Data Science Degree Programs in New Mexico
Home of the “Whole Enchilada Fiesta” and AMC’s Breaking Bad, The Land of Enchantment has a rich Native American and Mexican American (it borders Mexico) history that permeates its desert landscapes. The major industries contributing to New Mexico’s GDP are concentrated within tourism, oil and gas extraction, and the military. Additionally, two of the 17 U.S. national laboratories are located within New Mexico: Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.
Although New Mexico might not be the first state that comes to mind when reviewing data science career and education possibilities, there are opportunities for both seasoned data scientists and data science students.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in New Mexico
Overall, New Mexico has a sizable tech workforce: 15,520 workers are classified within the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics Computer and Mathematical Occupations. Although only 770 employees fall under their data science category, i.e. Computer and Information Research Scientists, enterprises such as Booz Allen Hamilton frequently search for qualified data scientists.
The tech industry, where you’ll find the highest availability of data science jobs, comprises 10% of New Mexico’s GDP, and contributes $9 billion to its economy. As can be expected in a state that houses two major research labs, Engineering, Research and Development, and Testing services is the leading tech subsector. Keep in mind that not all data science jobs are posted with “data scientist” or “data science” in the title. Data science uses a compendium of tools and skill sets that overlap with research scientists, data analysts, data engineers, and software engineers.
If you do land a data science job within New Mexico, or decide to attend school in the Land of Enchantment, you’ll find the cost of living to be below the national average: 96.3 vs. 100. With an average data science salary of $102,000, or $49 per hour, data scientists can make quite a comfortable living.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in New Mexico
The selection of universities that offer data science degrees and certificates is non-existent: there are no specific data science degree and certificate programs. But, universities such as the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University do offer parallel degrees and other academic programs, e.g., statistics, computer science, math, and other STEM-related degrees.
For instance, the University of New Mexico’s on-campus Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics includes data analytics and experimental design courses. While you’ll be using SAS instead of Python or R for the analytics (there are industries that still use SAS as well as SPSS for a variety of analytic functions), establishing a thorough knowledge of one analytics tool increases the likelihood of knowledge transfer to the more widely used data science instruments.
Alternatively, there are a mind-numbing array of self-study options for Python, R, data science, and other ancillary data science skills. So, supplementing your bachelor degree coursework with MOOC certifications will help you to construct your data science knowledge schema.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in New Mexico
As with undergraduate programs, data science graduate programs aren’t currently offered through New Mexico’s various colleges and universities. So, graduate students have the usual alternatives: statistics, math, computer science, and engineering.
Even though there is an increasing number of “automated” machine learning and other data science software programs, knowing what’s going on “under the hood” is a highly valuable skill to have. Thus, an on-campus Master’s Degree in Computer Science through the University of New Mexico will give you the mathematical and programming education that many employers are seeking in terms of qualified data scientists.
On-Campus Data Science Masters Programs New Mexico
As an alternative to the University of New Mexico’s Master’s in Computer Science program, New Mexico State University has developed an on-campus Master’s Degree in Data Analytics. Students will complete 32 credits which consist of Data Mining Techniques, Data and Text Mining, Intro to Statistics, and several other data analytics specific courses.
To apply, you’ll need to have completed an undergraduate degree (no specific degree is mentioned) along with at least 30 credits in management, accounting, information systems, computer science, or computer-related engineering. Additionally, you’ll need to take either the GRE or the GMAT and achieve a minimum scored to be considered eligible for admission.
On-Campus Data Science Graduate Certificates in New Mexico
We could not find any on-campus data science graduate certificates (or related concentrations) offered through New Mexico’s colleges and universities. But, we will definitely update this section as such programs become available.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in New Mexico
Throughout all U.S. colleges and universities, Ph.D. programs are fewer in number when compared to bachelors and masters programs. Given data science’s relative newness as an academic discipline, there are only a handful of data science Ph.D.s available at this time.
But, if New Mexico is your chosen state for work or academics, the University of New Mexico does have a selection of traditional on-campus Ph.D.s: Computer Science, Statistics, and Mathematics are programs that have a direct correlation to data science careers.
Do you need a Ph.D. to become a data scientist? No. Many data scientists enter the field with a masters degree or a bachelors degree along with supplemental education that applies specifically to data science. Ph.D.s are still primarily geared towards a career in academia such as a professorship.
There is a gap between academia and other industries with regard to the intended outcomes of Ph.D. research. Ph.D. programs specifically focus on advancing a discipline’s theoretical constructs. Even though this is achieved through ongoing research, the goal of non-academic industries is reaping a profit (unless you’re working for a non-profit as a data scientist). Therefore, the perspectives on knowledge value are different.
An industry data scientist is expected to add value through decreasing costs, increasing market share, and boosting a company’s ROI. An academic data scientist provides value by devising new theories and testing existing theories which may or may not be applicable within an industry context.
Consequently, earning a Ph.D. isn’t an assurance of obtaining a data science job. Certainly, the big tech industry players may readily take notice of your Ph.D. But, a bachelors degree or masters degree combined with an extensive data science projects portfolio is likely to garner an equal amount of interest (if not more) from employers.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in New Mexico
Online degree programs at all levels are definitively more commonplace now than they were a decade ago. Online data science degrees are continuing to surface as the hype surrounding “the sexiest job of the 21st century” persists.
The lack of data science-specific academics in New Mexico is also evident in their online degree program availability: there are no online data science degrees currently offered. But, there is a selection of possible alternatives that will lay the foundation for a data science career.
For instance, New Mexico State University currently as an online Bachelor’s Degree in Information and Computer Technology. In addition to the general education coursework that’s required of all bachelor’s degree programs, you’ll take courses in Object-oriented Programming and Database Design and Applications. Courses beyond College Algebra are not part of the curriculum, but taking Calculus and Linear Algebra (if offered) is highly recommended if you intend on being a data scientist.
Online Data Science Masters Programs in New Mexico
The online Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering — Internet of Things is the only online graduate degree offered through the University of New Mexico that is closest to data science education. However, you’ll complete courses in Machine Learning, Introduction to Cloud Computing, and Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes which are directly related to data science.
Students who have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or other STEM-related degrees where you’ve successfully completed coursework in the aforementioned disciplines, are the preferred applicants.
Online Data Science Graduate Certificates in New Mexico
New Mexico State University leads the way with their number of data science-ish online programs. Their Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering will lead you through 12 credits of Large Scale Systems Engineering, Characterizing Time-Dependent Engineering Data, Systems Synthesis and Design, and Advanced Quality Control.
As a data scientist, you’ll be working with massive data sets that require a specific system for data storage, building data pipelines, and launching algorithms into large scale production. Consequently, the knowledge gained through systems engineering can be directly applied to your data science work.
Online Data Science Ph.D. Programs New Mexico
Online Ph.D. programs are still in an emerging process. You’ll find a far greater selection of data science-related Ph.D.s through on-campus programs. Indeed, there are more online Ph.D. choices outside of New Mexico. The only online Ph.D. offered via New Mexico universities, that’s even remotely related to data science is with the University of New Mexico’s online Ph.D. in Nursing.
Throughout many Ph.D. degree programs, you can take supplemental coursework — if offered — through other departments. So, if you’re interested in merging the Nursing curriculum with additional courses in machine learning or other data science coursework, you’ll need to collaborate with your advisor. As of now, there are only a few courses within the online Ph.D. in Nursing that have a straightforward application to data science: Mixed Methods Research, Advanced Qualitative Methods, Advanced Health Care Statistics I, and Advanced Health Care Statistics II.