Data Science Degree Programs in Florida
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in Florida
An aspiring data scientist who wants to live and work in Florida can expect a high quality of life thanks to the generous pay and relatively low cost of living. Careers for data scientists in Florida are generally lucrative as graduates will find opportunities with recognizable and proven companies such as Mayo Clinic, Disney, Universal Orlando, University of Florida, and PepsiCo.
Data from the May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that there were 2,430 data scientists and mathematical scientists employed in the state of Florida during the 3-year period from November 2017 to May 2020. This equates to roughly 0.288 data scientist jobs per 1000 jobs in the state.
The annual mean wage for these occupations during the time period was $92,930. The mean hourly wage was $44.68, and the median hourly wage was $41.12.
The survey also revealed that there were 40 employed mathematical and data scientists in the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville area. The median hourly wage for workers in this region was $39.03, and the mean hourly wage was $43.14. The annual mean wage was $89,730.
According to LinkedIn, employers hiring data scientists in Florida include large consulting firms, such as Accenture, KPMG and PWC, as well as companies looking to fill internal roles, such as The Walt Disney Company, Chase, and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
For data scientists with a research interest, initiatives and investments in the area offer excellent opportunities.
For example, the University of Florida’s innovation ecosystem has created more than 7,900 jobs, launched more than 200 startups through its tech licensing initiative, and has exceeded $10.4B in private investments.
UF’s Innovation Hub allows entrepreneurs to search for technologies in their database, learn about startup funding and business incubation, and explore the licensing process.
In 2015 the university also established the Informatics Institute, which focuses on key areas such as informatics techniques and technologies, biomedical and life sciences, informatics for engineered systems and the physical sciences, and the social sciences, humanities and education sectors.
Meetups and networking events related to data science are held regularly in metro areas, including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa. In the Orlando area, there is even a Meetup group for Orlando Machine Learning and Data Science.
Orlando has hosted a variety of major data science conferences, including:
The IEEE BigData 2021 was scheduled to take place in Orlando in December of that year, but the conference organizers moved the event online in response to COVID-19.
Florida Data Science Degree Programs
Florida’s educational programs in data science include in-person programs and online programs that encompass bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates.
Many of the programs feature hands-on practical experience through coursework that allows students to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom to real-world problems.
On-Campus Data Science Undergraduate Programs in Florida
Florida offers many undergraduate degree options for students, including majors and minors. Students may even opt to earn an undergraduate certificate to round out their major with some relevant data science training. Public and private institutions offer on-campus data science undergraduate programs 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 systems engineering, intelligent mobility and quantitative economics and econometrics.
The average weighted high school GPA of freshmen admitted to the university in Fall 2017 was 4.0, and applicants do not have to meet any requirements specific to data science for admission.
Applicants’ GPAs are recalculated with grades from core academic subject areas — i.e., English, math, natural sciences, social sciences — and AP and IB courses as determined by Florida Poly.
The university collaborates with research centers and industry partners to provide top-tier training and connect student learning to the community and has several dedicated resources for career development. The university’s employer-connection website Handshake helps students find and prepare for jobs and internships, explore various career paths, ask questions, and receive resume guidance.
The university also runs CODES (Career Opportunities Developing Evolutionary Success). These professional development workshops focus on subjects such as professional dress and body language, personal branding, networking, and elevator pitches as well as other critical skills that help students stand out from the competition.
In addition to these workshops, Florida Poly gives students a competitive leg up with its annual Career Services Clothing Rack event, which provides them with gently used professional clothes for interviews.
For students who want the experience without the full commitment of a degree in data science, Florida State University in Tallahassee offers a 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 Data Science Graduate Programs in Florida
Students who wish to pursue a graduate degree through the traditional learning mode can select from the roughly 20 data science graduate programs in Florida that offer on-campus learning. Several of these graduate programs are statistics-focused or otherwise focused on a particular discipline, such as biostatistics or health informatics.
On-Campus Data Science Master’s Programs in Florida
With nearly a dozen on-campus master’s programs, Florida can accommodate students who want to dive into hands-on learning opportunities and gain expertise at the graduate level. On-campus programs allow students to take full advantage of in-person instruction and the accompanying resources.
