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August 30, 2013

Data Science Back to School

Isaac Lopez

Last year, we ran an article outlining “Six Big Name Schools with Big Data Programs.” It was very popular, and why not? In an economic environment where jobs seem to constantly evaporate, data science holds the promise of abundant, great paying jobs for the foreseeable future.

Current IDC estimates say that the big data market is growing at 31.7 percent a year and will be $23.8 billion by 2016. Hadoop alone is at $77 million, says the research group, and at a compound annual growth rate of 60 percent, the firm predicts Hadoop to be $812.8 million by 2016. That’s a lot of jobs to be had for people with the right skills. Filling jobs will skilled candidates is constantly listed as one of the biggest challenges that companies have when implementing big data projects.

One of the most often questions that we get asked is how to get started. The list that we’re compiling here is not exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start for somebody looking for ideas on how to get on the right path towards a job in big data. Let’s begin!

START – The Original Six >>>The Original Six

As stated previously, we ran an article last year outlining some of the opportunities that are out there. In case you missed them, here are the six we put the spotlight on so you can check them out before you see the additions:

North Carolina State University – A coastal city with a bold big data view – NCSU has been aggressive in their vision with their Institute for Advanced Analytics. Recently, the National Security Agency announced that they would be establishing the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences adjacent to the Institute.

Stanford University – For students looking to advance into a big data career, Stanford offers a Data Mining and Applications Graduate Certificate, giving a broad-based foundation in an area where a lot of big data application exists. A background in probability and matrix algebra is required for entry.

Northwestern University – Northwestern offers an online Master of Science in Predictive analytics, blending concepts in data management, statistical analysis, as well as communication and leadership. On campus, they offer a Master of Science in Analytics.

Syracuse University – The Syracuse iSchool offers an online Certificate of Advanced Study in Data Science for graduates looking to solidify their big data credentials. Required courses include Data Administration Concepts and Database Management, as well as Applied Data Science.

UCSD – Through their certificate in data mining program, UCSD offers students an opportunity to learn problem solving, statistical thinking, and result interpretation, providing a great foundation in the world of big data.

Stevens Institute of Technology – This little known college focused on science and engineering offers a business intelligence and analytics program for graduates.

With the review in mind, let’s take a look at six more schools which are offering programs to help take the next steps into the age of analytics…

NEXT – Windy City Data Science >>>DePaul – Chicago, IL

Part of their College of Computing and Digital Media, DePaul is one of the few schools that offers a Master of Science in Predictive Analytics. Students who enroll at DePaul University in Chicago can expect to develop skills in data mining, multivariate statistics, machine learning, and database processing.

The school offers several flavors of predictive analytics concentrations, including the following:

  • Computational Methods Concentration – For students who want to develop strong technical programming skills useful for big data analytics.
  • Marketing Concentration – This program combines predictive analytics with the marketing discipline, providing skills on extracting information and using it to make better business and marketing decisions.
  • Hospitality Concentration – For budding data scientists with the sense of adventure, this program focuses on the hospitality and tourism industry, extracting the massive amounts of data from these arenas and turning them into predictive models that amount to increased cash flow.

Ongoing research includes areas such as web mining and analytics, probabilistic learning, social computing, graphical modeling, medical imaging and visual computing. Students in this program will be exposed to industry sponsored data analytics projects. Among these projects, it was recently announced that Assistant Professor, Alexander Rasin received an award from IBM for the development of a graduate data mining course based on Apache Hadoop and Mahout.

The DePaul program for predictive analytics can be taken either on campus, or through an online program. In addition to several electives, students are given the option to take classes at DePaul’s Kellstadt School of Business for specific areas of interest.

NEXT – Analytics in the Bayou >>>Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge, LA

If you’re ready to throw everything you have to become an analytics whiz, Louisiana State University has a program for you. The LSU Department of Information Systems and Decision Sciences has developed a 36 credit hour, 12 month program that starts in June, and drives their students full-time until they come out in May as a Master of Science in Analytics.

The program is said to focus on using advanced data management tools, including SAS, SQL, R, SPSS, Tableau, and a variety of other tools aimed at giving them the ability to fully utilize their analytics prowess for the purposes of increasing ROI, improving customer retention, reducing fraud, and improving decision making. The program focuses on all manner of analytics and statistical methods, including cluster analysis, data mining, predictive modeling, and more. Industry application areas include finance & insurance, healthcare, hotels & restaurants, distributors, retailers, manufacturers and consulting.

You can see an example of the LSU analytics curriculum here:

The program is competitive – potential students will have to run a gauntlet of pre-requisites, including GRE or GMAT test scores that fall in the top 25%.  The next application deadline is March 31, 2014.

NEXT – Predictive Analytics in Pittsburgh >>>Carnegie Mellon – Pittsburgh, PA

Located in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College offers a Master of Information Systems Management degree with a Business Intelligence and Data Analytics concentration. The goal of the program, says the college, is to cross train their students in business process analysis as well as skills in predictive modeling, GIS mapping, analytical reporting, segmentation analysis, and data visualization.

