Data Science Degree Programs in Florida
Florida is an appealing location for aspiring data scientists – particularly in terms of work opportunities and educational programs. Miami is rapidly growing as a tech scene due to the presence of startups in the area, and given the state’s ongoing investment in tech education, it’s likely that this market will continue to grow. If Miami isn’t your ideal location, don’t worry – job opportunities still exist outside of the city, especially in areas like Fort Lauderdale and Tampa. And if you’re looking for ongoing training, there are dozens of programs across the state for data science education at virtually every level. Whether you’re looking for a major metropolitan city, a laid-back area, an online program, or program that’s face-to-face, you’ll likely find a program that meets your needs.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in Florida
An aspiring data scientist who wants to live and work in Florida can enjoy a nice quality of life thanks to the generous pay and relatively low cost of living. The career outlook for data scientists in Florida is generally lucrative, but the opportunities aren’t necessarily abundant. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 530 data scientists employed in the state. The annual mean wage is $105,560, and the annual median wage is $95,780. The mean hourly wage is $50.75, and the hourly median wage is $46.05. Employment per 1,000 jobs is roughly .06.
In the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville area, there are around 50 employed data scientists. Employment for a thousand jobs is .22, and the mean hourly wage is $76.63. The annual mean wage is $159,380.
While jobs may not be concentrated in this area, there are still opportunities: a March 2019 scan of LinkedIn shows 629 active, open Data Science jobs in Florida. Professionals in Florida also aren’t necessarily limited to the area, as they can explore remote options.
According to LinkedIn, employers that seem to be seeking Data Scientists in Florida include large consulting firms (like Accenture, KPMG and PWC) in addition to Data Scientist internal roles at companies like The Walt Disney Company, Chase and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
An Indeed Search finds even more opportunities at almost 800 Data Scientist positions, across areas like Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Saint Petersburg and Tallahassee. Moffitt Cancer Center, University of Miami, University of Florida, Beckman Coulter-Diagnostics and Nicklaus Children’s Health System are major employers with open positions, which maps to the abundance of health informatics education in the area.
And once a job has been secured, most data scientists should find themselves pretty comfortable. Although it varies by city and county, according to SmartAsset, home values are fluctuating but the average rent for a studio apartment is only slightly higher than the US average at $1,223 per month. One-bedroom apartments are actually more cost-effective at $1,150 per month. The effective property tax rate is slightly over 1% and there is no state income tax – making it a lower-tax state than others. Utilities may be higher than average at an average of $129.86, but you’ll save on food, spending only $271 a month for a modest meal budget.
For data scientists with a research interest, there are tons of initiatives and investments in the area: The University of Florida has created an Informatics Institute and an Innovation Hub. The Informatics Institute focuses on four areas: Informatics Techniques and Technologies, Biomedical and Life Science Informatics, Informatics for Engineered Systems and the Physical Sciences, and Informatics in the Social Science, Humanities and Education sector. The Innovation Hub allows entrepreneurs to search for technologies in their database, learn about start-up funding and business incubation, and explore the licensing process. So far, there have been 960+ jobs created, 193 startups launched by tech licensing, and $1B+ generated in private investments.
If it’s networking and collaboration that you’re interested in, there are meet-up options in virtually every city. Big Data Florida is close to the Florida Institute of Technology, while the Action Design Network has a Miami Meet-Up. There are also casual and regular meet-up and networking focused events related to data science in metro areas like Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa, and in 2019, there are at least two major data science conferences in Orlando:
Florida Data Science Degree Programs
Florida’s educational programs in data science are well represented, with a broad spread across on-campus programs and off-campus programs, and a number of online programs as well. Programs span the range of undergraduate certificates to graduate certificates, Bachelor and Master degree programs, and Ph.D. programs. Many of the programs offer hands-on practical experience through coursework so students can get accustomed to practical applications.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Florida
There are many undergraduate degree options for students including both major and minors, and even an undergraduate certificate for students who want to round out their major with some relevant data science training. The programs are spread across public and private schools, with affordable tuition options across the board.
The Florida Polytechnic University Bachelor of Science in Data Science program offers concentrations in Big Data Analytics, Health Informatics, and Internet of Things. The university partners with research centers and industry partners to provide top-tier training to students and connect the learning to the community. The average weighted high school GPA of freshmen admitted to the university in Fall 2017 was 4.0, and although there are no data-science related admission requirements, they do require 18 credits of approved high school courses in the core academic subject areas (e.g., English, Math, Sciences).
Florida Poly has several dedicated resources for career development: One is called Handshake which is an employer-connection website that helps students find and prepare for jobs and internships, explore different career paths, ask questions, and receive resume guidance. The university also runs CODES (Career Opportunities Developing Evolutionary Success) which are professional development workshops that focus on subjects like personal branding, networking, professional dress, elevator pitches, body language, and other critical skills that will set students apart in the job search. Tech_Styled is another university resource that gives interview coaching that focuses on styling and professional dress and offers free or discounted business clothes.
