Data Science Degree Programs in Alabama
From Desoto Falls to the Legacy Museum, the state of Alabama offers a mix of rich cultural heritage and natural wonders to explore. What’s more, the state’s economy is booming, which means, as we will see, that it’s the perfect time to look into becoming a data scientist in the state. As new businesses open in Alabama or migrate to the state, the demand for data scientists will explode.
If you’re interested in becoming a data scientist in Alabama, stay tuned. This guide will instruct you on the best educational opportunities in the state.
As a data scientist, you will analyze extensive data sets, extracting meaning from them. Sometimes, this will mean identifying patterns in what may seem to others to be meaningless data. Other times, you’ll be responsible for identifying trends in consumer behavior that may lead to the development of new products. Either way, it’s an exciting career and a field that’s in demand in a big way.
Data scientists often find employment within large organizations, where they help streamline existing systems through advanced predictive analytics. When you analyze a business’s data in this way, you help them eliminate wasteful practices. This, in turn, helps the company cut costs. You may also help them earn more money by identifying the demand for new products and services.
Career Outlook for Data Scientist in Alabama
Alabama’s economy is picking up speed. In fact, over the last year, the state boasted a job growth rate of 2.2 percent. That’s no small feat, and is, in fact, the largest percentage growth the state has ever seen for a single year. That amounts to an additional 44,300 jobs added to the economy. Naturally, not all of those jobs will go to data scientists. But demand for data scientists is increasing nationwide.
In fact, to help meet demand, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is launching a new master’s degree in data science in 2019. This is in addition to the university’s existing programs, as outlined below. The program will be aimed at equipping young professionals with the skills they need to solve real-world problems by managing and analyzing large data sets. According to Yuiulang Zheng, Ph.D. and chair of the UAB Department of Computer science, young data scientists are among the most sought after professionals on sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor.
The demand for data scientists in Alabama—and indeed, across the country—will increase dramatically as the energy sector continues to explore green energy options. Take the geospatial analyst, for instance. This type of data scientist specializes in pulling meaningful data from GPS and aerial photographs. He or she also studies geography to determine good mining locations and to optimize the energy output of existing wind and solar farms. Demand for this type of data scientist will surely increase as the need for sustainable energy sources grows.
Likewise, the financial sector in Alabama is set to see explosive growth due to the overall increase in the local economy. Banks and other financial institutions employ data scientist to study databases and other data sets and extract useful information. This practice is known as ‘data mining,’ and demand is huge. Banks use data miners to help them come up with ideas for new products. After all, if a bank can roll out a new product, it can charge more fees, and these fees in turn help fund the overall operation. Competition in the banking sector is fierce, and it’s the bank that aggressively analyzes its data that gets the edge.
Software development firms, similarly, are always in need of skilled data scientists. Many firms employ data analysts, data coordinators and data librarians to help them remain competitive in the marketplace. Software development can be a cut-throat market, and a series of accounts lost due to inefficiencies can mean game over. Software Development firms in Alabama will be seeking the aid of skilled data scientists for decades to come.
Data Science Degree Programs in Alabama
There are several schools in Alabama that offer degree programs in data science. You can quite easily find associate degrees, bachelor of science, bachelor of art and master’s degrees on offer.
Available schools in Alabama include:
- The University of Alabama
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham
- The University of Alabama at Huntsville
- University of North Alabama
- Auburn University
Note that this list was accurate at the time of publication, but may not be exhaustive. In the following sections, you’ll learn which schools offer associate, bachelor or master’s degrees. Read on.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Alabama
The term ‘undergraduate degree’ may prompt you to think of a traditional four-year bachelor’s program. But, depending on the program, you may earn an associate degree instead. Typically, an associate degree is easier to obtain since it requires a lower time investment. This means, of course, that it won’t qualify you for the same positions that a bachelor’s or master’s degree would. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates for individuals with at least an associate degree are lower than those who only have a high school diploma.
A bachelor’s degree program typically requires four years to complete but may be longer. If you’ve already completed an associate’s degree in the field of data science, you may be able to transfer your credits.
