Data Science Degree Programs in Rhode Island
The smallest state in the U.S., a mere 1,545 square miles, Rhode Island’s major industries include finance, insurance, and real estate. Data science is helping these industries through machine learning and AI: robo advisors, personalized insurance metrics (e.g., for health care, data can be gathered through a mobile app that aggregates health data: exercising, food intake, etc.).
But, the presence of major industries doesn’t always equate to an abundance of data science jobs. Neither does it mean that the local universities offer data science degrees (we’ll explore this in more detail below).
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in Rhode Island
For now, data science is a tech-oriented job, the higher presence of a tech sector generally means that there are more data science or advanced analytics job opportunities. As of 2018, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that 410 Rhode Island employees are classified as Computer and Information Research Scientists. Furthermore, 6.8% of the Rhode Island workforce are employed in tech.
Additionally, IT Services and Custom Software Services, Engineering, R&D and Testing Services are showing signs of decent growth, 3.5% YoY and 4.5% YoY growth, respectively. Thus, there is plenty of room for expansion when it comes to the sectors where data science is in high demand.
As more industries increase their sector-related technologies, and the push to become more competitive by implementing AI and machine learning (two domains within data science), then there is a higher likelihood for a boost in data science demand.
Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national average and recent job growth is low: 1.46%. Meanwhile, the overall cost of living in Rhode Island is 19% higher than the U.S. average, and you can expect to pay 43% more for housing when compared to the rest of the U.S, (e.g., the median home cost is $269,300).
For those who are already employed as data scientists, the average Rhode Island data scientist salary is $117,000; just slightly less than the national average of roughly $120,000 annually. Given the higher COL expenses, a data scientists salary is likely to be readily consumed by housing, including utilities.
It follows that the job outlook for data scientists in Rhode Island is medium: there are less than 100 public job postings for data scientists in Rhode Island as of August 2019. While this number frequently fluctuates, it gives a quantitative baseline in support of the “room for growth” in terms of available data science jobs within the “Ocean State.”
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Rhode Island
Overall, data science degree programs in Rhode Island are extremely limited, whether on-campus or online. We’ve found a few options along with degree alternatives that meet one or more of the data science core competencies.
For example, the University of Rhode Island offers either a B.A. or a B.S. in Data Science. This program is on-campus and offers coursework in Programming for Data Science, Intro to Predictive Analytics, Big Data Analysis, and Machine Learning (among other fundamental data science knowledge and skill requirements). Per their undergraduate admission website, admission consideration is competitive:
- A minimum GPA of 3.5;
- Average SAT combined score between 1190 and 1600 or an average ACT composite score of 25; and
- The completion of college prep classes during high school.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in Rhode Island
Graduate-level on-campus Data science programs are sparse in Rhode Island. We could only locate one (discussed below). But, you can major in statistics, math, computer science, data analytics, business analytics, or another STEM degree and supplement your academics with learning the primary data science tools as applied to massive datasets.
On-Campus Data Science Masters Programs in Rhode Island
Brown University offers a 12-month Master’s Program in Data Science. This on-campus degree includes coursework in Hands-on Data Science, Data Engineering, Statistical Learning, and Probability, Statistics, and Machine Learning; all are essential foundations for launching a career in data science.
To be considered eligible for admission, you’re going to need to have completed — at a minimum — one year of Calculus, Linear Algebra, an introduction to programming course, and calculus level probability and statistics coursework. If you don’t have these requirements, you’ll need to complete them prior to beginning the program. They do not require GRE scores, but it doesn’t hurt to provide admissions with additional data points that provide evidence for your likely success in the program.
On-Campus Data Science Graduate Certificates in Rhode Island
Most graduate certificates within the realm of data science or analytics tend to focus on the tools used to carry out analytics processes. This is sensible considering that certificates are usually short programs consisting of 12, 16, or 18 units total (sometimes more or less depending on the university).
There are no data science graduate degree certificates available via Rhode Island universities at the present time.
However, Bryant University does have a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics program which covers Analytics Methods and Application, Data Mining and Predictive Analytics, and also Visualization and Large-Scale Data Analysis. You’ll be utilizing SAS software throughout the certification. While SAS isn’t widely used in the tech industry (R, Python, and SQL are your go-to languages), the health care, banking, and automotive sectors do use SAS for their advanced analytics.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Rhode Island
While we did not find any on-campus Ph.D. programs in Data Science within the “Ocean State”, the University of Rhode Island has several topical alternatives included Biological and Environmental Sciences, Computer Science, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences.
We cannot overemphasize the fact that you do not need a degree in data science to be a data scientist. Degrees in any of the above disciplines can be applied to data science since they all fulfill most, if not all, of the data science core competencies. Really what it comes down to is working with enormous data sets which, in turn, requires solid knowledge of a programming language along with advanced statistics and mathematical acumen. Research and experimental design are also key skills which separate a data analyst from a data scientist.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in Rhode Island
Right now there are no online Bachelor’s Degrees in Data Science available through Rhode Island universities. Notably, online bachelor’s degrees in any discipline are a rare offering in the “Ocean State.”
Johnson & Wales University has an online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science available. This is a viable alternative to earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science. You’ll establish data science core competencies in math and programming, which are crucial cornerstones for your data science career.
Online Data Science Masters Programs in Rhode Island
Although the New England Institute’s online Master’s Degree in Information Technology is slightly off the beaten when it comes to data science competencies, having an advanced understanding (and application) of IT infrastructure provides a wider array of job opportunities within the tech industry.
For example, it may seem as if Advanced Project Management isn’t quite “data science” oriented, but it actually is an important skill to have. You may be working with different departments within an organization, all having different goals and objectives, timelines, and end-user needs. Most data science degree programs only focus on the technical aspects (and rightly so since those are the most challenging skills to acquire). But, you’ll need to know how to handle project cycles, particularly in Agile environments, to meet competing deadlines, conduct a stakeholder analysis, and communicate effectively with SMEs from other knowledge areas.
The other coursework for this degree — Cloud Computing, Data Warehousing and Data Analytics, and Software Infrastructure and Design — does have direct applicability to data science. Therefore, you’ll finish the degree with a well-rounded set of knowledge, skills, and abilities that can be supplemented with MOOCs, industry certifications, or self-study to refine your data science tool kit.
Online Data Science Graduate Certificates in Rhode Island
The only online graduate certificate offered through a Rhode Island university is Rhode Island University’s Cyber Security Graduate Certificate. You’ll complete four courses: Introduction to Network and Systems Security, Intro to Information Assurance, Advanced Topics in Network and System Security, and one “concentration course.”
This would be a great supplemental certificate if you’re interested in becoming a data scientist within cybersecurity (a field where advanced machine learning and AI are in high demand). To enter the program, you should have established knowledge equivalent to a Net+ Certification or have completed a course in Fundamentals for Cyber Security.
Online Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Rhode Island
There are no online Ph.D.s in Data Science offered through Rhode Island universities, and we could not find online Ph.D.s in any adjacent discipline, e.g., computer science, engineering, etc.
Online Ph.D.s aren’t quite as popular as online master’s degree programs, and this is true for any field of study. Much of the reason rests on the fact that Ph.D.s are far more arduous with respect to time, effort, and cost. But, we will update this information should the “Ocean State” universities change their online offerings in the future.