Applied Social Data Science Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Applied Social Data Science?

Data science is a multi-disciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge and insights from structured and unstructured data.

Social science is a category of academic disciplines, concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society.

Social data science is a new discipline combining the social sciences and data science in which the analysis of big data is linked to social scientific theory and analysis and can be used to gain knowledge about social behaviours and processes.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Applied Social Data Science in the following subject areas:

  • Statistical Thinking for Social Data Analysis – An introduction to statistical thinking for social data analysis.
  • Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Social Data – Acquire valuable social data analysis skills that are widely sought after in the private, public and non-profit sectors.
  • Impact Analysis Using Social Data – Gain fundamental knowledge and skills of social data analysis, address causal analysis and consider social issues that are important to industries such as inequality, unemployment, climate change and ethics.
  • Applied Machine Learning Using Social Data – Study social issues that are important to industries such as inequality, unemployment, climate change and ethics.
  • Data Science – The Master of Science in Data Science provides students with a thorough grounding in the analysis and use of large data sets, together with the experience of conducting a development project, preparing graduates for responsible positions in the Big Data and IT industries.
  • MSc in Data Analytics – This programme aims to produce graduates who will be able to apply for roles pertaining to Data Analytics across all sectors of the economy.

Studying Applied Social Data Science

There are many courses in Applied Social Data Science that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favourably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing an Applied Social Data Science course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the collection, analysis and uses of data.

Social Data Scientists extract, analyse and interpret large amounts of data from a range of sources, using algorithmic, data mining, artificial intelligence, machine learning and statistical tools in order to make it accessible to businesses.

Organisations are increasingly using and collecting larger amounts of data during their everyday operations. From predicting what people will buy to tackling plastic pollution, the job of a Social Data Scientist is to use data to find patterns and help solve the problems faced by businesses in innovative and imaginative ways.

Data scientists are in high demand across a number of sectors, as businesses require people with the right combination of technical, analytical and communication skills.

The leading employers for data scientists tend to be in the finance, retail and e-commerce sectors. Businesses in these sectors are keen to better understand their audience groups in order to target their focus on relevant products and offerings. Sectors such as telecoms, oil and gas, and transport are increasingly using big data to make decisions that could positively impact their workforce, operations or sales.

The skills you acquire are transferable across a range of sectors so it can be relatively easy to move into different companies. Roles are usually office-based, and a large proportion of your time will be spent at your desk.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. Core office hours are typically between 8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday. There may be times, particularly on short-term projects, where working outside of core office hours or at weekends is necessary.

Related jobs include:

  • Application analyst
  • Cyber security analyst
  • Data analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Database administrator
  • Information systems manager
  • IT consultant
  • IT technical support officer
  • Penetration tester
  • Software engineer
  • Systems analyst
  • Applications developer
  • Business analyst
  • Estimator
  • Forensic computer analyst
  • Network engineer
  • IT sales professional
  • UX researcher
  • Web content manager

Further study

After completing a course in Applied Social Data Science you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as computer science, engineering, mathematics, operational research, physics and statistics.


What is the importance of Applied Social Data Science?

Data scientists and social scientists must both use creativity to solve important problems. Applied Social Data Science helps people understand how to interact with the social world and how to influence policy, develop networks, increase government accountability and promote democracy. These challenges, for many people around the world, are immediate, and their resolution can make a vast difference in people’s lives.

Are there different types of Data Scientists?

Data Scientists work across a range of areas, including finance, academia, scientific research, health, retail, information technology, government and e-commerce.

Where can I study Applied Social Data Science?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • People will go to great, and sometimes dangerous, lengths to obey authority figures. In his famous obedience experiments, psychologist Stanley Milgram found that people would be willing to deliver a potentially fatal electrical shock to another person when ordered to by the experimenters.
  • People typically look for things that confirm their existing beliefs and ignore information that contradicts what they already think. This is known as expectation confirmation. It plays a major role in what is known as confirmation bias, a type of cognitive bias.
  • Our perceptions of other people are often based upon things such as expected roles, social norms, and social categorizations. Because we expect people who are in a certain role or part of a particular social group to behave in a particular way, our initial impressions of a person frequently rely on these mental shortcuts to make fast judgments of how we expect people to behave.
  • A study conducted by Aarhus BSS found that older women were less likely to punish or scold their children, and the children they raised were less likely to have emotional and social issues.
  • A recent study suggests that without a good amount of sleep, it’s very difficult to read people’s facial emotions. The study was conducted through the University of Arizona. They studied 54 participant’s reaction to the same male face in various states of emotion (sad, happy, scared, etc.). They found that people who had been deprived of sleep for one night found it much harder to interpret the correct emotions on the male’s face.

Mariza Halliday

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