If you plan to start your journey toward a data science career with a bachelor’s degree, you may want to look into Auburn University, located in Auburn, Alabama. The school, through Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, offers a bachelor’s degree in Business Analytics. Will degree will qualify you to analyze large data sets for organizations, finding ways to optimize existing systems. Tuition, as of 2018, was $26,180 per year, and the school has a graduation rate of 75 percent.
Meanwhile, the University of Alabama at Huntsville offers Bachelor of Science in Economics and Computational Analysis. This program provides you with a firm foundation in economics and the skills needed to crunch big data so you can detect meaningful patterns.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in Alabama
If you’ve already obtained an undergraduate degree, a master’s degree is the next logical step in your journey to becoming a data scientist. A master’s degree typically requires a year and a half to two years of study. In Alabama, your go-to here will be the University of Alabama and its various campuses, as well as the University of North Alabama.
On-Campus Master’s in Data Science Programs in Alabama
The University of Alabama offers a Master of Science degree in Applied Statistics with an emphasis on data mining. This degree will arm you with the tools you’ll need to help organizations extract useful data from immense data sets. You’ll be an indispensable asset to any company that seeks to optimize its current operation or streamline the expansion into a new market.
The school also offers a Master of Science in Marketing with a specialization in marketing analytics. Here, you will use your data science skills to analyze market trends and predict consumer behavior. Large corporations employ data scientists in this field to help them maximize return on investment in massive marketing campaigns. Your contributions could help save these organizations millions of dollars in marketing funds.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers a Master’s of Science in Management Science, with an emphasis on business analytics. In this field, you will analyze large data sets to streamline existing business systems and save your employer money.
At the University of North Alabama, you can obtain a Master of Geospatial science, with an emphasis on data science. As mentioned, geospatial analysts often find employment within the energy sector, where they analyze GPS data, aerial photos, and maps.
On-Campus Data Science PH.D. Programs in Alabama
The College of Engineering, a branch of The University of Alabama, offers doctoral programs in computer science. The doctor of philosophy degree is a research degree. It is granted based on demonstrated proficiency in original research. To earn this special degree, you must complete a minimum of 48 hours of course work and give a dissertation. In your dissertation, you must clearly outline relevant independent research you have conducted while in the program. You can find information on other doctoral programs—some out of state—here.
On-Campus Graduate Certificate Programs in Alabama
Unlike a doctoral degree, you can earn a graduate certificate in as little in two semesters. However, a graduate certificate won’t qualify you for the same positions that higher degrees will. A typical graduate certificate requires you to complete four courses, or between 12 and 14 credit hours.
Auburn University offers a graduate certificate in Business Analytics. This certificate will start you on your way to crunching big data for big business. You’ll learn how to manipulate data sets to extract useful information. The program can provide you with greater job mobility as you pursue even higher education.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in Alabama
Earning a degree online can offer several advantages compared to the traditional on-campus alternative, and it’s one of the fastest growing trends in education. Below are but a few.
- Learn from home. With an online school, you learn from the comfort of your own home. Additionally, you have a bit more leeway on how quickly you complete your course work.
- Lower costs. Higher education costs are on the rise, but when you study online, you cut many of these costs. After all, an online institution has lower overhead costs. This means they can pass those savings on to you in the form of lower tuition.
- Greater flexibility. Studying at home affords you a great deal of flexibility in how you tackle your course work. For instance, you could do your course work in the morning while working part-time in the evening. You could, of course, do the same thing on campus, but many students find the online option less stressful.
- More options. When you attend an online school, you don’t have to compromise. Often, a student will have to choose between one brick and mortar school over another based on which offers the most comprehensive program. With an online institution, however, you will find a wide array of courses to choose from.
Auburn University offers an online Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in business analytics. This degree prepares you to efficiently manage business operations with an eye toward improving existing systems. Your focus would be on saving your employer money by optimizing wherever possible.
Syracuse University, headquartered in New York, offers an Online Masters in Applied Data Science. With this degree, you’ll be qualified to extract useful data from large data sets. This will help you optimize and streamline your employer’s existing processes, saving them time and money.
Southern Methodist University, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, offers an online Master of Science in Data Science. The school provides a project-based approach that will prepare you to efficiently process large data sets in a manner similar to that described above.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham, meanwhile, offers a Master of Science in Management Information Systems degree. This program equips graduates to understand business processes with a focus on the management of information systems.