Mountains and data and jobs, oh my! If you’ve been hearing good things about Boise, our guide to earning an ID data science degree can help fill in the gaps. Here you’ll find info on research, scholarships, events, meetups, and careers. Already packed your skis? Skip ahead to our list of all the data science programs in Idaho.
Studying Data Science in Idaho
We’re tempted to call Idaho a mini-Utah – right down to the large Mormon population. Like Utah, the Gem State is absorbing an overflow of talent from Silicon Valley and building a reputation as a high desert hotspot.
- The tech sector has been steadily growing for some years. In 2017, the map of CompTIA Cyberstates noted that 4.8% of the state’s workforce were employed in the tech industry (#18 in the country).
- Data scientists who are seeking a better quality of life and the chance to work remotely are fleeing to Treasure Valley – Boise and Meridian are lit up with tech businesses on the Idaho Tech Council (ITC) Member Map.
- Startup Idaho is seeking to spur interest in new businesses and organizations like Trailhead Boise and Idaho Innovation Center (IIC) are providing entrepreneurs with space & support.
Idaho also has a serious investment in energy. When you start talking to universities about their data initiatives, you’re going to hear the acronyms for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) come up frequently in conversations. Managed by Battelle Energy Alliance, INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development.
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Idaho Universities
Idaho universities are remarkably chummy. Boise State University (BSU), Idaho State University (ISU), and the University of Idaho (UI) were all involved in getting the Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON) off the ground, and each of them specializes in key research areas for CAES.
At UI, you’ll find geoscience and bioinformatics experts working in:
- The Northwest Knowledge Network (NKN), which helps fascinating clients in atmospheric research, climate, remote science, and geospatial science.
- The Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC), with its state-of-the-art visualization laboratory.
- The Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies (IBEST), which has been on the receiving end of multiple NSF and NIH grants. IBEST has close ties to UI’s Center for Modeling Complex Interactions (CMCI), which focuses on interdisciplinary biomedical research.
ISU is known for:
- The Department of Informatics and Computer Science, which has an affiliated Informatics Research Institute and frequently organizes Bengal Solutions Applied Informatics teams to help companies solve data problems.
- The geo-focused GIS Training and Research Center (GIS TReC) and Digital Mapping & Research Laboratory, as well as the specialist Center for Archaeology, Materials, and Applied Spectroscopy (CAMAS) and the Center for Innovative Technology In Archeological Informatics (CITI-AI).
At BSU, it’s worth investigating:
- Research labs in the Department of Computer Science (e.g. data mining, visualization, social media mining, and information retrieval) and the Trace Analytical Laboratory in the Department of Geosciences.
- The Research Computing Department, which assists BSU researchers with high-performance computing, visualization and programming support.
Online Data Science Programs in Idaho
UI has a number of online degree programs in computer science, statistics, and engineering – but as of 2017 none of Idaho’s graduate schools had committed to data science.
Data Science Scholarships in Idaho
We chose to focus on university aid that directly applied to data programs in our directory. But this is just the beginning! The Office of Graduate Studies will have info about non-resident tuition waivers, outside scholarships, low-interest loans, and more. Be sure to talk to them about your funding options.
Idaho State University
- Health Informatics Scholarship: This scholarship is open to full-time or part-time undergraduates or graduate students enrolled in a Health Informatics program in the College of Business. Preference is given to current Portneuf Medical Center or Bingham Memorial employees. Award amounts vary.
- MS in Geographic Information Sciences Assistantships: MS students are eligible for a variety of teaching and research assistantships. Full-time graduate assistants are expected to work up to 20 hours per week in return for a stipend.
- Professor Kenneth Trimmer Memorial Scholarship for Health Informatics: This $1,425 scholarship is awarded to a full-time undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in a Health Informatics program in the College of Business. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA. Financial need is considered and preference is given to female applicants.
University of Idaho
- Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB) Graduate Student Fellowships: In 2017-2018, BCB offered generous fellowships to five of its graduate students. Each fellowship included a 12-month stipend of $22,000, payment of graduate student fees and health insurance, and travel funds. Fellowships lasted one year with competitive renewal for a second year.
Data Science Events in Idaho
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Idaho
Idaho’s tech meetup scene is small but sturdy. There are at least two groups devoted entirely to data science (and one that’s really into beer).
- Beers with Engineers (BWE): BWE is a super-chilled monthly gathering for Boise tech junkies. Leave your presentations at home & get ready to shoot the breeze about your latest projects.
- Boise BI User Group: This meetup is billed as a mix of business analysts and information technology specialists who are interested in Microsoft’s business intelligence. However, all kinds of big data topics are covered.
- Boise Data Science: Open to newcomers and experts alike, this group meets at the Boise State University Computer Science Department. There are presentations, talks, and plenty of chances to network.
- Eastern Idaho Data Science: UI students will be pleased to hear that this Idaho Falls group is committed to staying on top of the latest tools and developments. It meets (fairly) regularly at the Accendero Software Office.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Idaho
Since there aren’t a lot of dedicated analytics or data science events in Boise, we’ve include some developer conferences where you can exercise your networking skills. For major conferences (e.g. Strata+Hadoop World, Predictive Analytics World, and SIGKDD), you’re going to need a plane ticket.
- Clearwater User Conference: CUC is a free two-day event for Clearwater users & partners that’s held every September in Boise. The agenda includes hands-on workshops, one-on-one training sessions, roundtable discussions, and plenty of chances to schmooze.
- develop.Idaho: Organized by the Idaho Technology Council, this is a half-day, industry-led event that supports the software community in Idaho. Software startups are particularly welcome!
- DevOps Boise: Yes, it’s all about DevOps, but it’s also the place where you’ll find lots of Idaho professionals from big name companies (e.g. Micron, HP, Balihoo, etc.).
Data Science Jobs in Idaho
Idaho has a good spread of industries, and data experts can often find jobs at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), banks, insurance firms, healthcare institutions, agribusinesses, and even Scentsy.
- However, the names you’ll hear again and again are Micron Technology and HP. In 2017, Micron alone employed around 6,000 people in Boise. With ~4,000 employees, HP wasn’t far behind.
- Idaho has also carved a niche for itself in the field of data science & analytics. This category includes Boise companies like Clearwater Analytics, WhiteCloud Analytics, Balihoo, and an office of zData.
Data Scientist Salaries in Idaho
In 2017, Glassdoor noted that the average salary for a data scientist in Boise was $94,927; a data analyst could expect an average of $53,273. Glassdoor was working off a limited number of data points, with the usual suspects (e.g. Micron and Clearwater Analytics) in the Salaries by Company section, so you’ll need to take these numbers with a grain of salt.
Boise’s cost of living is around the national average, with housing being the major expense. But if you like safe drivers, stunning scenery, and being a big fish in a relatively small pond, you’ll be in Nirvana.
We found 3 universities in Idaho 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.