Data Science Degree Programs in Hawaii
Data science is an exciting and growing field that offers competitive income and diverse job opportunities. Increasingly, U.S. companies are searching for the top talent in the field, and their preference is for those who have obtained at least a master’s degree in data science, computer science, statistics, math, or another STEM-related degree. Data science is highly necessary for businesses in our modern world, as data scientists are specialists that uncover important data assets, allowing them to create algorithms for machine learning which can be leveraged to produce fast, precise, and innovative solutions to business problems.
Although the Aloha State is particularly alluring as a top tourist destination, there really isn’t much of a tech industry to speak of. Beyond the tourism industry, even Hawaii’s government has trouble with clearly defining the major industries that heavily contribute to their GDP. However, according to the 2021 State of Hawaii Data Book, the data-centric industries of health services, retail trade, and business services are expected to employ over 200,000 Hawaii residents by 2025 — a significant portion of the state’s projected 932,000-person workforce.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in Hawaii
In their Hawaii employment calculations, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) shows that the Aloha State has 11,330 employees within the Computer and Mathematical Occupations category. Upon closer examination of the data scientist sub-category, the number is drastically reduced to less than 100 people.
The data scientists who have secured jobs earn an annual mean wage of $84,200 per year. On the surface, this salary appears to be a boon. But, Hawaii’s cost of living is 86% higher than the national average. The median home price hovers at $626,000, almost three times higher than the national median price of $219,000. You’ll also pay more for groceries, utilities, and transportation. So, the additional costs will quickly consume that six-figure paycheck. Furthermore, there is only one major university, which limits the available data science programs within the state. With this in mind, those who have their hearts and minds set on living, working, studying, and playing in the Aloha State do have some academic options.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Hawaii
The University of Hawaii system has 10 campuses throughout its collection of islands. Currently, there are no on-campus Bachelor’s Degrees in Data Science. But, you do have alternatives such as Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Math, and Computer and Information Science. As you peruse the curriculum for a particular bachelor’s degree that has the best probability of leading to a data science career, the program should include the following courses:
- Calculus and Linear Algebra;
- Statistics, preferably advanced stats;
- Machine learning
- Data mining and database systems;
- A programming language, preferably Python or R.
If no such coursework is available via the institution, then you should plan to either self-study (there are plenty of data science MOOCs available) or take online courses as a supplement to your bachelor’s degree.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in Hawaii
Your choices for on-campus data science programs in Hawaii are even slimmer. There are no data science degree programs at this level. And the selection of related master’s degree programs, regardless of the Hawaiin college or university, narrows down to Computer Science and Math. Alternative courses of study that are indirect data science routes can include most other STEM degrees, e.g., Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences, Physics, Marine Biology, and Molecular Biosciences & Bioengineering. All require data collection and analysis, which are the essential cornerstones of data science.
On-Campus Data Science Graduate Certificates in Hawaii
There is a bright spot in the dearth of data science offerings, but rather than being a graduate certificate, The University of Hawaii, Hilo, offers an on-campus undergraduate certificate in Data Science. This program provides all of the data science core competencies via an 18 unit curriculum: Data Science Fundamentals in R, Python for Data Analysis, Machine Learning for Data Science, and Applied Statistics with R. Additionally, you have a lengthy list of electives to choose from including Data Visualization, Database Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Database Systems Design (all highly recommended specifically for data science). The program in Hilo is led by Robert Pelayo and Matthew Platz, and it’s designed to advance the competitiveness of Hawaii in the growing field of data science. This is a promising sign of possible future data science programs materializing at some point in the future.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Hawaii
Unfortunately, at this time, there are no on-campus Ph.D. programs in data science available through any of the Hawaiian colleges or universities. The only data science oriented Ph.D.s offered throughout the Aloha State are Computer Science, Math, and a few other tangential STEM Ph.D.s, e.g. Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences, and Clinical Research, etc. You can find out more about the Ph.D. programs by visiting the main University of Hawaii website.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in Hawaii
Online degree programs of any level for data science are non-existent within the Aloha State. This is also true for the main alternative areas of study including computer science, statistics, math, information systems, etc. The nearest data science neighbor for online bachelor’s degree programs is the University of Hawaii, Maui College’s Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Business and Information Technology. However, the program does not cover the data science core competencies. There is one course in Statistical Analysis for Business Decisions. So, if you decide to embark on this academic pathway, you’ll definitely need additional coursework in math, stats, and at least one programming language.
Online Data Science Masters Programs in Hawaii
The University of Hawaii and the other four-year Hawaiian academic institutions do not have an online Masters in Data Science program. Neither does it offer any of the other possible data-science related courses of study in an online format. You’ll need to either attend an on-campus masters program or find another university outside of Hawaii that offers online degrees in data science.
Online Data Science Graduate Certificates in Hawaii
As mentioned earlier, there are few opportunities for in-class and online data science programs in Hawaii. However, Hawaii Pacific University lists Information Systems as a choice for their online graduate certificate program. They do not list the complete curriculum for their certificate, so those who are interested in the program should contact the university directly for more information.
Online Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Hawaii
As beautiful as Hawaii is, both the on-campus and online availability for any data science program, regardless of academic level, comes down to only the previously described data science certificate. No Ph.D. programs for Data Science exist in the online format. All other Ph.D. programs are limited to on-campus attendance. But, Hawaiian universities add both online and on-campus data science pathways, we’ll update this article accordingly.
2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for data scientists reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2023.