LFCC’s new data science degree developed to meet growing demand

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LFCC Data Science

~ Press release issued by Lord Fairfax Community College

MIDDLETOWN, Dec. 7 — One of LFCC’s newest programs has been developed to meet the growing demand for data scientists. The associate of science degree in science with a specialization in computational and data science program began this fall.

“Data science plays an integral role when it comes to making critical decisions in many fields, including transportation planning, healthcare, the corporate world, farming and food production, education, finance, government, manufacturing, retail and criminal justice,” said Dr. Ia Gomez, LFCC dean of science, integrated technologies, engineering, math and health. “In fact, it would be hard to name an industry in which the skills of data scientists are not needed. 

“Data science is emerging as a game changer among the most successful players in all markets. For example, financial institutions rely on data scientists to detect and prevent fraud, retailers depend on them for market research, and manufacturers can use their analytical skills to detect anomalies and predict – and thus prevent – problems. And, in these unprecedented times in which we are living, those skilled in decision sciences can make an impact on the global stage.”

Professors at LFCC collaborated on the program with their counterparts at George Mason University to ensure the degree would smoothly transfer into the program at GMU. However, the specialization is transferrable to other four-year universities. 

LFCC’s program will be led by Beth Dodson, who has more then a decade of experience as a college instructor, specializing in statistics, data analysis, data visualization and curriculum development. Prior to coming to the college, she was director of analytics for a computational research lab with a focus on researching global humanitarian issues.

“The computational and data science specialization provides a solid foundation for students in the data science field pillars of mathematics, computer science and statistics,” Dr. Gomez said. “This solid foundation in math, statistics and computer language that goes into the more exciting fields of data science, such as machine learning, large data analysis and predictive modeling, will set our graduates apart in the job market.”

She said students could immediately enter the workforce upon graduating – entry level jobs include data scientist, business intelligence analyst, data technician, operations analyst, healthcare analyst and research statistician – or transfer to a four-year to complete their bachelor’s degree in the areas of data science, analytics or data-driven decision science. Many junior-level data scientists will be hired at the associate-degree level with the understanding they will pursue a bachelor’s degree in the field.

Learn more about the program at lfcc.edu/datascience.



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