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Data Science vs Information Technology: which master’s degree is right for you?

3 mins

Perhaps you’re drawn to all things tech, but are not sure which pathway is best for you. If you’ve got a passion for computing, studying a master’s degree in the field is a great way to upskill to help you land your dream tech job.

The demand for computing and IT specialists shows no sign of slowing. Both a Master of Data Science and a Master of Information Technology can lead to interesting, challenging and lucrative career opportunities in the tech industry.

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What exactly is the difference between these two courses? Let’s demystify.

Although a Master of Data Science and a Master of Information Technology can be classified under the same ‘tech umbrella’ and there is some study overlap in a few units, they are distinct subject areas with some big differences.

Data Science vs Information Technology: In a nutshell

A Master of Data Science is all about studying methods to discover and extract knowledge from data. It is an interdisciplinary field based mainly on computer science and statistics, but also drawing on communication, psychology and engineering. Study this if you have a passion for computing, mathematics and enjoy making new discoveries through data analysis.


A Master of Information Technology is all about how to get the most from computers. The focus is on creating innovative IT solutions and using advanced IT skills to build, deploy, maintain and protect software systems, be it on premise or on cloud. Study this if you’re fascinated by information systems and new technology and enjoy creating and implementing innovative software solutions.

What key strengths and interests are required?

Choose Data Science if you’re interested in analytics, statistics, machine learning, evaluating new technologies, big data, mathematical modelling or writing algorithms.

Choose Information Technology if your strengths lie in developing computer programs, software project design and management, human-computer interaction, emerging technologies such as agile web development or high performance computing, network security, artificial intelligence, and IT management.

What you’ll learn

The Master of Data Science focuses on developing your expertise in the specific technical skills required for evaluating and analysing data. In this data field, you’ll be working with programming and advanced mathematical modelling. Some of the core units on offer include Computational Data Analysis, Data WarehousingMachine Learning and Natural Language Processing.

The Master of Information Technology has a strong emphasis on the application of contemporary and emerging technologies. You can take units in Open Source Tools and Scripting, Software Testing and Quality Assurance, The Internet of Things and Cloud Computing.

Career opportunities

Whether your aim is to work for one of the big tech giants like Google, Apple or Microsoft, or create your own startup, studying a master’s degree in Information Technology or Data Science will set you up for opportunities in a thriving industry. There is some crossover in terms of careers, and graduates from both master’s degrees will be qualified for many of the same positions in management and consulting, but the below roles are more focused to each specific area of learning:

Master of Data Science: careers

Data management is shaping our world – from influencing consumer behaviour to tracking health outbreaks and optimising business processes. As industries seek to harness data to drive innovation, inform strategy and make business decisions, you’ll be in demand for a wide range of roles including, for example, a data scientist, business analyst, statistician, data mining specialist or management consultant.

Master of Information Technology: careers

IT expertise is pivotal across all industries. You’ll be qualified for a range of senior IT-related professional positions including web developer/designer, cybersecurity analyst, software engineer or cloud architect.


The world is at your feet when you gain skills that are in growing in demand exponentially. The Master of Information Technology and the Master of Data Science will open doors to a rewarding career, no matter which degree you choose to pursue.

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