Data Science Degree Programs in Colorado
With a buzzing Front Range startup scene, Colorado has become a landing spot for many entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley veterans seeking a healthy lifestyle and lower cost of living. For over 25 years, the Colorado Technical Association has helped foster a healthy tech scene that drives much of the need for data science expertise. In 2018, Colorado startups set a new state record by raising $1.6 billion in funding. In both Boulder and Denver, coding academies and startup accelerators continue to churn out talented professionals and develop new businesses.
Located in southeast Denver, the Denver Tech Center (DTC) hosts many big-name companies, including Boeing, Morgan Stanley, PepsiCo, and Sprint. Additionally, the state government actively supports the Colorado Information Marketplace and Go Code Colorado competition, which encourages diverse teams to use publicly available data in order to discover valuable insights.
There are also many data science-specific meetups and communities that gather throughout the state. New Tech Colorado is a group of 12,000 tech professionals who meet all along the Front Range in different cities. The coding academy, Galvanize, frequently hosts Colorado Data Science meetings where individuals gather to hear from successful entrepreneurs. Boulder / Denver Big Data is another meetup that facilitates education about emerging big data technologies and encourages members to share their experiences.
On the conference front, several events have developed organically as many of the country’s biggest data science workshops do not visit the state. Both Boulder and Denver host “Startup Weeks” that offer tech entrepreneurs a chance to network and learn from industry professionals. Rocky Mountain DataCon is a conference sponsored by MapR that focuses on data science and data engineering topics.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in Colorado
In Colorado, competition for data science jobs is relatively high as there only about 400 computer and information research scientist positions available. On average, these positions pay $116,400 per year. On an hourly basis, data scientists in Colorado make $56 per hour, which is slightly below the national average of $57.49 per hour. However, Boulder boasts the fifth highest hourly mean wage in the country at $67.14 per hour.
Overall, Colorado ranks 11th nationally for data science wages and compares favorably against surrounding states. Data scientists in Utah and Nebraska are paid, on average, $47 and $43 per hour, respectively. Wyoming currently offers no careers in the data science field.
An important consideration to keep in mind is that Colorado’s cost of living has been increasing over the last several years. The state now ranks 18th in the country on the Cost of Living Index, and prices continue to rise as more and more people move to the state. Still, the cost of living lags far behind states like California and New York, whereas data science wages only trail 10-15%.
If you are interested in data science career opportunities in Colorado, you must consider the job prospects, potential earnings, and cost of living in the state before committing to a particular school. Also, take the time to explore all of your options so that you find the program that best suits your lifestyle and goals.
Denver offers a lot of exciting opportunities and a growing tech scene. Boulder is one of the most attractive metropolitan areas in the country for data science professionals. Job prospects might be lean in Colorado, but the data science field is only going to continue growing.
Colorado Data Science Degree Programs
In Colorado, there are many programs available for those seeking a career in data science. Nine universities across the Front Range offer advanced degrees or certificates that can be completed in person or online. Several of the state’s major universities, including the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Colorado Denver, and Colorado State University, have made significant investments in their computer science departments and clearly believe in the future of data science.
The University of Colorado Boulder’ Department of Computer Science is deeply committed to a number of research projects involving large-scale data manipulation. The University of Colorado Denver has its Big Data Management and Mining Lab (BDLab) where students are challenged to tackle real-world problems through data-driven solutions. Colorado State University in Fort Collins recently invested $15 million in AI and big data research projects.
As a student, you have undergraduate and graduate data science programs available in Colorado. Also, if you are already working or would rather gain data science knowledge on a part-time basis, there are several online programs that can easily fit into your life.
Concerned about the costs? There are scholarship and financial aid opportunities available through university departments for many of the data science programs in the state. Below, we highlight different types of Colorado data science programs and offer a few suggestions to get you started down the right path.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Colorado
For undergraduate-level data science programs, there are a few options available for students who want to explore the field before embarking on their career journey. The two most notable are offered by the state’s biggest colleges, the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University.
In the Fall of 2018, the University of Colorado Boulder launched a new Statistics and Data Science Major (BA) through the College of Arts and Sciences. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for a wide range of careers in which statistical methods and analyses are valuable. The University of Colorado Boulder’s program is offered by the Department of Applied Mathematics, which also has many undergraduate research opportunities available for students. To earn the degree, you must complete at least 70 credit hours of coursework. Concerned about getting in? With an undergraduate admission rate of 80%, you have a good chance of being accepted so that you can begin your data science career path.
