Data Science Degree Programs in North Carolina
Historically, North Carolina has been a hub for the textile and tobacco industries. In recent years, the “Tar Heel State” has experienced growth in the chemical manufacturing sector and is now home to 12 Fortune 500 companies. As of 2018, North Carolina was deemed the number one best state for business by Forbes, and can boast to having the second largest banking center in the U.S.
All of this is great news for experienced data scientists seeking work in North Carolina. But, what about emerging data scientists who are on the hunt for additional formal education to boost their data science core competencies? Fortunately, universities within North Carolina offer several academic options that are either outright data science curriculums or are directly correlational to the essential data science skill set.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in North Carolina
The tech industry still reigns supreme when it comes to data science jobs. While every industry is essentially a “tech company” (e.g., their internal systems and processes require technological solutions, etc.), the tech sector has been quicker on the data science uptake. Such is the reason to take a closer look at tech occupation employment.
According to CompTIA’s 2019 Cyberstates Guide, North Carolina ranks 18th for the percentage of the workforce in the tech sector. Software and web developers represent the largest portion of tech employees, and IT Services and Custom Software Services is the biggest tech sub-sector within the “Tar Heel State.”
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics offers some additional insight into data science employment: a mere 140 employees are classified under the Computer and Information Research Science category, which is the most current sub-classification for data scientists.
For those who are already employed as data scientists in North Carolina, Indeed reports the average data scientist salary is roughly $101,000 per year, almost 20% lower than the estimated national annual average of $120,000. However, averages are problematic due to outliers (such as New York and Los Angeles data science salaries being higher than average) skewing the mean. Also, we should view data science salaries relative to the local cost of living metrics.
Overall, the “Tar Heel State” has a slightly lower cost of living when compared to the rest of the U.S. This certainly depends on a city to city direct comparison, e.g., Raleigh vs. Charlotte, etc. So, the cost of living and the lower average data scientist salary may be inhibiting factors that offset the potential number of data science jobs available within the bevy of industries that are present in North Carolina.
For those who simply want to attend school in North Carolina and seek data science positions in other states that tend to offer higher salaries, there are many opportunities to advance your data science education.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in North Carolina
You can gain data science core competencies without completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science. Most universities throughout the U.S. do not offer an undergraduate degree in data science, and this is also true for North Carolina’s universities. There are, however, other options.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the perfect example of an undergraduate program that provides data science core competencies without the data science title. Their Bachelor’s of Science in Statistics and Analytics is math intensive with additional major courses in data models, intro to data science, probability, and optimization.
Taking additional business courses such as business analytics, operations management, or corporate finance will provide the business side application that is fundamental to being a well-rounded data scientist.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in North Carolina
Master’s degrees and graduate certificates in data science are far more prevalent, both in North Carolina and throughout the U.S. And there are other degree program titles that have a data science emphasis (usually within the context of data analytics) while not explicitly listed as “X degree or certificate in data science.”
On-Campus Data Science Masters Programs North Carolina
Duke University is spot on with its “Data Science is Interdisciplinary” headline. All too frequently, the business and communications aspect of data science is buried beneath the layers of math, statistics, empirical research implementation, and programming skill set requirements.
Duke’s on-campus Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Data Science is a comprehensive two-year program that merges coursework in both hard and soft skills: Data Science Dialogues, Data Logic, Visualization and Storytelling, and Data to Decision are just a few of the courses that offer both data science intensives along with interviewing, visual and verbal communications, networking, and negotiation skills.
The thing to keep in mind is that Duke University is a private institution, which means their tuition tends to be higher than public universities. As a consequence, if you’re cost conscious, then a public university may be a better financial choice.
On-Campus Data Science Graduate Certificates in North Carolina
Graduate certificates in data science will give you a core competency snapshot, and also may help you decide whether a Master’s Degree in Data Science is something you want to pursue.
The University of North Carolina’s on-campus Graduate Certificate in Data Science and Business Analytics would be a great choice for those of you who want to boost their employment opportunities in data analytics.
Entrance requirements include the applicant having already earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree in either STEM or business. After completing the core courses in Big Data Analytics and Business Intelligence, students can choose six additional elective credits (one course per elective section) for a total of 15 graduate credits that can be transferred to their on-campus master’s program.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in North Carolina
Crucial to deciding whether or not to complete a Ph.D. program is understanding the traditional goal of Ph.D. studies: career entry for the world of academia. Many Ph.D. holders find it difficult to transition into private industry. Academia is currently saturated. So, academic jobs are challenging to find in most disciplines.
Data science opened up a path for many Ph.D. graduates. But, it’s not necessary to go through the arduous Ph.D. journey in order to become a data scientist. It’s highly recommended that you carefully consider your research interests and the feasibility of committing many years to an obscure area of academic research.
In terms of on-campus Ph.D. programs in data science, you’ll have to choose a discipline that relates to data science if you plan to study in North Carolina. There are no data science Ph.D. programs available as of the most recent academic year (this may change, and we will update this page if it does).
Alternatively, North Carolina State University offers a Ph.D. in Geospatial Analytics. Within the curriculum, you’ll study Geospatial Data Mining, Data Management, and Data Analysis as your core coursework. After completing the 18 units, you’ll spend the rest of your time (an additional 54 units) narrowing down your specific research area and preparing your dissertation.
The data science core competencies are covered through this Ph.D. program. Thus, if you’re interested in geospatial science, then this may be the right on-campus Ph.D. program for you.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in North Carolina
As of this writing, there are no online data science degree programs offered through North Carolina universities.
Online Data Science Masters Programs in North Carolina
However, there are plenty of online Data Science Masters Programs in North Carolina. One stand out example is the Online MBA with a Specialization in Data Analytics and Decision Making at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
This 62 credit program will provide data science core competencies via 10 areas: Analytical Tools, Business Communication, Business Strategy, Leading and Managing, Strategic Economics, Financial Accounting, Finance, Operations, and Marketing Analysis and Development. An MBA with an emphasis on data analytics is a solid option for students who want more flexibility in terms of career options.
All too often, data science seems like it’s the perfect career choice. But, there’s still a gap between what marketers (and bloggers) promote as data science and how employers are implementing their version of data science. Having in-depth knowledge and experience in advanced analytics (or data science) can be leveraged for careers other than data science (e.g, product management, risk management, etc.).
So, business courses combined with data science hard skills will offer a wider variety of career opportunities, and should the data science craze die down or transition into another job title, you’ll be able to shift more quickly into another business or analytics role.
Online Data Science Graduate Certificates in North Carolina
Duke’s online Certificate in Big Data and Data Science aligns with the data science programming and data visualization skill set. It doesn’t include advanced math and statistics coursework as the core courses focus on Java, SQL, Hadoop, Spark, Python, Tableau, and Machine Learning. The focus here is on the data science tools rather than the ins and outs of the underlying mathematical and statistical concepts.
Given that it’s a short program (12 months) and the cost is just under $3,000, it’s a relatively inexpensive path to better understanding the essential tools for data science. You should have a year of programming experience prior to starting the courses.
Online Data Science Ph.D. Programs North Carolina
At this time, there are no online data science Ph.D. programs in North Carolina.