Is Georgia on your mind for data science? Take a look at our guide to schools, research, job prospects, online alternatives, graduate scholarships, and networking opportunities! Already have Georgia Tech on your shortlist? Feel free to skip ahead to our list of all the data science programs in Georgia.
Studying Data Science in Georgia
Thanks to Atlanta, Silicon Valley of the South is making a name for itself. Georgia’s capital is studded with Fortune 1000 companies and home to countless data-driven start-ups. A relatively affordable cost of living, access to major investors, and a women-friendly business atmosphere are driving growth. This is the land where Partpic and Rimidi got their start.
The most exciting thing about Atlanta may be its technology & innovation centers. If you haven’t visited Atlanta Tech Village, TechSquare Labs, FlatironCity, or any of the city’s other accelerators, now is the time.
Two other important names for data scientists to remember are the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), which serves as a hub of useful info (e.g. jobs, events, training, etc.), and the open-membership Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), which is a major start-up initiative.
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Georgia Universities
It’s no accident that the ATDC is a Georgia Tech project. This famous university has socked a huge amount of money into Atlanta’s Tech Square area, and it’s deeply committed to big data. You’ll often find it in US. News & World Report rankings for the top 20 of Best Global Universities in Computer Science and the top 10 of Best Graduate Computer Science Programs.
When you’re weighing degrees, here are some related points to consider:
- Georgia Tech’s interdisciplinary Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEAS) will be supported by an 80,000 sq. ft., 21+ story building devoted to data science and high performance computing. This will feed talent into the VentureLab, which funds early-stage start-ups based on university research, and ATDC. Georgia Tech also co-directs the NSF-funded South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub.
- Georgia State University (GSU) is located in downtown Atlanta, and its data-driven Institute for Insight at the College of Business plays host to Insight Sprints, Friday Labs, and business-focused research projects. Interestingly, GSU is turning big data on itself, operating a Graduation and Progression Success (GPS) program to increase graduation rates.
- Kennesaw State University, approximately 20 miles from Atlanta, was one of the first universities in the nation to offer a PhD in data science. Its Center for Statistics and Analytical Services (CSAS) is closely tied to business and offers training in SAS®.
- At the University of Georgia, you’ll find NSF- and NIH-funded work on metagenomics, epigenetics, geophysics, brain imaging analysis in the Big Data Analytics Lab; projects on big data, mobile and sensor systems, and cloud computing in its Data Intensive Pervasive Systems (DIPS) Lab; and interesting cross-fertilization going on in the Evolutionary Computing and Machine Learning (ECML) Lab.
Meanwhile, Georgia Southern University is standing up for small towns like Statesboro, using its Business Innovation Group (BIG) to support projects like the Innovation Incubator. The university also has research interests in health (e.g. Karl E. Peace Center for Biostatistics and Survey Research) and the cloud (e.g. Cloud Computing Research Laboratory).
Online Data Science Programs in Georgia
Distance learning is coming along in the Peach State. In 2013, Georgia Tech created a partnership with Udacity and AT&T to develop its online MS in Computer Science, and Georgia schools have a solid presence in U.S. News & World Report rankings for Best Online Graduate Computer IT Programs. The University of West Georgia (#18), Georgia Southern (#21), and Kennesaw State (#28) all appeared on the list in 2016.
Having said that, your choices are fairly limited in the field of data science. We cover general things to look for in an online data science program elsewhere, so here we decided to look more closely at state offerings.
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
When it comes to online graduate certificates, Kennesaw State is focused on the business end. Its two distance learning options include online certificates in applied statistics using R or SAS®. (Kennesaw State is the only university in Georgia authorized to issue a Certificate in Statistical Analysis Using SAS®.)
However, you won’t find many more programs beyond that. If you’re trying to develop a particular set of skills, have a look at our master list of Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science. This has a list of online graduate certificates from respected schools (e.g. Stanford, Boston University, etc.) across the country.
Online Master’s Degrees in Data Science
The same principle holds true for master’s degrees. Georgia Southern has a well-regarded MS in Computer Science with a concentration in Data Mining and Data Warehousing, but that’s about it for choice.
Don’t despair, though. We have databases of online master’s degrees in data science, business analytics, and information systems around the nation. You can get the gist of these programs by looking at feedback on Quora.com and Reddit.com, and by contacting alumni through LinkedIn.
Data Science Scholarships in Georgia
We chose to focus on university awards (i.e. institutional aid) that would cover data science degrees in our listings, but don’t take this as the end! Your school’s Graduate Studies Office will have more information on general scholarships and fellowships (e.g. diversity funding) and info on financial options (e.g. low-cost loans).
Georgia State University
- Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) Graduate Assistantships: The MSA program has a limited number of graduate research assistantships. Assistants receive tuition waivers and a stipend.
- Robinson College of Business Graduate Scholarships: Robinson has a healthy number of scholarships open to graduate students, including those in the MSA program.
Georgia Tech University
- College of Computing Graduate Student Awards: The College hands out modest awards to graduate students (including MS in Computer Science students) each year. Awards honor teaching assistants, research assistants, and research.
- Donald V. Jackson Fellowship: This College of Computing fellowship goes to a first-year master’s student (usually 1 from each school within the College) who best embodies values of academic excellence and leadership. Winners are nominated by faculty and selected by MS coordinators.
- Marshall D. Williamson Fellowship: This College of Computing fellowship is awarded to a second-year master’s student who best embodies values of academic excellence and leadership (typically 4 recipients—1 each for CS, CSE, HCI and Info Sec). Winners are nominated by faculty and selected by MS coordinators.
