Data Science Degree Programs in Oregon
The fact that Oregon has what’s known as the “Silicon Forest” should be a dead give away as to one of its major industries. Although tech manufacturing growth has slowed in recent years, the Engineering, Research and Development, and Testing Services tech sub-sectors have expanded by 4.6%.
Additionally, major corporations such as Nike, Oregon Pacific, Lithia Motors, and Fred Meyer are headquartered in the “Beaver State”, all of which have copious amounts of data and will need to deploy advanced analytics to remain competitive in their industries. While the academic options for data science in Oregon are narrow, Oregon universities do offer several types of analytics degrees for both on-campus and online students (more on this below).
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in Oregon
The “Beaver State” ranks 10th in the percentage of the state’s workforce employed in tech according to professional technology certification organization CompTIA. Business Oregon, a division of the Business Oregon Commission, says more than 5,300 IT and software companies are based in the state including huge employers like Intel and HP. The Commission says semiconductor exports brought in $12.4 billion in 2019 alone.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) says 1,280 data scientists are employed in the state while computer and mathematical professionals account for 59,310 people in the Oregon workforce.
Per BLS data, the national median salary for data scientists is $100,910 annually. However, data scientists in Oregon have a mean annual wage of $111,240. In the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro area, the mean salary rises to $118,250.
Other mean salaries for data science professionals in Oregon include:
- Computer and information research scientists: $166,450
- Database architects: $119,070
- Software developers: $115,160
- Information security analysts: $110,740
Overall, Oregonians pay 24% more than the U.S. average for their cost of living expenses, with housing being an astronomical 77% more. Thus, a large percentage of that six-figure salary will likely be funneled to rent or a mortgage. Students who have decided to move to the “Beaver State” should also keep the cost of living in mind as it has a direct, and often more drastic, impact on their finances.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Oregon
Given the natural beauty, and abundant resources, that permeate the Oregon landscape, the “Beaver State” is a haven for the biological sciences. Biology and massive datasets run hand in hand; as do scientific research and prediction/inferencing using advanced statistics.
Do you need a degree in data science to be a data scientist? No. Most, if not all, STEM degrees consume, study, and perform analytics on colossal data sets. Albeit, the first word in data science is “data”, and people tend to gloss over the “science” emphasis. As a general rule, you’re applying the scientific method to data. That’s a data scientist in a nutshell, and remains true regardless of your area of focus (e.g., biology, chemistry, geoscience, etc.).
With regard to on-campus Bachelor’s Degrees in Data Science, the University of Oregon has a Data Science “program”; it’s not clearly an academic program as much as it is promoting cross-collaboration with other departments for data science research purposes. They do, however, have an on-campus Bachelor’s Degree in Spatial Data Science and Technology. Essentially, you’ll be studying a combination of Geography and Computer Science.
The two important factors in determining whether a data science program is the right fit are a. the program should fulfill the data science core competencies (i.e. Calculus, Linear Algebra, Statistics, and at least one programming language); and b. your long and short term career and life goals. Once you have the core competencies established, you can build on that foundation and transfer your data science skill set to other industries.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in Oregon
Data analytics and business analytics degrees are more widespread when compared to data science programs. Employers and academic institutions continue to navigate defining the difference between data analysts (more so than business analysts) and data scientists. Many blogs have been written regarding the differentiation between the two. But, industries outside of the tech sector haven’t been as quick to jump on the data science bandwagon.
Thus, the on-campus graduate Data Science Programs in Oregon are analytics or business analytics degrees. Despite the gatekeeping that tends to occur in data science, majoring in business analytics at the graduate level is a path into a data science career. But, for those interested in the medical and health sectors, there are on-campus options that fit the data science career path.
On-Campus Data Science Masters Programs in Oregon
Statistics is one of the cornerstones of data science and machine learning. When there are no data science degree programs available at your chosen institution, a master’s degree in statistics is a viable option.
