Deciding to study data science is sometimes deemed hard, and deciding where to study data science in Nigeria is commonly perceived as harder. In fact, it is a labyrinth. First, data science is a nascent field in Nigeria. Second, no Nigerian university or polytechnic offers degree-courses in data science currently. This means that you cannot hold a university degree in data science obtained from a Nigerian university, for now. But of course, there are a number of institutes providing industry-accepted data science certifications. However, before you bother about which institute to go to or which to shun, the first exercise in determining which data science structure is befitting is to consider whether or not analysing Big Data is your forté.

You could try your hands on introductory data science courses like basic statistics, computer science, or programming or even attend short training sessions on data analytics. If these are impracticable, another option would be to read relevant write-ups and web posts that focus on industry trends and updates to know how well topics in data science excite you.

A variety of books on data science
Before deciding on where to study, consider a peer into the vast field of data science. Source: Unsplash

If you have already decided to jump into the pool of big data and you intend no further dilly-dally, that is awesome. It is about time you decided which data science institute is appropriate for you.

This guide has five main sections. Each section aims to provide you with many options you can choose from in your data journey. The first two sections highlight considerable Universities and Institutes in Nigeria that offer degrees in computer science and engineering, and artificial intelligence. The third section presents institutes in Africa that offer data scientist certifications, while the fourth chapter details the best Universities to study data science abroad.

The guide concludes with a chapter on relevant online resources for data crunchers. As a Nigerian data science aficionado, you should be aware that the nascency of the Nigerian industry with the dynamism of the field itself can often mean that the pedagogy of these institutes is everything but static.

Top Nigerian Universities for Computer Science and Engineering

Data is the new oil! These four words express so much about the future of data science. One, like oil, data now requires refining and crunching. Two, like oil, data is the new source of wealth, ergo, whoever is skilled in data analytics will be richly-compensated. Needless to say that data science is one of the works of the future. The realization of its importance in effective business management, smart agriculture and bioinformatics, telecommunication, finance, and even health makes it a good choice of study.

A business newspaper with data
Many businesses in the future will be needing insights from data than ever, and that makes the field highly-rewarding. Source: Unsplash

However, choosing the right place to learn can often be a daunting task. The Nigerian tertiary education does not, yet, offer data science degree courses. However, holding a degree in related programs like computer science and engineering could make your eventual journey in data science less scary. These five universities are options you could try.

  • Covenant University – Computer and Information Science Department
  • University of Lagos – Faculty of Engineering
  • Federal University of Technology, Akure – School of Computing & School of Engineering and Engineering Technology (SEET)
  • The Federal Technology, Minna – School of Engineering and Engineering Technology (SEET)
  • Babcock University – School of Computing and Engineering Sciences

Top Institutes in Nigeria for Artificial Intelligence 

The resurgence of AI has raised optimism among data lovers. Artificial Intelligence is one of the coveted arms of data science. It is a specialized field with its own fantasies and fun. The field was created on the notion that human intelligence “can be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it”. The primary burden of AI is to make machines capable of taking actions that make them more efficient and providing smart insights.

AI, as a discipline, requires the interplay of mathematics, psychology, complex algorithms of computer science, and of course, sound human intelligence. It is suitable for artistic data scientists who love to work with large amounts of data. It involves heavy data mining and data processing and the ability to learn often complicated algorithms. If you are willing, these institutes provide quality AI programs in Nigeria.

  • National Institute of Information Technology
  • PwC Data Analytics Academy
  • KVCH
  • Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Nigeria (RAIN)
  • DataLab

Top Universities & Institutes in Africa for Data Science Courses

To a layman, data is boring. Just its mention paints a picture of strings of scary headache-inducing numerals.  But if you are someone who loves numbers and would care to transform large, boring numbers into presentations or reports that will enable your clients to make wise decisions, a data science course is the right fit. 

The dynamics of data analytics will challenge your creativity and analytical mind. If you have always been interested in statistics and your decisions have, most times, been suggested by numbers and observation of trends or past experiences, you’re likely to succeed in data science. These Universities could help you in that dream. They provide stellar pedagogy in data science courses in Africa.

  • Stellenbosch University, South Africa – School for Data Science and Computational Thinking
  • Makerere University, Uganda – College of Computing and Information Sciences
  • The American University in Cairo – School of Sciences and Engineering
  • The University of Mauritius – Faculty of Engineering
  • Africa Data School

World Best Universities & Colleges for Data Science

Considering the multisector relevance of data science across the globe, you have many options of study even far beyond your shores. Especially with the current absence of degree-programs in data science in Nigeria, it can be a good option to study abroad.

This chapter cites Forbes' world's best tech-driven colleges and universities that offer specialized Master’s Degree courses in data science and AI. It should be noted that deciding to enroll at any of these schools may require that you obtain a student visa. Do not be deterred because getting a student visa is relatively easier than other visa types. Rather, consider all the schools according to your need and select whichever is best for you. Also, consider other relevant indices like the cost of living and studying for each option on the list.

  • Stanford University – Department of Statistics.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Statistics and Data Science Centre
  • University of Helsinki – Faculty of Science
  • University of Bath – Department of Computer science
  • Carnegie Mellon  – School of Computer Science
  • Imperial College London – Department of Computing
  • École Polytechnique – HEC Paris School of Business Management
  • University of Hong Kong – The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science and Department of Computer Science

Learning Aids for Data Scientists

Keeping up to date with the latest discourses, hacks, and trends in the labile field of Big Data can be hard. Hence, this chapter names relevant online data science resources that will ensure that you do not become a dinosaur in your cherished field. 

Try Your Hands on Test Data Sets

Do-It-Yourself is one trick every expert Data Scientist uses frequently. The science of mining, processing, and presenting data is faster and better learnt through frequent exercises with practice data sets. Act in various shadow capacities exploring practice public data, market/sales data, finance, health, and many more. The problem, however, lies in getting these workable data.

A man visualizing a set of data
To accelerate your proficiency in data science, you will need to get your hands dirty working on practice data. Source: Unsplash

However, there are a couple of sites that provide platforms for data enthusiasts to learn, and perhaps, practice too. One such site is Data Science Nigeria. The website is especially commendable because it even offers free e-books on data science for beginners.

Data Mining Sites

In simple words, data mining involves extracting usable data from a larger set of any raw data. But that’s in simple words. Of a truth, sifting through noisy data is far harder than it sounds

To ease your study on data mining, The Data Mining Blog presents a platform for timely discussions on everything data mining — from relevant statistical tools to neural networks and database management.

Sites on Machine Learning

Machine learning is another fascinating branch of data science. It concerns itself with providing machines with the ability to learn, by themselves and make decisions based on previous experiences without being specifically programmed.

If your interest is in machine learning, you can consider taking a further read on Machine Learners. It affords you a deeper peek into how machines take on the ability to learn and act based on previous experiences. You can even deepen your knowledge further on machine learning by checking out Microsoft's Machine Learning Blog.

Data Science Webinars

Considering our different learning strategies, there are webinars on data science that are ideal if you’re a visual learner. Webinars are web conferences, usually including live presentations and multimedia users’ participation.

Depending on your choice, you can choose to opt for a paid data science course online on Udemy or consider free tutorials on Coursera. ODSC, as one of the world’s largest communities of data scientists also provides free web-based data science classes with other valuable benefits including blogs, videos, and free training resources.

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A Nigerian freelance SEO Writer-cum-Editor and 2019 Writing Fellow of ALWF who blends creativity with rich content to produce sterling copy — persuasive, informative, or expository. He loves nature and trains in Karate, and he loves to help others grow — individuals and brands.