Kennesaw State University
- CarMax Auto Finance Analytics Scholarship: Sponsored by CarMax, this merit-based scholarship is given to students enrolled in the Master of Science Degree in Applied Statistics (MSAS), undergraduates with a minor in Applied Statistics and Data Analysis at Kennesaw State University, and students pursuing a degree in management from the Coles College of Business.
- Graduate Assistantships: Kennesaw’s Graduate College offers Graduate Assistantships at several levels and in different categories (e.g. teaching, research, etc.). Assistants receive tuition waivers and a stipend.
University of Georgia
- Terry College of Business Graduate Assistantships: Terry administers the MBA in Business Analytics program, and it offers graduate assistantships to the top one-third of the incoming class. Assistantships include tuition waivers, a monthly stipend, and a discount on health insurance.
- Terry College of Business MBA Leadership Scholarship: Each year, Terry awards $1,000-$2,000 in the spring semester to a current MBA student who shows exceptional leadership. Students can nominate themselves.
- Terry College of Business Scholarships: In addition to the awards mentioned, Terry also offers a variety of scholarships, ranging in amounts from $500 to $12,500 per year, to its students.
Data Science Events in Georgia
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Georgia
As you might expect, a lot of data science meetups are in Atlanta. There are groups devoted to tools (e.g. Hadoop, Apache Spark, Python, etc.), platforms (e.g. Cloudera Users), and special interests (e.g. The Business Intelligence SIG). Here are some of the larger ones with useful networking opportunities:
- Atlanta Big Data User Group: Open to anyone interested in big data issues, architectures, and solutions, this meetup often connects with other groups and partner organizations for events.
- Big Data Developers: This tool-based meetup is intended to give members a jump start with big data tools & applications, including Hadoop scripting, visualizations, and text analytics.
- Data Science ATL: ATL is focused more on techniques than on tools, and it frequently hosts partner events (e.g. General Assemb.ly “Meet and Hire”) and talks at venues like the Georgia Tech Business Analytics Center.
- Data Science and Business Intelligence Society of Atlanta: This meetup has been going strong since 2010 and boasts over 2,300 members. There are training bootcamps, talks, and lots of partner events.
- Startup Atlanta Meetups: Startup Atlanta has put together a handy list of meetups and drinks events in the metro Atlanta area. These include the popular Atlanta Startup Village and Atlanta Startup Founder 101.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Georgia
Like other mid-size Silicon centers (e.g. Miami), Atlanta only occasionally hosts major data science conferences (e.g. Strata+Hadoop World, Predictive Analytics World, IEEE ICDM, SIGKDD, etc.). Can’t afford the flights to NYC or San Fran? Here are some local events to consider:
- Big Data Everywhere Atlanta: Presented by MapR, this short & sweet conference concentrates on Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, and related technologies. Along with focused talks from well-known speakers, there’s a networking lunch.
- Georgia Technology Summit: Hosted by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), this C-level summit attracts CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, and technology entrepreneurs. If you’re thinking of meeting future employers, it also honors the Top 40 Most Innovative Companies in Georgia.
- MLconf Atlanta: This one-day conference brings together machine learning experts from various industries, research fields, and universities to discuss the latest methodologies and applications.
- SuperNova South: SuperNova South claims to be the Southeast’s largest & longest-running tech conference. The buzzing 4-day event covers almost everything in tech (e.g. finance, mobile, start-up, cyber security, etc.) and is held in Atlanta. Think 1,500+ attendees and a lot of speakers.
- Venture Atlanta: Known as the South’s largest tech showcase, Venture Atlanta aims to unite Georgia’s top technology innovators with top-tier investors. There are networking breakfasts, expert panels, fireside chats, company presentations, a Demo Day—the list goes on.
Bonus round: Every spring, the ATDC hosts an Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) Startup Showcase. This gives promising start-ups a chance to showcase their technologies and attract investors.
Data Science Jobs in Georgia
Georgia has an an intriguing job market in data science. On the one hand, it’s nowhere near California. In a 2014 report from Gigaom, Georgia was #10 in the list of states with the most data science job postings, behind North Carolina.
On the other hand, it has all that lovely start-up energy. Atlanta has spawned tech innovators like Kabbage, AirWatch (acquired by VMWare), Predikto, and Kanga, and centers like ATDC just keep on pumping out ideas:
- CBRE’s 2016 report on Scoring Tech Talent ranked the city #9 overall, with a positive brain gain, a concentrated millennial population, and a #3 spot in the list of Top 10 Markets for Educational Attainment.
- According to the report, Georgia Tech has helped foster 124 VC-backed firms since 2010.
Plus there’s the needs of the establishment. Along with the CDC, Turner Broadcasting, UPS, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and many other famous names, Atlanta can now claim GE. As part of its Industrial Internet Initiative, the company has placed its North American IT headquarters in the city.
If you’re thinking of creating a start-up, it pays to remember the territory. Atlanta has great connections to big companies (and their money), but venture capitalists may be more risk averse than the West Coast. Entrepreneurs need to have super-solid business plans.
Data Scientist Salaries in Georgia
According to Glassdoor, average salaries for data scientists in Atlanta are lower than East and West Coast hubs, and even cities like Denver and Boulder in Colorado. In 2016, the average (estimated) salary was below $100,000. However, that figure also comes with a lower cost of living.
While you’re looking at Georgia schools and Atlanta salary numbers, you may also wish to consider Payscale’s College ROI Report. In the case of return on investment, Georgia Tech wins hands-down in the Peach State. In 2016, in-state graduates could expect to see a 20 year net ROI of $833,000.
We found 6 universities in Georgia offering Masters of Data Science programs (and/or closely related programs, like MS in Analytics / Masters in Business Analytics).
If you represent a university and would like to contact us about editing any of our listings, or adding new programs, please send an email to info (at) mastersindatascience.org.