John Hamman, Montgomery College dean of mathematics and statistics, found himself in charge of a new data science program that made its debut this fall. Professor Brian Kotz approached Hamman requesting that the College expand from a single statistics course to a variety of courses that will match the needs of both the workforce and our transfer institutions.
“The credit for starting the data science certificate at Montgomery College goes to Professor Kotz, who had a vision to expand our offering,” said Hamman. “His work allowed Montgomery College to be at the forefront of community colleges and helped define what a certificate in data science means nationally.”
Montgomery College is now offering a five-course certificate in the emerging field of data science. Hamman said,
“We are leading the way in data science at the two-year level, and data is becoming the language in which we speak.”
Data science combines math, statistics, programming, and hacking skills, as well as data journalism, to gain insight from a growing volume of information produced by an increasingly data-driven world, and to communicate them effectively enough to help solve real-world problems.
Hamman believes that educating students on how to be part of that conversation will not only help them in the workforce but will also help them be better-informed citizens.
The new data science program is important because it provides an opportunity for students to find out more about the proper analysis, collection, and sharing of data, as well as the skills and thinking required for successfully working with data.
“The data science certificate program at Montgomery College will help our students understand how to interpret and communicate with data in a sophisticated way,” said Hamman. The feeling among College faculty is that the data out there is easier to obtain than ever before and the volume is staggering.
Students who earn the certificate will be positioned to meet this new economy’s growing demand for a more data-literate workforce in all professions, as well as to fill data analyst and data developer jobs in Montgomery County and the Washington metropolitan area. Hamman said, “In a well-functioning society, both our electorate and our elected officials will be data literate.” The five courses in the program provide a strong foundation for students continuing their studies at four-year institutions and going into data science programs at the master’s and doctoral levels.