When it comes to big data in Kansas, it pays to know where to look! In this short guide to earning a KS data science degree, you’ll find info on everything from research & scholarships to meetups & jobs. Already have a school in mind? Skip ahead to our list of all the data science programs in Kansas.
Studying Data Science in Kansas
It’s hard to talk about data science in the Sunflower State without talking about Missouri and Kansas City (KC). Because Johnson County is where it’s all happening. Just to prove the point:
- Overland Park appears in DataFox’s 2016 survey of Best Cities for Tech Outside California and New York and TechInsurance’s list of Best Places to Live for Tech Entrepreneurs.
- This KC suburb city has an affordable cost of living, stable industries (e.g. healthcare, tech, and finance & insurance), and a rash of new startups.
- It even has its very own booster organization: Overland Park – Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council.
Another reason the KC area is humming for data scientists? The Johnson County Education Research Triangle. Dedicated to advances in areas like engineering, technology, animal health, biodiversity, and agriculture, it’s anchored by three University of Kansas (KU) and Kansas State University (K-State) institutions.
What’s happening in Kansas City isn’t the only data story— and groups like Innovate Kansas are trying to spread the joy—but it’s the place where you’re most likely to find activity.
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Kansas Universities
Research activity is always a strong point in a program’s favor—after all, you want to be collaborating with lecturers who know their stuff. For example, KU is supporting its campus degrees with laser-focused efforts:
- Data scientists at the Center for Business Analytics & Research (CBAR) have forged strong ties with national businesses by tackling a large number of data-focused corporate projects.
- At the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), researchers in the Data Science and Engineering cluster are working on multidisciplinary approaches to data gathering, management, and modeling.
- Informatics specialists at the KU Biodiversity Institute are collaborating with biologists to develop and support software for biological collections research.
K-State may not have much in the way of data science programs, but that doesn’t mean it’s asleep at the wheel:
- The Department of Computer Science (CS) has an abiding interest in big data research, and two labs devoted to applied machine learning & knowledge discovery. The result is fascinating data work at the intersection of health, agriculture, and ecology. For example, CS researchers work with K-State’s National Agricultural Biosecurity Center (NABC), the Ecological Genomics Institute, the Arthropod Genomics Center, the Bioinformatics Center, and the K-State EPICENTER. At the EPICENTER, data scientists design real-time tools for epidemic outbreaks—not only in humans, but in plants, animals, and even computers.
- For budding entrepreneurs, K-State also has an Institute for Commercialization devoted to high-growth, technology-based enterprises; an Olathe Innovation Accelerator that supports companies with technical and business expertise; and an Advanced Manufacturing Institute that speeds the commercial readiness of new product technologies.
Finally, we should mention the large amount of healthcare activity at the Kansas University Medical Center (KUMC) and KU Cancer Center. We’re talking:
- Computational genomics and clinical trial & data coordination in the Department of Biostatistics.
- Biomedical informatics expertise “on tap” from the Center for Medical Informatics and Enterprise Analytics and its Division of Medical Informatics.
- Bioinformatics work at the Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (KIDDRC).
- Current projects at the KU Center for Health Informatics.
- Data science support from KU Cancer Center’s Biostatistics and Informatics Shared Resource (BISR).
Bonus Round: If you’ve fallen in love with bio-work, be sure to check out the Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence. It’s designed to help researchers compete for NIH funds in the field of cell and developmental biology (e.g. bioinformatics) and pretty much every university in Kansas is a part of it.
Online Data Science Programs in Kansas
There aren’t many online degrees in Kansas, but the ones that exist are fairly solid. If you’re concerned about making the leap into virtual education, have a quick peek at our advice on what to look for in an online data science program.
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
K-State is the place to go for distance learning certificates. It has an:
- Online Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics: Created by the Department of Statistics, this program tackles everything from biostatistics and multivariate statistical methods to experiment design.
- Online Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics: Dedicated to developing interdisciplinary skills, this program involves both a data science and applied analytics track. A real-world, team-based capstone is required.
Health professionals will also want to check out KU Medical Center’s online Healthcare Informatics Certificate, which is aimed at folks who already hold a master’s degree in another field. In addition to including a home-based practicum, this program prepares students to sit for applicable nursing, M.D., or graduate-level certification exams as an expert informatician.
