also important to note that learning data science is an ongoing process, and there is always more to learn as the field evolves. So even after completing a one-year program, you may need to continue learning and expanding your knowledge to stay up-to-date with the latest tools and techniques.

In summary, learning data science in one year is possible, but it requires significant effort, dedication, and a solid foundation in relevant areas.

Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons)

UOW Malaysia KDU University College, Utropolis Glenmarie

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In conclusion, data science is an area of study with enormous potential for growth and career opportunities. And undertaking a data science course can provide individuals with the competencies necessary to take advantage of this growth and access these opportunities. 

However, one must evaluate one’s interests, career goals, and financial standing before embarking on this path. 

Success in a data science course is possible with dedication and hard work, and several avenues are available for learning this field. As the field of data science is constantly evolving, it is essential to stay inquisitive and continue to learn to remain current with new technologies and techniques.


08 March 2023


Science and Technology