12 weeks to a new career—check out BSC’s new Data Science program

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birmingham data science
Data Science is a high-paying, in-demand career. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) launched their Accelerated Data Science Program this summer, and we’re celebrating the first cohort’s recent completion. Not familiar with Data Science? Curious about this high-paying, in-demand industry? We made our way to BSC for all the details.

What is Data Science?

birmingham data science
We are constantly generating data, whether we realize it or not. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Think about how much data you generate in your daily digital life. Consider that on a global scale, and you’d have an idea of the immense amount of data we’ve created. If you want to get technical, The World Economic Forum predicted we were at about 44 zettabytes in 2020. (I’ll let you Google zettabytes on your own time.)

Somebody has to analyze this exorbitant amount of data, and that’s where Data Scientists come in. They review massive quantities of data and boil it down to digestible takeaways and trends. As you might’ve guessed, Data Scientists are in extreme demand—I’m talking 11.5 million predicted job openings by 2026, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Essentially, a Data Scientist is someone who is able to gather, interpret and organize information. It can really be in any field—all companies have data, and everyone you know is constantly generating data. Data Scientists help companies and organizations that aren’t effectively using their data to make more informed decisions.”

CeCe Lacey, BSC Accelerated Data Science Program graduate

Enrollment in the Data Science program

birmingham data science
BSC’s accelerated program was offered to current students and local professionals alike. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

BSC‘s inaugural program was open to all undergraduate students (from BSC and otherwise), as well as local professionals.

Good news—no previous Data Science knowledge was necessary. The experts at BSC, in collaboration with Flatiron School, started the program at square one.

Future prospects for Data Scientists

What is the future looking like for Data Scientists? Very, very bright.

With six-figure median salaries, projected industry growth and Birmingham tech continuing to flourish, it’s a solid choice for those still in school or professionals looking to make a shift.

What’s the program like?

birmingham data science
The 12-week program is the first of its kind in Alabama. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Since it was an accelerated 12-week program, students certainly weren’t bored. The course provided a healthy mix of group projects, presentations, lectures, labs and even daily exams to ensure knowledge retention.

Those who completed the program will now have the opportunity to interview for a paid internship with local companies. Here, they’ll get to show off their new skills in a real-world environment, and hopefully score a full-time position down the road.

Meet Birmingham’s newest Data Scientists, Kamryn and CeCe

birmingham data science
Two proud women in STEM. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

I caught up with Kamryn Bendolph and CeCe Lacey, two recent graduates of the program. These two are proud women in STEM, and bring diverse backgrounds to the table.

Lacey (BSC class of 2012) has an impressive work and education history, including a degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education. After reviewing a few MBA programs to continue to grow her skill set, she decided that this expedited program would be an even better fit for her future career aspirations.

Bendolph has energy that I simply cannot comprehend. In addition to managing the Data Science course, she’s also a current undergraduate student at BSC, has an on-campus job and is a star on BSC’s Track and Field team. She hopes to combine her Biology major with Data Science in her future career.

“I knew that I wanted to do something in Biology, but learned from previous internships that I did not want to be hands-on with patients. With no previous Data Science experience required, this was a wonderful opportunity for me to gain new knowledge in a matter of months. It opens career opportunities for me without having to start over, which is really the best of both worlds”

Kamryn Bendolph, BSC Accelerated Data Science Program graduate

Want to learn more about BSC’s pilot Data Science program? Get the details here.

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Madison Croxson
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