Dreaming of life on the Silicon Bayou? Our quick guide to earning an LA data science degree is here to help. It has details on everything from research & scholarships to jobs & salary numbers. Already have a university in mind? Skip ahead to our list of all the data science programs in Louisiana.
Studying Data Science in Louisiana
The Child of the Mississippi is still a data baby, but that hasn’t stopped it from dreaming of becoming Texas when it grows up!
- New Orleans is famous for its inclusive, bohemian vibe. In 2017, it was ranked #5 in Best Cities for Women in Tech. In addition, PowerMoves NOLA is designed to support high-growth entrepreneurs of color.
- The state has a lot of generous tax credits & business incentives, including credits for technology commercialization, R&D, and digital interactive media & software development.
- The Silicon Bayou News will tell you that incubator & support groups like the NewOrleansBioInnovation Center, Idea Village, Launch Pad, and Propeller abound. Startups can also seek early-stage funding from initiatives such as Voodoo Ventures and New Orleans Startup Fund and contests like PitchNOLA.
But Silicon Bayou has its challenges. Tech entrepreneurs have complained about the lack of serious funding from venture capitalists and strategic partners. Louisiana’s universities are still in the first stages of constructing a pipeline of data scientists. And, quite simply, some businesses may be wary of pumping resources into a post-Katrina landscape.
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Louisiana Universities
Yes, the state has its tech blockages, but the University of Louisiana system is doing its best to remove them. For example, at the University of New Orleans (UNO), you’ll find:
- The UNO Research & Technology Park, with its Advanced Technology Center and Canizaro Livingston Gulf States Center for Environmental Informatics (GulfSCEI).
- A large number of faculty members in the Department of Computer Science who are working with data science & big data in the Narrative Intelligence Lab, the Bioinformatics and Machine Learning Lab, and GulfSCEI.
- Undergraduates participating in the GE Software Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SWEAP) and Eurofins Scientific and University of New Orleans Internship/Scholarship Program.
Plus, at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL), there is:
- The Informatics Research Institute, with its Center for Business & Information Technologies (CBIT), National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies (NIMSAT) Institute, and well-funded National Science Foundation Center for Visual and Decision Informatics (CVDI).
- Research labs in the Center for Advanced Computer Studies (CACS), with academic work on bioinformatics, AI, cloud computing, and the like.
- The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Research Park, which is full of labs & facilities, including a tech incubator and an immersive visualization complex.
That’s not to ignore the schools with specialist strengths. Often ranked in the top 15 of Public Health graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report, Tulane University is deeply involved in biodata. For instance, the Department of Global Biostatistics and Data Science hosts the Tulane Global Research Data Center (GRDC) and the Center for Bioinformatics and Genomics, with its Multiscale Bioimaging and Bioinformatics Laboratory (MBB).
Meanwhile, Louisiana State University (LSU) is busy building a reputation in business. The Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems (SDEIS) is focused on producing entrepreneurs who are grounded in business analytics & info systems. These students can also find support from the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute and its innovative Entrepreneurship Fellows Program.
Online Data Science Programs in Louisiana
You’re probably going to have to look elsewhere to find an online program in data science – Louisiana universities are still developing their strengths and most of them haven’t branched out into distance learning.
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
Fortunately, our directory of Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science has links to programs throughout the country, including many that are offered by top-name schools (e.g. Stanford).
Online Master’s Degrees in Data Science
We found only one program in the state – Louisiana Tech’s online Master of Health Informatics – that is tailored to working professionals. It’s open to students from a variety of backgrounds (not necessarily tech), though applicants who don’t hold a bachelor’s degree in health information management may be required to register for additional courses.
If this doesn’t suit your needs, check out our sections on Online Data Science Programs, Online Masters in Business Analytics Programs, and Online Masters in Information Systems Programs. They have both listings and advice.
Data Science Scholarships in Louisiana
For this section, we’ve only highlighted university scholarships that can be applied to the school’s data program. But the Graduate Studies Office will have more details on general scholarships and alternative financing options. For example, UNO provides a list of Graduate School Awards that are open to any student. Be sure to explore all your options!
Louisiana State University
- MS in Analytics Tuition Awards: The Graduate School awards up to 200 tuition exemptions to students from under-represented groups, with preference given to African-Americans and Latin Americans. Students must be admitted to a graduate program (i.e. the MS in Analytics) and nominated by the department (i.e. the Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems).
- Peace Corps Scholarships: High-achieving Masters International (MI) and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) can apply for Dean’s Grant scholarships of $5,000 for SPHTM programs.
