Data science has become a highly sought-after field, with professionals in high demand across various industries. For those living in South Dakota or considering studying in the state, numerous data science degree programs are available to satisfy your educational needs. From on-campus programs to online options, South Dakota offers a wealth of opportunities for students looking to launch or advance their data science careers. In this blog post, we will guide you through the best data science degree programs in South Dakota, as well as financial aid options, job prospects, and networking opportunities.
South Dakota universities offer on-campus and online data science degree programs of high esteem.
Data scientists in South Dakota can expect an average salary of $118,340 annually with job opportunities across multiple industries.
Students and professionals have access to networking opportunities such as local meetups, conferences, workshops, and events for career building.
Overview of Data Science Degree Programs in South Dakota
South Dakota is home to several reputable universities offering data science degrees, including South Dakota State University and Dakota State University. These programs provide students with a strong foundation in data analytics, machine learning, and modern data analysis techniques, preparing them for successful data science careers. South Dakota’s data science programs are held in high esteem, with SDSU’s M.S. in Data Science ranked as the premier online master’s program in the country and second overall.
These programs are offered in both on-campus and online formats to cater to the diverse needs of students. On-campus programs require physical attendance at a university, facilitating face-to-face interaction with professors and classmates. In contrast, online programs allow students to complete their coursework remotely, offering flexibility and convenience for those with other commitments.
Next, we will explore further the on-campus and online data science programs offered in South Dakota.
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On-Campus Data Science Programs
South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota offer on-campus data science programs for those who prefer a traditional classroom experience.
South Dakota State University provides a Master’s Degree in Data Science, with courses covering:
modern applied statistics
data warehousing and mining
big data analytics
The tuition fee for South Dakota residents is $12,554, while non-residents pay $16,163. Applicants to the program must have college-level coursework in Calculus, Statistics, and familiarity with matrix algebra, SQL, and C++ or Python.
The University of South Dakota, on the other hand, offers a Master of Science in Data Science and Engineering program. This program is a collaboration between the Computer Science and Mathematical Sciences departments, providing a comprehensive curriculum that prepares students for data science careers in various industries. Further details on this program will be discussed in Section 2.2.
Online Data Science Programs
For students who require more flexibility in their schedules or cannot attend classes in person, online data science programs are available at Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, and the University of South Dakota. These online programs allow students to complete their coursework remotely and at their own pace, making them a convenient option for working professionals or individuals with other obligations.
Dakota State University offers an online Master of Science in Analytics program, with tracks in Business Analytics, Information Systems, and Healthcare Analytics. South Dakota State University provides a Graduate Certificate in Data Science, comprising four online classes that cover modern data analysis techniques and statistical methods. The University of South Dakota’s online MBA with a specialization in Business Analytics may also be of interest to business professionals seeking an AACSB-accredited program.
Master’s Degree Programs in Data Science
Both South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota offer Master’s degree programs in data science, preparing students for successful careers in this rapidly growing field. These programs focus on providing students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in data-driven decision-making across various industries.
Next, we will examine the Master’s degree programs in data science offered by each of these respected institutions.
South Dakota State University
South Dakota State University offers a Master of Science in Data Science program, which focuses on preparing students for data science careers by teaching them modern data analysis techniques and hands-on experience with real-world data. To be considered for admission, applicants must possess an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and demonstrate proficiency in prerequisite courses such as Calculus I and II, Matrix Algebra or Linear Algebra, and Introduction to Probability and Statistics.
The program includes courses such as STAT 601 Modern Applied Statistics I, INFS 762 Data Warehousing/Mining, STAT 560 Time Series Analysis, and MATH 575 Operations Research. Students enrolled in this program will benefit from the expertise of experienced faculty members in the Data Science department, such as Ross Abraham, Wendy Ahrendsen, William Alsaker, Alvin Bahr, Duff Baker-Jarvis, Matthew Biesecker, Thomas Brandenburger, and Rebecca Diischer.
University of South Dakota
The University of South Dakota offers a Master of Science in Data Science and Engineering program. This program is a collaboration between the Computer Science and Mathematical Sciences departments and aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of data science. It prepares them for careers in various industries, such as:
Technology and software firms
Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies
Financial services and banking organizations
Government and public sector entities
To be admitted to the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an institution of higher learning with full regional accreditation and meet the requirements for the specific concentration they wish to pursue. The program includes courses such as Data Warehousing, Data Mining, Applied Statistics, and Foundations of Programming, providing students with a strong foundation in data science and engineering.