For students who want the experience without the full commitment of a degree in the area, there are both minor programs & undergraduate certificates available at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, who offers the twelve-credit Minor in Business Analytics through the College of Business, and a twelve-credit Undergraduate Certificate in SAS Programming and Data Analysis through the Department of Statistics.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in Florida
Students who are looking to study on-campus have a range of options to do so in Florida: there are almost 20 programs that offer on-campus learning. Several of them are Statistics-focused or otherwise focused on a particular discipline (like Biostatistics and Health Informatics).
On-Campus Master’s in Data Science Programs in Florida
For students who want to gain expertise at the graduate-level, and dive-in into hands-on learning opportunities, there are close to a dozen on-campus Master’s programs. On-campus programs are perfect for students who want to take advantage of the resources that on-campus learning can provide, and in Florida, they’ll have options at both public and private universities.
Florida Polytechnic University offers both undergraduate and graduate training in Data Science. Their Big Data Analytics program, in particular, covers areas like Cloud Applications, Optimization, and Simulation, Database Systems Design and Data Mining. Although their program is small, one thing that stands out is their alumnus: the university tracks each graduates job placement and publishes it for full transparency. Given the strength of their employer-connection system (“Handshake”), and further career development resources, their graduates are able to take advantage of university connections and opportunities to land gainful employment.
The university also offers research centers, student innovation opportunities, and industry partnerships. The industry partnerships pair students with tech-focused employers to solve real-world problems. Past projects have included using autonomous technology to improve public transportation, improving efficiency with high-tech solutions, and creating sustainable gardens to improve health. SunTrax is the large research facility that focuses on transportation technologies, and the FIPR Institute is dedicated to public health and protecting the environment.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Florida
Applicants interested in doctoral-level training have multiple options, but there is one standout Ph.D. program at the University of Central Florida – While many programs focus more closely on the computer science space, the Big Data Analytics Ph.D. boasts clear data science applications with an emphasis on statistics. Regardless of which direction applications go, all of the Ph.D. programs are research-intensive and applicants will be well-equipped to create new knowledge in the data science space.
The Big Data Analytics PhD offered at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Florida is a 72-hour program in the Department of Statistics. It’s designed for researchers with a statistics background to use advanced data analysis techniques to make better decisions. The program curriculum focuses on predictive analytics, data mining, text analytics, and statistical analysis. The university is ranked as a “Best Value” and one of the nation’s most affordable colleges and tuition is currently set at $369.65 per credit hour for in-state residents; $1,194.05 per credit hour for out-of-state residents. As it’s standard for most Ph.D. programs, there is a strong independent research component. Students have the opportunity to receive fellowships, assistantships, and tuition support.
On-Campus Graduate Certificate Programs in Florida
There are a number of graduate certificates across areas like Big Data, Business Analytics, and pure Data Science. This can be the perfect credential for someone who wants to demonstrate knowledge but doesn’t need the full training that the Master’s level provides.
The University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida offers three graduate certificates: a twelve-hour Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics, a fifteen-hour Graduate Certificate in Statistical Data Analysis and a twelve-hour Analytics and Business Intelligence Certificate.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in Florida
Online learning is abundant in Florida as there are several full programs spanning Bachelor degrees, certificates and Master degrees in Data Science, Analytics and Database-focused subjects, that specialize in areas from business to technology to health care.
For students who are brand-new to the field, there are a number of Bachelor Degree programs like the Bachelor Degree in Information Management– Database Administration offered by Palm Beach State College.
If you just want to enhance your knowledge in the field with completing a full degree program, Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida offers a fifteen-credit Graduate Certificate in Business Intelligence / Analytics through the College of Engineering and Computing.
The Health Informatics and Analytics program at Florida International University graduates students who will be well-prepared to work in one of the healthcare-focused data science positions across the state. The curriculum includes coursework like Healthcare Information Management, Healthcare Data Visualization, Quality and Outcome Analytics, Clinical Information Systems, Consumer Health Informatics, Healthcare Database Systems and Business Analysis for Decision Making. The program faculty is also engaged in research and partnerships with the government, policy-makers and health care institutions, ensuring real-world learning and application.
The program can be completed in 14 months and has a 45% acceptance rate, 91% retention rate, 100% graduation rate with an average GPA of 3.65. The average student has almost 8 years of professional experience and is around 29 years old. Students can enjoy an intimate environment with only 20 students per class. In general, students come from backgrounds such as healthcare, medicine, IT, accounting, psychology, biology, and nursing.
Housed within the College of Business, it’s perfect for existing or aspiring health care professionals who want to use Data Science and Information Systems to improve efficiency and outcomes in the healthcare environment. The program is a cohort-based model, so students will be able to build relationships with their peers throughout the program, and it offers professional development seminars to enhance soft skill-building like networking and teamwork. Program tuition is $27,500 for Florida residents and $30,000 for non-residents.