In Florida, students have options at both public and private universities.
Florida Atlantic University offers a Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics program that allows students to select a concentration — including data science in society, business, engineering, and scientific inquiry — that aligns closely with their educational background and career goals. Florida Atlantic University is unique in that it has six campuses located across South Florida, giving students the flexibility to choose a location that is most convenient for them.
Another notable master’s program in Florida is offered by the University of West Florida in Pensacola. UWF’s Master of Science in Data Science program offers three concentrations: analytics and modeling, analytics of business decisions, and health analytics.
Florida Polytechnic University offers graduate training in data science. The university’s Big Data Analytics program, in particular, covers areas such as cloud applications, optimization, and simulation, database systems design and data mining.
The data science track of Florida Poly’s Master of Science in Computer Science degree teaches students to “harness the power of data in decision making” through a curriculum focused on collecting and managing data, identifying solutions to business problems, and effectively communicating the results of data analysis.
In addition to the program’s rigorous curriculum, students benefit from the university’s job-placement services, which track and publish job-placement data for full transparency. Through the strength of its employer-connection program and career-development resources, Florida Poly’s graduates have access to resources and opportunities to land gainful employment.
Students also enjoy the benefits of the school’s research centers such as SunTrax, the large research facility that focuses on transportation technologies student innovation opportunities, and industry partnerships, and the FIPR Institute, which is dedicated to public health and protecting the environment.
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.
On-Campus Ph.D. in Data Science Programs in Florida
All of Florida’s Ph.D. programs are research-intensive, and students who obtain doctoral-level training will be equipped to create new knowledge in the data science space, regardless of which specialization they choose.
Applicants have multiple options, but there is one standout Ph.D. program at the University of Central Florida. Whereas many programs focus more narrowly on the computer science space, the Big Data Analytics Ph.D. program boasts clear data science applications with an emphasis on statistics.
The Big Data Analytics Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida in Orlando is a 72-hour program offered by the Department of Statistics. It’s designed for researchers with a statistics background who want to use advanced data analysis techniques for making better decisions. The program curriculum focuses on predictive analytics, data mining, text analytics, and statistical analysis.
The university is ranked as a “Best Value School” by U.S. News & World Report. As is the standard for most Ph.D. programs, UCF’s program has 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 offered for data science disciplines, such as 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 a master’s degree provides.
The University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, offers three graduate certificates, including:
- Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics (12 hours)
- Graduate Certificate in Statistical Data Analysis (15 hours)
- Analytics and Business Intelligence Certificate (12 hours)
Online Data Science Degrees in Florida
Online learning is abundant in Florida, with programs at the certificate, bachelor’s degree, and master’s degree level across several disciplines — including data science and analytics as well as data-related subject areas, such as business, technology, and healthcare.
For students who are brand-new to the field, there are a number of bachelor’s programs, such as the Information Management-Database Administration BAS degree offered by Palm Beach State College.
Nondegree-seeking students who want to add a skill, obtain continuing education credits, or enhance their existing knowledge in the field should consider Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. Nova Southeastern’s fifteen-credit Business Intelligence/Analytics Certificate is offered through the College of Business and Entrepreneurship.
Graduates of The Health Informatics and Analytics master’s program at Florida International University will be well-prepared to work in one of the many data science positions in health care facilities across the state.
The curriculum includes key learning outcomes for data scientists, including:
- Project management and data visualization for health care
- Quality of care assessment using outcomes data
- Making data-driven decisions for health care-related problems
- Impact of health informatics in health care delivery
The program faculty is also engaged in research and partnerships with government agencies, policymakers, and health care institutions, all of which give students experience with real-world applications.
The cohort-based program is limited to 40 students and can be completed in 15 months. The program boasts a 95 percent retention rate, an 87 percent graduation rate, and a full-time employment rate of 81 percent at graduation.
Students enter the program from backgrounds such as nursing, health administration, information technology, information systems, health informatics, health services, business (accounting), sciences (psychology and biology services), medicine and other health-related fields.
Housed within the College of Business, the MSHIA is perfect for existing or aspiring health care professionals who want to use data science and information systems to improve efficiency and outcomes in the health care industry.