Graduate Certificates in Data Science
Besides Master’s degree programs, South Dakota State University and Dakota State University provide graduate certificate programs in data science for those aiming for a shorter, more concentrated educational experience. These programs provide a solid foundation in data science and analytics, equipping students with the necessary skills to pursue careers in this burgeoning field.
Next, we will examine the western regional graduate program and the graduate certificate programs provided by these institutions.
South Dakota State University
South Dakota State University offers an online Graduate Certificate in Data Science, designed for students who want to develop their data analysis skills through a flexible and convenient online platform. The program consists of courses such as Statistical Programming, Modern Applied Statistics, and Statistical Methods, providing students with a strong foundation in data science and analytics. The total cost of the program, including any books or other possible fees, is just under $9,000. Non-resident students can expect to pay $711.55 per credit.
To be eligible for admission to this program, applicants must:
Have an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
Demonstrate strong performance in prerequisite courses
Have prior experience with programming languages R, SAS, and SQL (beneficial)
Have knowledge in these areas (highly encouraged)
Dakota State University
Dakota State University offers an on-campus Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics. It is specifically designed to help professionals acquire data science knowledge for their business endeavours. The program consists of 12 credits split across three disciplines. These disciplines include Data Warehousing and Data Mining, Predictive Analytics for Decision Making, and Advanced Data Mining. To be admitted, applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from an institution of higher learning with full regional accreditation.
The duration for completion of the Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics at Dakota State University is not specified. However, given the focused nature of the program, students can expect to complete it in a shorter time frame than a full Master’s degree.
Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Data Science
Dakota State University offers an online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, which covers the technical aspects of data science and prepares students for careers in this rapidly evolving field. This program allows students to develop the programming, data management, and analytical skills necessary for a successful data science career, while offering the flexibility and convenience of an online learning platform.
Next, we will examine this online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science in more depth.
Dakota State University
Dakota State University’s online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science provides students with a comprehensive curriculum, covering topics such as programming languages, data structures and algorithms, and operating systems. This degree program emphasizes the technical and theoretical development of computer programs and systems, preparing graduates for a variety of post-graduation paths, including immediate entry into the professional world or further study in pursuit of a Master’s degree in Data Science.
To be admitted to this program, applicants must meet the following requirements:
Graduated from high school or completed the GED with a minimum combined score of 580 and a score of at least 145 on each subject
Met the state requirements for computer science
Had a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent)
Provided transcripts showing completion of courses in key areas such as general programming skills.
The tuition fee for the online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science program at Dakota State University is $354.75 per credit hour, as stated by the university.
Financial Aid and Scholarships for Data Science Students in South Dakota
Financial aid and scholarship opportunities are available for data science students in South Dakota, helping to offset the cost of tuition and fees. Full-time graduate students pursuing a Master of Science in Analytics may be eligible for a reduced tuition rate and stipend through assistantships, which involve duties such as researching, administering, and teaching. However, working professionals are not eligible for these opportunities.
Undergraduate data science students in South Dakota can explore various scholarships, including the Build Dakota Scholarship, Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship, Dakota Corps Scholarship, Freedom Scholarship, and Hagen-Harvey Scholarship. International students can also investigate financial aid options for data science programs in South Dakota through multiple sources, such as South Dakota State University, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and external scholarships.
Job Prospects and Salaries for Data Scientists in South Dakota
Data scientists in South Dakota enjoy promising data science jobs across various industries, with an average salary of $118,340 per year. The demand for data scientists is increasing in the state, as evidenced by the growing number of job openings on websites like Indeed and ZipRecruiter. Data scientists have the ability to apply their skills outside of traditional computer and mathematical occupations. Some of these alternate areas include:
Next, we will examine job opportunities and salary expectations for data scientists in South Dakota in more depth.
The job market for data scientists in South Dakota is growing, particularly in the Sioux Falls area. The tech industry in the state has experienced a year-over-year growth rate of 2.4% between 2017 and 2018, with IT and custom software services growing at an even faster rate of 5.7%. As of 2020, there were approximately 21,930 individuals employed in the tech industry in South Dakota.
