Data Science Degree Programs in North Dakota
Agriculture and oil and gas mining are the major industries in North Dakota. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that data scientists are in demand within the “Peace Garden State.” Since local industries tend to heavily influence on-campus academic curriculums, and data science is slowly proliferating to industries outside of the tech sector, North Dakota may not be the best option for data scientists who are job hunting. Conversely, the University of North Dakota does offer both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Data Science, either online or on-campus (more on this below). So, whether you’re living in North Dakota, or elsewhere, you have the opportunity to earn a degree in data science.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in North Dakota
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are only about 30 data scientists employed in North Dakota as of their 2021 employment survey. However, there are 6,780 computer and mathematical professionals employed in the state. This category includes database architects, software developers, and other roles data scientists typically fill.
The BLS-reported mean annual salary for data scientists in North Dakota is $94,230. While this is lower than the national mean of $100,910, it’s higher than the mean salaries listed for other states in the region including South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, and Iowa. It’s also considerable higher than the mean annual wage for the state’s entire workforce which the BLS lists as $53,380.
However, the North Dakota Department of Commerce seems to indicate that the state is moving in a more tech-friendly direction. As of 2018, North Dakota has invested $1 billion in broadband infrastructure. Likewise, the Department says the burgeoning tech sector contributes $3 billion annually to the state’s GDP. They highlight the IT development, military tech, energy, advanced manufacturing, and precision agriculture sectors as main areas of development. Data scientists in the state may want to investigate these industries, as well.
The cost of living is almost exactly the same as the overall average for the entire U.S. (99.6 vs. 100). The oil and gas extraction industry is helping to keep the unemployment levels exceedingly low. However, the tradeoff is that, at this time, there aren’t many data science jobs available. Even if you do land a data science job in North Dakota, you can expect to pay 15% more for housing, with lower costs in health services and utilities offsetting the housing expense differential.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in North Dakota
The University of North Dakota offers an on-campus Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science which includes courses in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, and Concurrent and Distributed Programming. In addition to the aforementioned courses, you’ll find all of the data science core competencies needed for a complete data science curriculum. For in-state residents, the total cost for tuition and fees is $10,524. Minnesota residents can expect to pay $11,604, and for all other students who are not North Dakota or Minnesota residents (except international students), tuition and fees will total $15,023. You’ll need to factor in your cost of living overhead (room and board) along with transportation and textbooks. But, in general, the University of North Dakota’s data science program is reasonably priced and comprehensive.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in North Dakota
Degrees that are directly relevant to data science include computer science, statistics, business analytics (usually paired with an MBA), information systems, or any STEM degree with additional coursework in big data systems, advanced analytics, and R or Python programming (some offer Java, but it’s not widely used in data science at the moment). Thus, you’re not beholden to earning a specific data science degree to be considered as a viable job candidate. There is more than one path into data science as long as you pick up the core competencies along the way. Furthermore, the definition of what data scientists “do” will certainly shift as more data science tools become automated.
On-Campus Data Science Masters Programs in North Dakota
When you’re ready to earn a Master’s Degree in Data Science, the University of North Dakota also offers an on-campus, 30-unit program that covers Advanced Database Systems, Data Engineering and Management, and High-Performance Computing. Your electives may include Machine Learning, Advanced Univariate Statistics, or any of the additional courses contained within their separate clusters: Business Analytics, Educational Foundations and Research, and Behavioral Data Analytics. Their preference is for students who’ve earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.
On-Campus Data Science Graduate Certificates in North Dakota
Business analytics and data analytics are parallel tracks for data science. The tools don’t differ to a great degree, but the depth of analysis tends to be the main differential. For example, North Dakota State University’s Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics is an 8 credit program focussing on descriptive analytics. Business analysts tend to work with SQL, Excel, PowerBI, Tableau and may dabble in Python or R. For those who are just starting out in data science, and who don’t have the hardcore STEM background frequently required for data science roles, a graduate certificate in business analytics will help you gain a solid familiarity with commonly used business analytics tools.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in North Dakota
There are currently no Ph.D. programs in data science available in North Dakota. However, there are alternatives such as the University of North Dakota’s Ph.D. in Scientific Computing. There are seven different tracks (or clusters) from which to choose: Software Engineering, Data Management, Artificial Intelligence, Distributed Systems, High-Performance Computing, Graphics and Visualization, and Modelling and Simulation. Anyone of those clusters has direct applicability to a data science role. Alternatively, you can choose an application cluster such as Computational Math or Computational Physics (among others). Either way, entrance requirements are rigorous, but there are different avenues for meeting the prerequisites.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in North Dakota
The University of North Dakota is the predominate institution when it comes to offering data science degrees online. Their on-campus Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science (described in the section above) is also available online and provides the same coursework. The only difference between the online and on-campus degree is the method of delivery. All of the degree requirements remain equal between the two. Online bachelor’s degrees in data science are usually the same time commitment when compared to their on-campus versions: four to five years and roughly 120 credits. But, in terms of convenience, online degrees at any level have a tendency to free up more time for study since you’re not having to drive down to campus and sit in a classroom.
Online Data Science Masters Programs in North Dakota
If you prefer to earn an online master’s degree specifically in Data Science, and from a North Dakota academic institution, then you’ll need to turn (once again) to the University of North Dakota. Just like their Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science, their Master’s Degree in Data Science is offered in either on-campus or online formats. In just two years, you can earn a graduate degree that covers data science core competencies at a greater depth. Should you already have a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science, and want to focus your expertise on a particular facet of data science, the University of North Dakota has online Master’s Degrees in Computer Science and Cyber Security. Either of these can be completed in as little as two years, and are 100% online.
Online Data Science Graduate Certificates in North Dakota
Although there are plenty of online options for both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, there are fewer choices for online data science-oriented graduate certificates. Our search yielded zero data science graduate certificates for the online format. But, Minot State University has put together an online Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security Management, another data science parallel as applied to anomaly detection and attack vector reinforcement. Although the emphasis here is on management, you’ll earn valuable knowledge in Information Assurance and Security, Managing and Integration Information System Functions, and Business Network Systems Management. Data scientists aren’t a one size fits all job function. Yes, you’ll be expected to use advanced statistical methods for predictive and inferential purposes, along with building machine learning (and eventually AI) models. But, these activities will need to align with the internal business logic, business objectives, along with having a solid business use case for their design and deployment. These business side requirements are frequently overlooked and can be the source of major disappointment for the research-oriented academic data scientist. So, as the data science job description evolves, it will likely be disaggregated into back-end vs. front end roles. To be forthright, this is essentially the reality of data science jobs right now; most employers are still figuring out the value that data scientists can bring to their business. As such, business education — whether through the lens of cyber security management or another area of management — is an important piece of the core competency puzzle.
Online Data Science Ph.D. Programs in North Dakota
Although the University of North Dakota is forward thinking in their implementation of data science degrees at the master’s and bachelor’s level, this has yet to reach online Ph.D. degrees in data science. Ph.D.s in data science are slowly popping up in institutions throughout the U.S. So, if you’re absolutely determined to earn a data science Ph.D., you’ll need to move past North Dakota for the time being. Even fewer are online data science Ph.D. degrees. With regard to parallel Ph.D. programs, where data science skills are applied to (or gained through) a particular discipline such as biology or chemistry, the University of North Dakota has several online Ph.D.s to choose from including Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Energy Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and Petroleum Engineering.
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.