Data Science Degree Programs in Washington
Washington state’s list of employers span several different industries including tech (Amazon and Microsoft), retail (Costco Wholesale and Starbucks), and Aerospace (Boeing). According to the Washington State Department of Commerce, the information and communication technology sector alone contributes about $103.5 billion to the state’s GDP. What might this mean for the selection of data science degree programs and data science career outlook? We’ll cover this in detail below.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in Washington
There are 2,460 data scientists employed in Washington according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) 2021 survey. In total, 190,160 computer and mathematical professionals work in the state.
Data scientists in Washington have the highest mean annual salary by state in the country according to the BLS: $133,900. In the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area, this increases to $135,900.
By 2030, the Washington Employment Security Department projects that employment in the information sector will increase by about 66,000 jobs compared to data from 2020. Employment in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry (another field data scientists often work in) is expected to increase by about 69,000 jobs in the same period. So in the Evergreen State, the future for data scientists looks very bright.
However, your cost of living will be 31% higher than the U.S. national average. Housing is almost double (you’ll pay 97% more). So, there may be jobs galore, and earning a six-figure salary, on its own, is far more than what the average U.S. employee earns. But, be prepared to pay a higher price for housing.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in Washington
The University of Washington’s eScience Institute offers an undergraduate option in Data Science. There’s a bit of a catch, however: you’ll need to choose an undergraduate major such as Bioengineering, Computer Science, or Statistics (among others) and then complete the “Data Science Option” or track. For example, the Data Science and Statistics undergraduate program will require coursework in Quantitative Intro Statistics for Data Science, Probability, and options to complete Intro to Statistical Machine Learning, Applied Statistics and Experimental Design, and Intro to Artificial Intelligence. By the end of the degree program, you’ll have substantial hard skills that decidedly meet the data science core competencies.
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in Washington
On-Campus Data Science Masters Programs in Washington
For graduate degrees in data science (specifically) the University of Washington is your best bet as the other on-campus options are computer science, information systems, statistics or another STEM-degree. Certainly, you can gain data science skills through other STEM programs as long as you study the data science core competencies:
- Linear Algebra
- Advanced Statistics
- Python/R/SQL (all three)
Experimental design is also an underlying, and fundamental, data science skill (it’s just not as frequently mentioned as the others). Working knowledge of specific systems such as Hadoop, Azure, AWS, etc., can be gained through on the job experience or through self-taught instruction (there are plenty of tutorials and certification courses available via Coursera, edX, Udemy, and so forth).
On-Campus Data Science Graduate Certificates in Washington
Once again the University of Washington is the winner when it comes to data science offerings. Their short, three-course Certificate in Data Science can be completed on campus or online. The essential courses are Data Science: Process & Tools, Methods for Data Analysis, and Machine Learning Techniques. The cost is $4,335 and there are specific admission requirements such as recent experience in Python, Java, R or C#, knowledge of SQL and databases, the completion of a 30 question data science quiz, and experience or coursework in statistics and advanced math.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Washington
So, you’re interested in possibly traversing the extensive path towards a Ph.D. in data science? The University of Washington has just the program for you. More specifically, the university offers several Ph.D.s with a data science option: Astronomy, Chemical Engineering, Genome Sciences, Molecular Engineering, and Psychology (this last selection isn’t one we’ve encountered throughout our Ph.D. in Data Science institutional research, so it’s definitely unique). For example, if you’re a Psychology student who wants the best of both worlds, the University of Washington’s data science option for a Ph.D. in Psychology includes Software Development for Data Scientists, Intro to Machine Learning, and Intro to Database Systems. Not only will you be an expert in the field of psychology, but you’ll be primed to enter the workforce as a data scientist (unless you want to stay in academia).
Online Data Science Degree Programs in Washington
Except for the University of Washington’s online Certificate in Data Science (discussed above), you’ll need to look elsewhere for online data science-oriented degree programs. We could not locate any data science bachelor’s degrees in an online format via Washington state universities. However, Bellevue College offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Healthcare Informatics, a 183-credit program that focuses on healthcare data and information engineering. Courses include Electronic Healthcare Records, Healthcare Analytics and Quality, Data Management, and Healthcare Information Seeking and Evaluation. You will take a college-level statistics course, which is one of the data science core competencies. If you’re interested in healthcare data, this program is a good starting point.
Online Data Science Masters Programs in Washington
A Master of Science in Computer Science is another viable data science path, and the City University of Seattle offers this degree completely online. Total credits will be anywhere between 39 and 59 (if you need to complete prerequisite coursework) and include an array of data science-related courses such as Computer Science I: C++, Intro to Cloud Computing, and Data Exploration and Visualization. There is more than one way to enter data science and a Master’s Degree in Computer Science will provide you with several different career opportunities, not just data science.
Online Data Science Graduate Certificates in Washington
For an online Certificate in Data Science, we highly recommend the University of Washington’s program.
Online Data Science Ph.D. Programs in Washington
We could not find any online Ph.D. programs in data science or in a parallel discipline (i.e., STEM). However, we will update this section as online Ph.D.s in data science become available through Washington universities.
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.