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How AI and Data Science Evolve Together

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AI is reshaping the data science field. Data scientists face new challenges involving AI, but, perhaps more significantly, they can wield AI applications and tools. The nature of the work is rapidly changing.

Gaining an education in data science still offers tremendous value. However, curricula must be well-designed, and learning efforts properly targeted. Instructors and students must quickly adapt to the foreseeable transformation of data science work.


The rise of artificial intelligence has important implications for the value of data science studies. It would be folly to ignore the areas of job growth and decline on the horizon. AI should be an integral component of data science programs whereas pure coding should not.

A Masters in Data Science remains valuable if it integrates AI fundamentals. Courses should explore AI application alongside data analysis. Instructors and students should pivot to an emphasis on machine learning, ethical AI use, and bias mitigation.

Graduates with a data science degree specialising in AI should enjoy tremendous opportunities. They can pursue roles as AI strategists and AI-focused data scientists. The curriculum must adapt to technological advances, preparing students for the future.

How is AI Used in Data Science?

Data scientists can use AI to increase their ability to analyze vast datasets efficiently.

  • AI automates data cleaning and pattern identification. This speeds up decision-making.
  • Techniques like machine learning, NLP, and computer vision enhance data interpretation.
  • AI handles structured and unstructured data, offering predictive insights.
  • AI supports real-time analysis, crucial for industries like healthcare, finance, and retail.
  • AI in data science opens doors to advanced analytics and smarter business strategies.

Imagine you were a data scientist tasked with presenting personalized video suggestions to users on a platform such as YouTube. AI enables customizing video suggestions through user behavior analysis and preference tracking. Machine learning algorithms refine these recommendations, increasing relevance and boosting engagement on the platform.

Data Scientists Use AI for Many Activities

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Data science and AI can work together. Indeed, data scientists can me far more effective and powerful in many activities by harnessing machine learning. AI helps drive innovation and efficiency across industries.

  • Data science is the process of extracting insights and knowledge from data through various statistical, analytical, and programming techniques. It involves collecting, cleaning, and analyzing data to make informed decisions and predictions.
  • Artificial intelligence is the development of computer systems that can perform tasks requiring human intelligence, including learning, reasoning, and problem-solving. AI uses algorithms and models, particularly machine learning, to process data, identify patterns, and make decisions with minimal human intervention.

AI is an important tool for the data scientist. Without AI, data scientists would have to manually sift through massive datasets, a process both time-consuming and prone to error. AI automates the analysis, enabling faster, more accurate insights. This allows data scientists to focus on interpreting results and applying findings to solve problems.

How AI is Changing Data Science

While a percentage of data scientists are involved in producing AI, data science itself is being transformed by AI applications. The work is evolving. Whereas previously data scientists spent much of their time on data preparation and basic analysis, AI now automates these tasks, allowing them to concentrate on more strategic activities.

A good example of this is coding. In data science, coding skills have been essential to analyze data, develop algorithms, and create models. However, with AI’s rise, much of the coding for data analysis and model development can be automated or simplified through AI-powered tools and platforms.

The top 5 AI tools for the data scientist, according to Analytics Vidhya, are: ChatGPT, Bard, Copilot, Code Interpreter, and OpenAI Playground.

Data scientists are more able to focus more on designing experiments, interpreting data, and implementing findings. AI is reducing the barrier to entry for data science roles. It is also encouraging a broader focus on data interpretation and decision-making processes.

Is a Masters in Data Science Worth It?

The developments around machine learning and AI bring into question the value of a data science degree. Some traditional study areas in data science masters programs are becoming redundant. For example, it may not be worth learning detailed coding techniques for data manipulation and analysis that AI can automate.

The emphasis is shifting towards understanding machine learning models, ethical AI use, and strategic data interpretation. A master’s in data science remains valuable if the curriculum adapts to include AI advancements. Students should focus on how to leverage AI tools and insights effectively in decision-making processes.

Related: Skills for Data Science and the Data Scientist

Career Pathways

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Many career opportunities are available for data science graduates who have an interest and expertise in artificial intelligence. Here are several ideas.

  1. AI and Machine Learning Engineer
    • Develop and implement AI models and algorithms.
    • Work across various industries, including tech, finance, and healthcare.
  2. Data Analyst with AI Focus
    • Analyze data using AI tools to provide actionable insights.
    • Essential in businesses for guiding strategic decisions.
  3. AI Strategy Consultant
    • Advise companies on AI adoption and integrating AI with business strategies.
    • Bridge the technical and managerial aspects of AI projects.
  4. Data Science Researcher
    • Research AI advancements and their practical applications.
    • Often found in academia, tech companies, and research institutions.
  5. AI Product Manager
    • Manage the development of AI products, from concept to launch.
    • Focus on user needs while leveraging AI technologies.
  6. NLP Specialist
    • Specialize in natural language processing to improve human-computer interactions.
    • Develop chatbots, translation services, and content analysis tools.

These roles represent some of the most common pathways in terms of employment for data science graduates. The list highlights the broad range of industries and applications where AI skills are in demand.

Future of Data Science and AI

I am optimistic about the value of studying data science because it offers a competitive edge. AI expertise will be highly valued going forward. Who better to deliver on that than a data science graduate trained in understanding complex algorithms, and the strategic application of AI in business and research?

While there are always risks involved with training for technology-sensitive careers, data science presents great opportunities. According to the State of AI report, “AI data scientists remain particularly scarce, with the largest share of respondents rating data scientist as a role that has been difficult to fill.”

Some or even much of what you learn in a data science degree may quickly become technically obsolete. But the insights, core skills, and job experiences will position you to ride the technology wave successfully.

Adaptability, critical thinking, and the ability to understand and apply new technologies are key. These attributes enable data scientists to evolve with the field, ensuring their expertise remains relevant and in demand.

Related: AI Management Courses in Australia

Follow Andrew Lancaster:
The director of Lerna Courses, Andrew Lancaster, is experienced in analytics, technology, and business development. He has a PhD in Economics from the Australian National University. His writing helps people make informed choices about education and careers. He covers a range of topics, including university education, psychology, and professional growth.