Students will gain an abundance of hands on experience through the iLab facilities, an inter-disciplinary research center that blends faculty and students from the Heinz College, the Department of Statistics, Department of Machine Learning, the School of Computer Science, and the Tepper School of business.

Other notable hands on opportunities at Carnegie Mellon include labs such as the Living Analytics Research Center, a joint research initiative with the Singapore Management University aimed at researching behavioral and social network analytics.

The program includes three separate tracks:

  • A one year, May to May program for applicants with over three years of professional work experience aimed at “fast tracking” their students to jobs in “corporate America.”
  • A 16-month track for students without professional experience that starts in August and finishes the following December and requires a summer internship.
  • A 21-month track aimed at giving their students an international perspective, requiring a global summer internship.

NEXT –Logarithms in the Longhorn State >>>Texas A&M – College Station, TX

Responding to the growing demand for working professionals with big data skills, Texas A&M announced this month that they are offering their newest graduate degree, a Master of Science in Analytics starting this fall. Housed by their Department of Statistics along with the Mays Business School, the program aims to help students understand how to bring meaning to data and communicate it effectively.

The Texas A&M program, designed for working professionals, is a five semester part-time, with classes taking place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings either in person on through their online extension courses. Students can expect to develop skills in statistical modeling and predictive analysis through hands on quantitative analysis projects specific to their employers, as well as data sets garnered through business partnerships.

One such partnership is with the PGA Tour as part of its ShotLink Intelligence program which measures every shot taken in tour events. The school has been given access to the data and will use it for example analysis.

A fledgling program that is expecting to house its first 20 students this fall, the school says that they have received a significant donation from North Carolina-based SAS, well known for their business analytics software.

Before graduating, students will be expected to complete a capstone project which will be a predictive modeling business question done on a large data set.

NEXT – Data Science in the Silicon Valley Breadbasket >>>University of California at Berkeley – Berkeley, CA

Another program finding its roots, the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Information announced last month that they will be launching a fully online Master of Information and Data Science degree program through their I School.

The program, which begins in January 2014, will be a 27-unit program aimed at working professionals, and will require a one-week immersion at the I School’s South Hall. Like the Texas A&M program, the program will culminate in a capstone project aimed at the student demonstrating their mastery of the concepts and skills that are the focus of the school.

These skills include everything from machine learning, data storage and retrieval, experimentation, privacy, security, and even ethics.

With classes completely on the web, the program is expecting to limit the student to faculty ration to 15:1, with coursework including lectures, interactive case studies and collaborative assignments. The online nature of the program will be facilitated through 2U Inc.’s online learning management platform.

NEXT – Data Science in the Desert >>>Arizona State University – Phoenix, AZ

The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (ASU) offers a Master of Science in in Business Analytics for those looking to further their big data credentials.

The program is a full-time, nine month engagement aimed at drilling in the concepts of data-driven analysis, strategic decision-making and business process optimization. Courses include everything from enterprise and applied analytics, data mining, applied regression models, analytical decision making tools, data-driven quality management, and more.

Student can expect to master such concepts as the use of quantitative modeling tools and technique for solving modern supply chain problems, road mapping data-driven decision making, leveraging statistical tool suites to report every flavor of modeling, mining data to extract predictive analytics, business analytics strategy, and more.

NEXT – Undergraduate Programs for Budding Data Scientists >>>Undergrad Programs

All of the programs listed in the pages previous are graduate programs – but what about advice for someone just getting started? Fear not friends, there are great places where you can get a leg up on your path to becoming a data scientist. Here is a short list of schools which offer Bachelor of Arts and Science majors specific to data science and analytics.

College of Charleston – Located in Charleston, SC, undergraduates can work towards a B.S. in Data Science at the College of Charleston.

George Mason University – A student who relocates to Fairfax, VA can pursue a B.S. degree in Computational & Data Sciences, combining applied mathematics, computer science skills, data acquisition and analysis, and scientific modeling.

Illinois Institute of Technology – At the Illinois Institute of Technology, located in Chicago, IL, students can pursue a B.S. in Computer Science with a specialization in Data Science through a joint program called Data Science @ IIT offered by both the Department of Applied Mathematics and the Department of Computer Science.

Northern Kentucky University – Head to Newport, KY, where an undergraduate can get a B.S. degree in Data Science, with course plans that specialize in business analytics or a computation intensive track.

University of Iowa – Head to Des Moines, IA, where an undergraduate student can earn a B.A. in Business Analytics and Information Systems, aimed at solving critical business problems through the use of advanced computation and mathematical techniques.

University of Washington – Predictive analytics in the Pacific Northwest! Undergraduates can get a Certificate in Data Science studying in Seattle, learning everything from statistical and machine learning techniques as well as hands on with Hadoop and MapReduce.

This, of course, is not the “one list to rule them all” in data science schooling, but it does give a good overview on programs that are available on every corner of the United States. We’re happy to hear of other programs that might be out there. Send us your tips at editor [at] Datanami period com.

Related Items:

Six Big Name Schools with Big Data Programs 

IBM Narrows Big Data Skills Gap By Partnering With More Than 1,000 Global Universities 

Big Data Jobs in Hyper-Growth 

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