Hi guys !

I graduated from degree of Computer Engineering from NTU, Singapore & recently MBA from NUS, Singapore, and I have 13 years' experience in tech consulting & project management. I also passed 2 levels of CFA exams. I started my career as a Java & SQL programmer but have not done it for a few years now.

I am considering to do a masters degree in Econ & Data Science with the goal to become an economist with data science capabilities in doing predictive economic analysis. I don't want to do a PhD because it takes too long.

I recently did some research of US schools and found below programs:
-MS Applied Econ, Boston College
-MA Applied Econ, George Washington (option to add Graduate Certificate in Data Science)
-MS Applied Econ, U Maryland CP
-MS Applied Econ & Management, Cornell
-MS Applied Economics & Econometrics (AEE), USC
-MA Econ, Boston U
-MS Econ, Georgia Tech
-MA Econ, Columbia
-MA Econ, NYU
-MS Quantitative Econ, U Pittsburgh
-MA Econ, Duke
-MIDS, Duke

My questions:
1. Is it a good idea to become an economist or should I be a data scientist instead? AFAIK data scientists are more in-demand than economists but I am personally interested in economics, and given my tech background, I think it makes sense for me to combine economic analysis with data science.

2. Would doing MA/MS Applied Econ degree be sufficient to find a good job as an economist in a public/private company in the US, or is PhD required? I prefer not to do PhD as it takes too long with low stipend. My math background is not sufficient to do PhD Econ anyway.

3. How difficult is it to get to MA/MS Applied Econ programs? NTU did not publish GPA of my undergrad, but I got Third Class Honors and I calculated my GPA as 2.6/4.0, that was 17 years ago. My MBA CAP was 4.2/5.0, which should be equivalent to 3.5/4.0 GPA, that was only 3 years ago. I will get letter of recommendations from my former employers. I would say the quality of LoRs would be quite good. I didn't take GRE as it is optional at most schools for now. How much will the schools weigh my undergrad GPA that was long ago, as opposed to more recent MBA GPA and work experience? Does CFA help (there are econ components in the exams)? Would getting an LoR from my MBA economics professor help in my application? Should I take the GRE? Also, are the above schools realistic for me?

4. In the above list, only BC & GWU's curricula combine both applied economics & data science. Are there other graduate programs that combine the 2?

Appreciate your help !