Online Master’s Degrees in Data Science
When it comes to online master’s degrees in Kansas, ESU’s online Master of Science in Informatics blends coursework from the School of Library and Information Management (SLIM) with expertise from ESU’s Information Systems program in the School of Business. There are core courses on topics like database design, system analysis and design, and IT project management, and a wide range of electives. Students can choose a special nursing concentration, which tackles healthcare informatics.
Speaking of health, we should also mention that KU has an online Master of Science in Applied Statistics and Analytics aimed at aspiring experts in statistics, biostatistics, and data analytics. Although the required coursework focuses on stats and a broad range of big data applications, the degree includes electives in areas like genomics research and clinical trials. All of the faculty teach at the Department of Biostatistics.
Data Science Scholarships in Kansas
The reason you won’t find many listings in this section is because we chose to focus on university scholarships & assistantships that specifically apply to the school’s data program (e.g. departmental aid). However, advisors in the Graduate Studies Office will have more info on general scholarships and alternative financing options (e.g. low-interest loans). Be sure to talk to them!
University of Kansas
- Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantships: EECS administers the MS in Computer Science, and over 75% of its graduate students are supported by assistantships or fellowships (either within KU or with funding from external organizations).
Data Science Events in Kansas
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Kansas
Surprise, surprise—Kansas City is the epicenter of all things data. For even more ideas on KC meetups, please see the same section in our profile of data science in Missouri.
- Kansas City Big Data Group: Founded in 2011 and based in Leawood, this popular community (1,100+ members) has regular meetups devoted to hard-core tools & technologies.
- Open Source Analytics: Sponsored by IBM, OSA is a Kansas City meetup explores the latest in open source analytics. Think topics like Hadoop and Spark, machine learning, data mining, data visualization, cognitive analytics, etc.
- Open Wichita: Part of the Code for America Brigade, this altruistic meetup wants to find ways to use data and technology for the greater civic good. Dive in & join a project!
- TechrIoT: Based in Olathe, this is a meetup of innovators, business folks, and academics who are exploring the future of the Internet of Things (IoT). In-depth sessions cover areas like smart cities, the Cloud, healthcare, and more. Cf. the Kansas City Internet of Things Meetup.
- Wichita eCommerce on Tap: Thinking of starting an eCommerce startup? Working on marketing & product data? This community may be a great opportunity for you to network with fellow enthusiasts.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Kansas
You’ll need to factor in travel costs if you want to attend big conferences like Strata+Hadoop World, Predictive Analytics World (PAW), and MLconf—Kansas hasn’t quite reached “must-visit” status for data scientists. On the other hand, you’re not too far from events in Texas and Colorado, and even Oklahoma City has intriguing stuff going on.
We cover Kansas City data & tech conferences in our profile of Missouri; please see that section for a complete rundown of what’s happening in town.
Data Science Jobs in Kansas
Overland Park (and—by extension—the greater Kansas City metropolitan area) has a diverse mix of industries. Sprint is a name you’ll hear a lot, but leading employers also include Black & Veatch (Engineering), Waddell & Reed Financial Inc., OptumRX (Pharmaceuticals), the Overland Park Regional Medical Center, and YRC Worldwide (Transportation & Logistics).
On the flip side are all the feisty startups and data-focused companies that are feeding off the city’s strengths. Along with data science firms like Nuvento and Yotabites, which specialize in big data consulting, and QTS Realty, which manages multi-tenant data centers, you’ll see tech activity in areas such as:
- Agriculture & biosecurity (e.g. Ansera Analytics and Farmobile)
- Healthcare & medicine (e.g. Netsmart, Spinal Simplicity, Innara Health, TreVia Digital Health, and HylaPharm)
- Finance (e.g. RiskGenisu, Blooom, C2FO, and IDENTIFiD)
- Insurance (e.g. ClaimKit)
- Info services (e.g. JobShakers and LaborChart)
Wichita is the home of Koch Industries, one of the largest privately held companies in the country, and Cargill’s $60 million protein headquarters.
Data Scientist Salaries in Kansas
As we mentioned in our profile of Missouri, Glassdoor put the average estimated salary for a data scientist in the Kansas City area around $98,000 in 2017. This number can often fluctuate depending on whether the big companies (e.g. Sprint) are advertising openings for senior data scientists.
We found 3 universities in Kansas 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.