Portland State’s School of Public Health offers an on-campus Master’s Degree in Biostatistics that will readily prepare you for deep statistical analysis of extremely large data sets. Linear Models, Categorical Data Sets, Statistical Methods in Clinical Trials, and two courses in Mathematical Statistics are directly applicable to data science. Remember, the main emphasis of data science is “science.” Applying scientific (quantitative) research isn’t the same as calculating descriptive statistics and calling it a day.
As such, a Master’s Degree in Biostatistics is an avenue that leads straight into data science.
On-Campus Data Science Graduate Certificates in Oregon
Portland State University’s on-campus Graduate Certificate in Business Intelligence and Analytics is a perfect example of a curriculum that blends business knowledge with data science skill. Data scientists who work in major industries will inevitably need to have or refine their business acumen. You’ll be dealing with business infrastructure and the stakeholders who manage and lead the enterprise.
Coursework in Operations Research Management Science, Decision Support Systems: Data Warehousing, and Data Mining with Information Theory will equip you to apply data science to business side logic, and then communicate your findings to business stakeholders.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Oregon
Many, if not all, Oregon universities are likely to offer Ph.D. degrees in a data science core competency: statistics, computer science, or mathematics. None currently have an on-campus Ph.D. Degree in Data Science.
One alternative, if you’re interested in the health and medical sector (which is expected to continually expand into personalized medicine, representing a huge opportunity for data scientists), then Oregon Health and Sciences University’s Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biomedicine will give you the expertise in cutting edge medical research within a clinical context.
This is an extensive 135 unit program, so be prepared for an extensive time commitment. But, it thoroughly covers the math, statistics, and research pieces of the data science core competence puzzle.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in Oregon
The trend in academia is to implement analytics degrees rather than data science degrees, and Oregon is following universities are following suit. As of the 2019 – 2021 academic year, there are no online data science degree programs in Oregon; all are analytics degrees and certificates, or you’ll choose from one of the data science core competencies as your major.
For online Bachelor’s Degrees in Oregon, the selection is limited. For example, Oregon State University offers an online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. Few other Oregon-based universities offer online bachelor programs, and Oregan State is the only institution that has an option for a data science core competency.
The benefit of attaining a computer science degree is that you can focus on data science-oriented coursework such as data structures and database systems. If possible, supplement the required courses with electives in statistics and business analytics. Why business analytics? Because you’ll likely be communicating with management and enterprise leadership. Business analytics will give you additional tools for effectively presenting your work to these stakeholders.
Online Data Science Masters Programs in Oregon
Oregon State University offers an online Master’s Degree in Analytics. Throughout the 45 credits required for completion, you’ll take graduate-level coursework in Statistical Methods, Multivariate Analytics, Time-Series Analytics, and Data Science Tools and Programming. By the time you graduate, you’ll have achieved a substantial portion of the data science core competencies.
Although they don’t require applicants to have a specific STEM degree, they do have a statistics prerequisite which includes completing an undergraduate statistics course, and having “an understanding of study design, probability distributions, and the fundamentals of confidence intervals and hypothesis tests.”
Online Data Science Graduate Certificates in Oregon
If you’re not quite ready to start a master’s degree program, then a graduate certificate will give you a taste of graduate work in data science. The previously described Master’s Degree in Analytics at Oregon State University also offers an online Graduate Certificate in Analytics.
The graduate certificate is a condensed version of their master’s degree. You’ll complete 18 credits instead of 45, and your core courses will consist of Foundations of Data Analytics, Data Analytics, Data Analytics II, Multivariate Analytics, and Time Series Analytics. Prerequisites for program admission are the same: undergraduate stats and statistical research design and implementation.
Online Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Oregon
There are no online Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Oregon at the present time. Furthermore, online Ph.D. programs in data science-oriented disciplines (STEM) are non-existent. However, we will update this page as additional data science (or related) degree programs in Oregon come to our attention.
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.