- School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine Assistantships: Tulane offers a variety of graduate, research, and teaching assistantships to graduate students in SPHTM programs.
- School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine Master’s Scholarships: The Dean’s Office awards a number of partial scholarships to master’s students each year. Scholarships are based on merit, need, and other endowment requirements. There is no separate application process – all applications for accepted students with accompanying financial aid forms are considered.
- School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine PhD Scholarships: The Dean’s Research Council offers a limited number of full scholarships (tuition and a $24,000 stipend per year for two years) to doctoral students. Scholarships are based on a variety of academic achievements. There is no separate application process, but students should apply for the doctoral program by December 1.
Data Science Events in Louisiana
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Louisiana
Louisiana has a lot of potential meetups in data science, but not many in reality (which just goes to show that the industry is still in the baby phase). As you might expect, there’s a strong community of startup & tech groups in New Orleans.
- New Orleans Women in Tech (WIT): In addition to organizing hack nights & workshops, this group is striving to improve the local technology industry landscape for women.
- Net2NO: The self-titled “granddaddy of the tech and startup community,” is a New Orleans group of local entrepreneurs, innovators, and tech lovers. It hosts a variety of events, including hack nights and presentations.
- NOLA Meetup: Located at Launch Pad, this 1,000+ member group attracts New Orleans types who are interested in tech, startups, and entrepreneurship. Meetups are fairly regular and great for networking.
- Refresh Baton Rouge: Refresh is one of the more active meetups in BR. Designed as a community of digital designers & developers, it’s not really in the realm of data science. But it may help you connect with fellow tech professionals.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Louisiana
New Orleans is a fun place to visit, and major data conferences like to drop by. The Big Easy played host to ICDM: The 17th IEEE International Conference on Data Mining in 2017 and Insurance Analytics & Banking Analytics were there in 2016. Remember, too, that you have the option to travel to places like Austin & Dallas, Miami, and Nashville.
- Collision Conference: Billed as one of the fastest-growing tech conferences in the country, Collision attracts 20,000+ attendees and lots of top companies to New Orleans. Be sure to check out binate.io, which is wholly devoted to data science.
- Grow Your Company Conference (GrowCo): Created by Inc. Magazine, GrowCo is a three-day event in New Orleans with plenty of talks, keynotes, workshops, and networking opportunities.
- New Orleans Entrepreneurs Week (NOEW): The brainchild of Idea Village, NOEW is a week-long festival in March devoted to summits, pitch competitions, talks, networking, workshops, and fun.
- NOLATech Week: The largest free technology conference in the south is a blend of panels, keynotes, hackathons, workshops, job fairs, product launches – you get the picture. It’s held in October.
- PowerMoves@NOLA Conference: This flagship New Orleans conference showcases the most promising entrepreneurs of color from across the nation.
Data Science Jobs in Louisiana
When it comes to data science jobs in Louisiana, it pays to think creatively. Conventional job sites and WorkNOLA will have openings, but you could consider approaching a company directly.
- New Orleans Tech has links to some of the city’s hottest tech businesses.
- IBM has its own Baton Rouge Client Innovation Center with plenty of early-stage jobs.
- And we’ve already mentioned UNO Research & Technology Park, which has an intriguing list of park tenants.
We’re also talking about names like Quarrio (Business Intelligence for Salesforce), 365 Connect (tech platforms for the multifamily housing industry), Lucid (data-driven market research, ad tech, and business consulting), Susco (custom business software & mobile apps), Grok+Banter (Internet of Things and big data ad tech), and iSeatz (cloud-based digital travel services).
Another factor to consider is Louisiana’s close ties to Gulf industries. For example:
- GE Digital is a big local employer of tech workers – it’s focused on software development for customers in the electric power, water, and oil & gas segments.
- Oseberg provides data science & analytics services to the oil & gas industry from one of its offices in New Orleans.
- Terracon has a team of consulting engineers and scientists who specialize in environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials consulting & engineering services.
Finally, keep an eye on the educational technology market. Louisiana companies such as Torsh and Kickboard for Schools are doing some intriguing things with data, video, and coaching.
Data Scientist Salaries in Louisiana
According to Glassdoor, the average estimated salary for a data scientist in New Orleans was $93,017 in 2017. In Baton Rouge, the figure was only $88,994.
Glassdoor was working off a limited number of entries, so we’re reluctant to say these are the figures you’ll hear quoted when you receive a job offer. However, you can generally expect major companies like GE to pay well.
We found 5 universities in Louisiana 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.