Data Science Degree Programs in West Virginia
West Virginia isn’t usually the first U.S. state that people think in relation to data science. But, we’ve found a few surprising facts about data science job availability in the “Mountain State.” There is, however, a flip side: West Virginia universities haven’t quite caught on in terms of data science education. Although we found a few academic programs that either directly or indirectly related to data science, West Virginia universities tend to focus more on health care sciences rather than data science.
Career Outlook for Data Scientists in West Virginia
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are a mere 90 West Virginians employed as data scientists per their May 2021 occupational survey. However, there are about 11,100 computer and mathematical professionals employed in the state, some of whom are data scientists working under other titles.
Data scientists in West Virginia have a mean annual wage of $64,360 per BLS statistics. However, more specific data science positions like information security analyst ($91,160) and database architect ($95,060) have higher mean salaries.
In part due to the number of federal agency offices located in the state, the information technology sector contributes $2.5 billion to West Virginia’s GDP according to the West Virginia Department of Economic Development.
Along with that, the Department lists automotive component manufacturing, aerospace, and defense technologies as important to the state — all industries where data scientists could be needed to create, improve, and export vast quantities of fragile materials to locations all over the country.
What’s more, your six-figure data science salary will go much further in West Virginia as the overall cost of living is a little under 17% less than the U.S. average. The median home cost is less than half of what you’d pay in many other areas of the U.S. This is great news for data scientists who want a low cost of living along with ample career opportunities.
On-Campus Undergraduate Data Science Programs in West Virginia
Located in Salem, West Virginia, Salem University offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science — Data Science which is available either via on-campus or online. Once you’ve completed the core general education requirements for the degree, you’ll move on to coursework in Data Mining and Data Warehousing, Security Data Sciences, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Advanced Database development using SQL. While not as data science comprehensive as other data science bachelor’s degrees (ideally, data science courses should also include Probability and Statistics along with Machine Learning), Salem University’s degree program is a solid start on your data science career path. You can shore up any data science knowledge gaps through MOOCs or by completing graduate coursework in data science (whether a full master’s program or a graduate certificate).
On-Campus Graduate Data Science Programs in West Virginia
While West Virginia University’s on-campus Master of Science in Biostatistics isn’t a data science degree per se, the data science core competencies are present but filtered through a specific scientific discipline. You’ll complete a total of 36 graduate-level credit hours which include Categorical Data Analysis, Statistics in Clinical Trials, Data Management and Reporting, Applied Multivariate Analysis, and Advanced Statistical Analysis System Programming. To apply, you’ll need to have coursework or other verifiable experience in Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, and proficiency in a programming language (Python is the most prevalent programming language for data science at this time). You’ll definitely need to take the GRE and, if English is your second language, will also need to submit either TOEFL or IELTS scores.
On-Campus Data Science Masters Programs in West Virginia
If a Master’s Degree in Biostatistics doesn’t precisely match your career interests, but your objective is to become a data scientist in the health care industry, then Marshall University’s Master’s in Health Informatics may be a better fit. Their on-campus program, located in Huntington West Virginia, will provide a few data science-oriented courses through a health informatics framework: Database Management, Management of Health Care Technology and Information Systems, and Health Care Communications Technology and Telematics. Additional data science education can be easily acquired through either formal or informal means; there are plenty of other online data science options offered through universities across the U.S. Should you decide to complete the health informatics degree and supplement your data science knowledge, be sure to take courses in probability and statistics, machine learning, and become proficient in the big three computer languages: R, Python, and SQL.
On-Campus Data Science Graduate Certificates in West Virginia
Data science is a widely applicable field of study. You can achieve data science core competencies through completing other STEM degree or certification types. Marshall University’s Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Science is a 12 credit program that will provide you with data science knowledge. After finishing the only required course, Principles of GIS, we recommend taking the following courses: Digital Image Processing and GIS Modeling, GIS Database Programming, Spatial Statistics and GIS, and GIS/RS Research Method in NRRM.
On-Campus Data Science Ph.D. Programs in West Virginia
Computer science is a major component of the data science core competencies. So, if you’re ready to take on the monumental challenge of a Ph.D., and you have a STEM undergraduate or master’s degree, then West Virginia University’s Ph.D. in Computer Science is likely your best bet. They offer several courses that are directly applicable to data science: Advanced Real-Time Systems, Advanced Data Mining, Pattern Recognition, Formal Specification of Language, Advanced Analysis of Algorithms, and Computational Complexity. Another upside of earning a Ph.D. in Computer Science is that you’ll be prepared for a multitude of career paths, not just data science.
Online Data Science Degree Programs in West Virginia
Although we could not find a data science-specific undergraduate program offered online, West Virginia University does have a fully online Bachelor of Science in Health Science. There is a catch: further data science coursework is still needed as their program doesn’t completely cover the data science core competencies. For example, only one statistics course is required. However, you can gain data science knowledge by practicing with datasets that are relevant to health science. For example, during your Epidemiology in Health course, you can gather and analyze epidemiological data by using Python or R. Focus on learning how to derive descriptive, inferential, and predictive statistics with an increasing number of variables. Certainly, we suggest completing increasingly higher levels of statistics and probability along with continuing to sharpen your programming language expertise.
Online Data Science Masters Programs in West Virginia
Business data analytics is a viable alternative to earning a data science degree, and West Virginia University has created an online Master’s in Business Data Analytics that will help bootstrap your data science career. All of the required coursework relates to data science, but with a focus on the business aspect: Business Statistical Methods I and II, Data Management, Business Data Mining, Decision Sciences and Analytics, Ethics and Data Collection, and Business Data Visualization. Online Data Science Graduate Certificates in West Virginia Online programs in West Virginia are few and far between. We could not find any online graduate certificates for data science, nor were there clearly defined online programs for data-science related studies.
Online Data Science Ph.D. Programs in West Virginia
At this time, there are no online offerings for any Ph.D. programs through West Virginia 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.