What is Social Data Analytics?
Social Data Analytics is an interdisciplinary major that teaches students to use the increasingly vast stores of information generated from social media, cell phones, “smart objects” and other technologies that capture moment-to-moment changes in where people are, what they are doing and thinking, and with whom they are associating. This data (which is often “big data”) can help researchers and policy makers address a wide variety of political, economic and social problems. It is used to improve government services; to identify patterns of armed conflict, human rights abuses, and disease before they escalate; to enhance the efficiency of businesses; and to create more resilient communities in the face of climate change. Students in this major learn data analysis techniques and how to apply them to develop reliable answers to questions about the social and political world
Why should I study Social Data Analytics?
Businesses and governments increasingly need employees who know how to handle, analyze, and communicate with and about large and complex bodies of information. Glass Door described being a data scientist as the “best job in America” in 2016 because these positions are abundant and they command high salaries. Employers need people who can turn data into insights about the kind of problems they are trying to solve. You might like this program if:
- You want to develop data analytics skills to solve real-world problems in the political, social, and economic arenas.
- You have an interest in social science, computer science, statistics, and visual communications.
- You want to improve how people live and work together.
What are my career options with this major?
The Social Data Analytics major provides students with a unique interdisciplinary training that develops their ability to think about data in relation to the complex social realities from which it is generated. Some Social Data Analytics majors will use their training with companies seeking the following:
- New markets
- Improved work flows
- More effective marketing strategies
- Better investment climates
Others may work for government agencies, such as the Department of Defense, National Institute of Health, Department of Energy, and Department of State, forecasting political change and coordinating resources to improve human health and security. The degree also prepares students to be strategists for political campaigns or to work in law enforcement.
Opportunities for Graduate Studies
This degree is excellent preparation for a variety of graduate programs, including social science, public policy, urban planning, and law.