In contrast, Colorado State University’s Data Science major includes four different areas of concentration: computer science, economics, mathematics, and statistics. The program introduces students to the concepts and skills needed to solve real-world problems using large and complex sets of data. With this program, you will be equipped with a broad range of useful tools that can be used to solve problems in the real world. Like the University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado State University’s undergraduate admission rate is in the low 80s.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in Colorado
The Colorado academic system has a plethora of graduate level on-campus data science degree programs. From graduate certifications to doctorate programs, Colorado possesses program diversity, both in terms of specialization and delivery. The University of Colorado and Colorado State University systems offer a variety of ways you can complete data science degrees. Prefer not to enroll at a big school? No problem. There are several options available for attaining a high-quality education at smaller institutions such as Regis University and Colorado Technical University.
On-Campus Master’s in Data Science Programs in Colorado
On-campus university programs for data science master’s degrees are available primarily in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. The University of Colorado Denver offers the most optionality for those who want to specialize in a specific area within the field of data science. The University of Colorado Boulder’s program is one of the best in the country and focusing heavily on data use for AI applications.
The CU Denver Business School offers a Master’s in Business Analytics program that can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Completion requires 30 credit hours that are typically spread over two years. The business school offers a large number of scholarship awards every year to help students pay for their degrees.
Alternatively, Colorado State University in Fort Collins offers a Master of Applied Statistics Data Science Specialization degree that can be completed in one year as a full-time student or up to four years as a part-time student. The program requires at least 30-31 credits and can be completed on-campus or in person. Tuition is $24,645 ($795 per credit). To help mitigate costs, the Department of Statistics offers a number of scholarship opportunities for active students.
Regis University, a private academic institution in Denver, has a Master of Science in Data Science program that can be completed on campus or online. The program consists of 36 total credit hours and two practicum courses. For your application to be competitive, you must have several years of relevant work experience or a bachelor’s degree in computer science, in addition to a fundamental understanding of statistics and computer programming. All in, the program costs $28,080 ($780 per credit).
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Colorado
In terms of Ph.D. programs for data science in Colorado, there are only two schools that currently offer this level of education and area of study. A new unique fellowship opportunity exists for students who have already been accepted to The University of Colorado Denver’s Computer Science and Information Systems Ph.D. program. Students must complete 60 total hours of dissertation research and classroom credits in order to earn their Ph.D. in Big Data Science and Engineering. The program is offered through on-campus classes only and costs $37,260 ($621 per credit) for Colorado residents. On the financial aid front, the Big Data Science and Engineering Fellowship completely covers tuition and fees, in addition to providing an annual stipend.
At Colorado Technical University, students can earn a Doctor of Computer Science in Big Data Analytics. The program consists of 100 credits that can be completed in three years. The entire curriculum is available online, but the degree also includes in-person symposium experiences. If you have already completed your master’s at Colorado Technical University, you are eligible to receive a Lifelong Learning Grant to pay for your doctorate.
On-Campus Graduate Certificate Programs in Colorado
Not interested in going through a lengthy degree program? Universities in Colorado do offer four graduate certificate programs available in data science-related fields, two of which are offered online. Certificate programs are a great option for gathering new skills and gaining knowledge in a specific area without the time and financial commitment required for completing a rigorous degree.
Regis University offers a 4-course, 12-credit Data Science graduate certificate. The program costs $9,000 in total and lasts 32 weeks. You must have a bachelor’s degree from the past two years in a relevant field or three or more years of relevant work experience in order to be considered for acceptance.
The University of Colorado Denver offers a program consisting of 13 credit hours that must be completed within 3 years of enrollment. To apply, you must have a bachelor’s degree and a GPA of 3.0 or above. Although your bachelor degree doesn’t need to be in statistics or math, it is expected that you will have completed multivariate calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical statistics coursework prior to beginning UC’s graduate certificate program.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in Colorado
If you want to complete a data science program remotely, there are multiple options across the state. In addition to the programs highlighted below, Colorado Technical University’s Doctor of Computer Science program is available entirely online.
MS in Information Systems
The University of Colorado Denver offers an online Master’s in Information Systems program with eight specializations. Students must complete at least 30 hours of coursework and have the option to complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis. For Colorado residents, the University of Colorado Denver’s program costs $18,780 total ($626 per credit).
Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado Technical University offers an online Master of Science in Computer Science program that focuses on insight extraction from structured and unstructured sets of data. The program consists of 48 credit hours and costs $28,080 in total ($585 per credit).