Data Science Degree Programs in Nebraska
Historically, the Cornhusker State’s main economic drivers center on agriculture and food processing. But, over the past five years, the insurance industry has gained tremendous traction and currently contributes $8.3 billion to Nebraska’s GDP. This is great news for data scientists as insurance carriers are in the process of incorporating data scientists into their actuarial teams. Predicting and managing risk are statistically intensive activities that are well suited to machine learning and AI processes that many data scientists work with on a daily basis.
Additionally, as “smart” devices continue to proliferate throughout the agriculture industry, all touchpoints within the supply chain will be greatly impacted by the voluminous increase in data: sensors, GPS tracking, robotics (especially for food manufacturing), real-time commodities pricing, weather and climate shifts, etc. Where there is more data, there is an increased need for data experts who can build increasingly intelligent algorithms for data cleaning, parsing, and selecting the right machine learning models for better predictions, decreased risk, and a boost in supply chain management efficiency.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in Nebraska
Industry adoption of data science, outside of the tech industry, continues to lag. Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics 2018 Occupational Employment data for Nebraska, there are only 30 employees in the state who have been classified under the Computer and Information Research Scientists designation (which is inclusive of data scientists).
Thus, although the industries located in Nebraska may have a need for data scientists, this is not currently translating into a wealth of data science jobs being advertised. There are, of course, other factors that contribute to only a handful of data science job postings, including the fact that the state population is relatively small, 1.9 million as of 2019, and there isn’t a huge tech presence: only 6.2% of the Nebraska workforce are categorized as being in the tech sector.
The good news is there has been growth, albeit small, in IT Services and Custom Software Services, and in the Telecommunications and Internet Services sectors (approximately 2%). Furthermore, the average cost of living is lower than the U.S. average; the median home cost is approximately $163,000 vs. the U.S. median of $219,000, but health and grocery costs do exceed the U.S. average for both of those categories.
However, the average Nebraskan data science salary more than compensates for the higher costs of health services and groceries: $114,000 yearly or $55 per hour, which is in stark contrast to the average salary for all Nebraskan employees, currently estimated to be $51,000. Since Nebraska’s population growth is quite slow, .80% for 2019, experienced data scientists will likely find less competition for the existing data science jobs. This likelihood increases if you are a graduate from one of Nebraska’s universities as you’ll more readily build a network with Nebraska employers due to already living and working in the state.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Nebraska
Bachelor’s level degrees in data science are few and far between throughout the U.S., and this is also evident in Nebraska as there are no on-campus Bachelor’s Degrees in Data Science offered at this time. Graduate degrees in data science or analytics are, by far, more prevalent. But, there are many paths leading to data science, meaning a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science isn’t a requirement to a. demonstrating your data science expertise and b. establishing your data science knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Degrees in computer science, math, statistics, and engineering (or any STEM field) are viable segues into data science. For example, if biology or agriculture are subjects that you would prefer to study during undergrad, these can be leveraged to either enter a Master’s Degree in Data Science or as a fulcrum for you to self-study data science by utilizing biological or agricultural data for data science projects.
Pro Tip: In the past 7 to 10 years since data science has been deemed “the sexiest job of the 21st century”, the essential skills have remained the same; college-level Calculus, Linear Algebra, Statistics, Python, R, SQL, Excel (yes, Excel is still a great tool for certain aspects of data science), programming, research design and implementation, business acumen, and specific industry knowledge continue to be the primary qualifications for data scientists. Employers merely refine these requirements depending on their enterprise and industry needs.
You can attain these skills throughout your bachelor’s degree, but it will be easier if your degree is in a STEM field rather than a non-STEM program. Economics and finance degrees may also fulfill the basic educational qualifications for many employers. Fortunately, the University of Nebraska system offers a wide variety of bachelor degree programs that can help you kick start your data science career: math, statistics, computer science, biology, applied science, etc.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in Nebraska
In contrast to Nebraskan university’s lack of data science degrees at the bachelor’s level, there are a few more options for data science or analytics on-campus master’s degrees. A brief sidenote: business analytics and data analytics are viable options when there are no specific data science degrees available at the school of your choice.
On-Campus Data Science Masters Programs Nebraska
Creighton University is located in Omaha and offers an on-campus Master’s of Business Intelligence and Analytics, specifically designed for working adults. The 33 credit degree program can be completed within two years, and students can expect to take courses in Survey of Business Intelligence and Analytics, Data Visual Analysis and Visualization, Database Management Systems, and Business, Ethics, and Society as their core requirements.
Additional electives in Machine Learning, Predictive Analytics, Applications of Optimizing Modeling, and Data Visual Analysis and Data Visualization are highly recommended to round out your data science core competencies.
On-Campus Data Science Graduate Certificates in Nebraska
Creighton University has also designed a Graduate Certificated in Business Analytics, which is a robust option for those who aren’t yet ready to dive into a full-blown graduate degree. The required coursework mirrors their Master’s of Business Intelligence and Analytics, but with only 15 credits total. Survey of Business Intelligence and Analytics, Data Visual Analysis and Visualization, and Database Management Systems are the core courses, students can select two additional electives to meet the 15 unit requirement.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Nebraska
As we move up the academic scale to Ph.D. programs, the choices narrow. Similar to Bachelor’s Degrees in Data Science, there are very few offerings for a Ph.D. in Data Science, whether on-campus or online. As of now, there are no Ph.D. designations for data science at Nebraskan colleges and Universities.
But, the University of Nebraska at Omaha has an excellent equivalent: a Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics. The healthcare industry, regardless of the U.S. location, is growing. HealthTech and InsurTech are up and coming sectors, and combined with an aging Boomer, Gen X, and elder Millennial population, healthcare providers and organizations will need analytics experts to help reduce costs and meet the ever-increasing standards for high-quality patient care.
The 90 credit program may take up to five years for completion. Within that timeframe, you’ll complete core courses, research courses, 18 credits worth of in-depth coursework in a concentration of your choice, meet the teaching and dissertation requirements, and pass a comprehensive exam. If you’re thinking this is a tremendous amount of work, you’re correct. Most Ph.D. programs require full-time studies. Notably, the four to five year completion time indicated above is calculated for students attending to their graduate studies as full-time students.
Carefully review the admissions criteria as there are several requirements that, if not completed in full, will severely curtail your admission eligibility.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in Nebraska
As with the on-campus Bachelor’s in Data Science, none of Nebraska’s university’s offer an online program specifically for data science. The University of Nebraska at Lincoln does have an online Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science. As with just about all bachelor’s level programs, you’ll complete 120 credits distributed throughout core courses (the usual English, Math, Science, etc.) along with degree concentration courses (e.g., Ecology; Food, Genetics, Biotechnology, and Processing; Entrepreneurship, Economic, and Policy).
Online Data Science Masters Programs in Nebraska
Bellevue University has developed an online Master’s in Data Science which is comprised of 30 credits and fulfills the data science core competencies (please note: as odd as it may seem, not all data science programs meet these criteria): Intro to Data Science, Intro to Programming, Statistics for Data Science, Big Data, Applied Data Science, etc.
Online Data Science Graduate Certificates in Nebraska
The University of Nebraska system provides a number of online graduate certificate options including a Business Analytics Graduate Certificate via their Lincoln campus. There are only four courses required, and the program is a mere 12 credit hours. Econometrics, Business Analytics, Data Mining Applications, and Strategic Database Marketing are great starting points for those who aren’t familiar with the tools and techniques used in business analytics (which is a subset of data science).
Online Data Science Ph.D. Programs Nebraska
As of 2019, there are no online programs for a Ph.D. in Data Science through Nebraska universities.