Data Science Degree Programs in Pennsylvania
If you’re seeking an Ivy League education, and don’t mind paying slightly more for your cost of living expenses, then the “Keystone State” may prove to be the right fit. Pennsylvania’s major industries include natural gas, manufacturing, and agribusiness. Wal-mart, PNC Bank, Target, and UPS rank in the top 50 of Pennsylvania’s largest employers.
However, the presence of well-known corporations and Ivy League universities doesn’t consistently equate with an abundance of jobs for data scientists. Are there opportunities for data scientists in the “Keystone State”? In short, based on our research, the answer is yes.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in Pennsylvania
Compared to many other states in our 50 States blog series, Pennsylvania’s occupational employment of Computer and Information Research Scientists is on the high end: 410. This is promising news.
Although overall tech sector growth isn’t stellar, the “Keystone State” ranks 12th in tech innovation (out of all 50 states). Every industry uses tech and analytics, but a strong tech sector is usually an indication of the need for data scientists. At this time, the number of data scientist jobs advertised is just over 100 (regardless of whether you use Indeed or Google for your search). Over time, this number may increase. But, there are some factors to consider that impact the interpretation of “number of current data science jobs available in Pennsylvania.”
Highly qualified data scientists aren’t as numerous as you may believe. So, even if there a tsunami of applicants descends upon those 100-plus job postings, only a small fraction are going to possess the data science core competencies. Also keep in mind that all too many employers aren’t quite clear on the difference between a data analyst and data scientist. You’ll find that the job posting has “data scientist” in the title, but the description is actually for a “data analyst” (and vice versa).
True data science jobs aren’t easy to fill, and data scientists are more costly in terms of salary and benefits. Furthermore, the state itself may not be ideal for high-quality data scientists. As such, we view Pennsylvania as a favorable state for data scientists at the present time.
You won’t pay much more than the U.S. average to live in Pennsylvania. Of course, if you need to live in one of the major cities, then the average cost of living will likely be much higher. Housing, in particular, is significantly lower. Given that the average Pennsylvanian data scientist’s salary is roughly $120,000, which is right around the national average, it’s likely that you can leverage a comfortable living in the “Keystone State.”
There are a limited number of data science degree programs available throughout the state. You don’t need a degree in data science to embark on a data science career path. Thus, your academic options for data science are, in reality, broader while still being able to fulfill the data science core competencies.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Pennsylvania
Penn State’s College of Engineering offers a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Data Science at their University Park location. It exists as part of their Intercollege Undergraduate program, and students have three concentration options: Applied Data Sciences, Computational Data Sciences, Statistical Modeling Data Sciences. The program is unique in it’s approach to disaggregating data science into further disciplines, each deserving their own topics of study.
Their entrance criteria includes enrollment into one of the following:
- College of Information Sciences and Technology,
- College of Engineering,
- Eberly College of Science; or
- Division of Undergraduate Studies
You’ll also need to complete coursework in Calculus I and II, along with an intermediate Python course, Elementary Stats, and Organization of Data. This is a program that will ensure data science core competency and readily prepare you for your data science career.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in Pennsylvania
There are several data science or data science-oriented on-campus graduate programs at Pennsylvania universities. Where there is a lack in specific data science degrees, there is also a compensatory factor: Carnegie Mellon University is a highly ranked academic institution that offers a Master’s Degree in Computational Data Science and a Ph.D. in Machine Learning, both essential tools for data science.
On-Campus Data Science Masters Programs in Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon’s on-campus Master’s Degree in Computational Data Science is extensive. A 144 unit program that requires a capstone project and an internship, CMU’s master’s curriculum will equip you with data science expertise, not just basic analytics skills.
You’ll thoroughly cover the hard skill competencies through four core courses and a selection of courses from Systems, Analytics, Machine Learning/Statistics, Software Systems, Big Data, and Human-Centered Data Science. Admission requirements are relatively straightforward: 3.0 GPA, GRE Scores, TOEFL scores for non-Native English speakers, Statement of Purpose, your most recent resume, and three letters of recommendation.