Companies such as Intel, Analytics Consultant, and Machine Learning Engineer are currently hiring data scientists in the state. With an increasing demand for skilled professionals in this field, data science graduates in South Dakota can expect promising career opportunities in various sectors, including technology and software firms, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, financial services and banking organizations, manufacturing and engineering businesses, government and public sector entities, and research and academic organizations.
Data scientists in South Dakota earned an impressive average salary of $76,440 in the year 2020. It was among the higher salaries across the country. Entry-level data scientists can expect a salary range of $60,000 to $110,000 annually, depending on factors such as location, industry, and experience. The average annual salary for data scientists in South Dakota is $118,340, which is comparable to the national average for this profession.
The highest reported salary for a data scientist in South Dakota is $241,780 per year in Sioux Falls, SD. Although specific data on earning potential within various industries or sectors is not available, it is clear that data science professionals in South Dakota can expect competitive salaries and promising career opportunities.
Networking Opportunities for Data Science Students in South Dakota
Networking is essential for data science students and professionals in South Dakota, as it allows them to connect with others in the field, share knowledge, and discover new opportunities. Various networking opportunities are available in the state, including local meetups, regional conferences, and yearly events.
Next, we will examine some specific networking opportunities for data science students in South Dakota.
Local Meetups and Communities
Local meetups and communities provide excellent opportunities for data science students and professionals in South Dakota to engage in discussions, access resources, and build connections. Some examples include:
The South Dakota State University Data Science Club, which meets twice monthly and offers opportunities to engage with guest speakers and network with other members.
The national meetup group hosted by the UPSiE team, which offers activities related to Big Data and Data Science.
You can also check the Meetup website for Data Science groups in South Dakota.
Students can also participate in the SDSU Data Science Camp, which provides networking opportunities for groups of students to work together on data science projects. By attending these local meetups and communities, data science students can expand their professional networks, learn from others in the field, and enhance their career prospects.
Regional Conferences and Workshops
Regional conferences and workshops focused on data science and related fields offer valuable learning and networking opportunities for students in South Dakota. The SDSU Data Science Symposium is an annual event held on the SDSU campus, featuring presentations by experts in various data science disciplines. Another notable event is the South Dakota Biotech Summit & Annual Meeting, which explores the new tech frontier in biotech and provides opportunities for networking with industry professionals.
While there may be fewer industry-focused conferences in South Dakota, students can consider attending data science events in nearby states, such as Omaha and the Twin Cities area. By participating in regional conferences and workshops, data science students can gain valuable insights, stay up-to-date with current trends and techniques, and connect with potential employers and industry experts.
Alternative Pathways to a Data Science Career in South Dakota
For those looking for alternative pathways to a data science career in South Dakota, online degrees, graduate certificates, and bootcamps offer viable options. Online degrees provide the flexibility and convenience of remote learning, while graduate certificates offer focused, short-term educational experiences tailored to specific areas of data science.
Data science bootcamps are another alternative pathway to consider. These short-term, intensive educational programs provide an introduction to the field of data science or data analytics. There are numerous online data science bootcamps available for students in South Dakota, such as:
University of Denver
Graduates of these bootcamps can expect promising career opportunities as data scientists, data engineers, or data analysts in various industries.
In conclusion, South Dakota offers a diverse range of data science degree programs, financial aid options, and career opportunities for aspiring data scientists. Whether you prefer an on-campus experience or the flexibility of online learning, the state’s universities provide comprehensive educational programs that cater to your needs. With a growing demand for data science professionals in South Dakota and an array of networking opportunities through local meetups and regional conferences, pursuing a data science career in this state can lead to a successful and fulfilling professional journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which bachelor degree is best for data science?
Based on the most commonly suggested degrees for pursuing a career in Data Science, the best Bachelor’s Degrees for this field are Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Information Technology, Computer Information Systems, Business, Finance, or Economics, Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, or Industrial), Physics and Biostatistics.
Does SDSU have a data science program?
Yes, SDSU has a data science program, offering both an M.S. in Data Science program and Professional Data Science Advanced Certificate fully online through the SDSU Global Campus program, as well as a Data Science and Analytics Professional Bootcamp.
Is a BS in data science worth it?
A data science degree is worth it for many people as it puts them on the path to a six-figure job. However, there are more affordable options available.
What degree do I need for data science?
For data science, a Bachelor’s degree is typically required. Many employers in this field prefer a Master’s degree, however.
What universities in South Dakota offer data science degrees?
South Dakota State University and Dakota State University both offer excellent data science degree programs.