On-Campus Data Science Graduate Certificates in Pennsylvania
On-campus graduate certificates in data science, specifically, are difficult to find if you want to attend a Pennsylvania university. But, Penn State University’s on-campus Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics does meet the essential data science skills despite not having an official “data science” title.
The 15 credit program consists of courses in Data Mining, Data Visualization for Analytics, Statistics, and Enterprise Analytics Strategies. Also offered are data science electives such as Analytics Programming in Python, Deep Learning, and Foundations of Predictive Analytics. Applicants who have earned an undergraduate degree in either business or STEM are the ideal candidates; but if you have a degree in another field and additional coursework in computer science, math, and stats, you can still apply for the program.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Pennsylvania
Machine learning is commonly viewed as a subset of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It’s also a cornerstone of data science. Carnegie Mellon’s on-campus Ph.D. in Machine Learning provides financial support for every full-time student in the program for a maximum of five years. All machine learning students complete core courses in Machine Learning (Intro or Advanced), Probability and Mathematical Statistics, and Advanced Machine Learning: Theory and Methods.
Although their Machine Learning Department doesn’t list specific undergraduate degrees that are required for admission consideration, you’ll need “a high level of comfort” with advanced math and computer programming knowledge that is equivalent to an undergraduate degree in computer science. Expect to commit between four to five years of full-time study.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in Pennsylvania
As of 2019, data scientists aren’t expected to be software engineers. Knowing how to “data science” in a particular programming language (Python or R are still the current go-to languages) is a minimum basic data science skill set. But, software engineering degrees can be a path leading to a career in data science.
For example, Penn State’s World Campus has an online Bachelor’s of Science in Software Engineering. Their undergraduate program includes the foundation for data science core competencies: Data Structures and Algorithms, Intermediate Programming, Calculus I and II, and technical electives such as Applied Machine Learning in Data Science. The other benefit of completing a bachelor’s degree in software engineering is career fluidity. Should you conclude, at some point, that data science isn’t for you, then you’ll have other career options, e.g., a developer, penetration tester, systems analyst, etc.
Online Data Science Masters Programs in Pennsylvania
Penn State’s World Campus is the predominant institution for online education in the “Keystone State”. While Penn State does not have an online Master’s Degree in Data Science, they have launched a 30 credit online Master of Professional Studies in Data Analytics and is the online version of the previously described on-campus graduate certificate.
Data science courses include Applied Statistics, Data Mining, and Foundations of Predictive Analytics. You can choose electives in Data Visualization, Analytics Programming in Python, and Data Collection and Cleaning; all are crucial components to becoming a well rounded and high-quality data scientist. Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in STEM or business, but those who have completed advanced quantitative coursework are also eligible for admission regardless of the degree.
Online Data Science Graduate Certificates in Pennsylvania
The only online data science graduate certificate that we could locate is the SAS Data Science Graduate Certificate offered through the California University of Pennsylvania. SAS is an analytics software program that’s used in government, healthcare, and a few additional industries.
But, you’ll learn the basics of data science: Data Preparation and Cleaning, Data Visualization, Big Data Tools, and Big Data Analytics. The only variation is the tool you’ll use; instead of Python or R, all of the processes will be conducted via SAS. Although SAS usage isn’t as popular, completing this degree will place you at a competitive advantage for data science jobs that require it as the analytical tool of choice.
Admission to the program requires the completion of a bachelor’s degree and a 2.8 GPA (or higher). Any undergraduate major is acceptable to be considered for admission.
Online Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Pennsylvania
As of the 2019 – 2021 academic year, we could not find online data science Ph.D. programs within Pennsylvania. Also absent were online Ph.D.s in any of the primary data science core competencies: math, stats, computer science, or any other STEM discipline. When new information becomes available, we will update this page.