Hearing intriguing rumors about Kansas City and St. Louis? You might want to trust them. To get you up-to-speed on developments, we’ve put together a short guide to earning an MO data science degree. Already have a school in mind? Skip ahead to our list of all the data science programs in Missouri.
Studying Data Science in Missouri
Missouri is a hidden gem in the world of data science. In CBRE’s 2016 report on Scoring Tech Talent, Kansas City was ranked #1 (yep, #1) in Small Tech Talent Market Labor Pools, with a growth rate of 41.6% from 2010-2015. Likewise, in a 2015 job survey, Dice placed St. Louis in the top 10 cities/regions of the country with the most growth in IT.
So what are all these data specialists working on? The Internet of Things, Ag tech, biotech, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, financial services—you name it.
- According to Missouri Partnership, the state is the second largest automotive trade hub (behind Detroit) and home to 100 aerospace manufacturing companies. Boeing Defense, Space & Security alone employs 14,000+ people.
- Missouri’s fertile soil is fueling research at companies such as Monsanto, DuPont, the Yield Lab, and NewLeaf Symbiotics, as well as non-profits such as the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
- Advances in biotech and medical research are being fostered by organizations such as the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute (KCALSI) and the BioSTL coalition.
- St. Louis is where you’ll find the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) West, which provides intelligence to warfighters, policymakers, intelligence professionals, and first responders.
Even new tech companies can rely on serious support. There are communities such as the Missouri Innovation Center and the Cortex Innovation Community; investment funds such as the public-private Missouri Technology Corporation; booster organizations such as LaunchKC and Accelerate St. Louis; and entrepreneurial non-profits such as the Kauffman Foundation.
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Missouri Universities
Happily, Missouri universities are eager to support the state’s surge in advanced industries. We can’t cover every data-driven initiative, but here are a few highlights…
- Thanks to its Saint Louis University Center for Health Outcomes Research (SLUCOR) and its medical school, Saint Louis University (SLU) has a serious stake in healthcare data. Along with its traditional degree programs, which have led to a top 10 ranking in Best Health Care Management Graduate Schools, SLUCOR has developed a specialized analytics training program for hospitals throughout Missouri. This innovative project was created in partnership with the Missouri Hospital Association and Missouri’s Hospital Industry Data Institute (HIDI).
- One of the University of Missouri’s major data investments is the University of Missouri (MU) Informatics Institute—a multi-prong initiative devoted to bioinformatics, health informatics, and geoinformatics. It has a large number of research labs & centers, many focused on health and biology. Geospatial intelligence is something of a Mizzou specialty. In 2016, the College of Engineering was awarded a five-year, $12 million contract to provide data science training to the NGA workforce. This is a collaborative effort between Mizzou’s Center for Geospatial Intelligence (CGI) and the MU Informatics Institute.
- Meanwhile, Washington University in Saint Louis (WUSL) is exploring the business side of big data. Ranked in the top 25 of Best Business Schools, the Olin Business School has close ties to Boeing (e.g. the Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation (BCSCI)) and its Center for Customer Analytics & Big Data (CCABD) is very tight with the corporate world. Not only that, but WUSL is a key player in medical research—the McDonnell Genome Institute is one of only three NIH-funded large-scale sequencing centers in the United States and it’s actively involved in the Human Genome Project.
Online Data Science Programs in Missouri
Compared to other “mid-tier” states, Missouri schools are deeply invested in distance learning for data scientists. We’ve listed general things to look for in an online data science program elsewhere, so here we decided to concentrate on your choices in the Show-Me State.
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
The major player in online graduate certificates is Missouri S&T, which has no less than four distance learning programs. Two are offered by the Department of Business and Information Technology:
- Online Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics and Data Science
- Online Graduate Certificate in Business Intelligence
And two are offered by the Department of Computer Science:
- Online Graduate Certificate in Big Data Management & Analytics
- Online Graduate Certificate in Big Data Management and Security
The business certificates can be used as a gateway to the university’s MBA or the MS in Information Science and Technology; the big data certificates as a gateway to the MS in Computer Science. This means if you earn a B or better in each certificate course, you can proceed to a graduate degree without being required to submit GRE/GMAT scores or letters of recommendation.
If you’re thinking about reputation, it’s worth noting here that U.S. News & World Report ranked Missouri S&T #16 in Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA) and #6 in Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs in 2017.
Not only that, but the university did extremely well in the 2016 PayScale College ROI Report, which evaluates a student’s 20 year net ROI from a degree. It was ranked #20.
Online Master’s Degrees in Data Science
You’ll have your pick of specialties when it comes to online master’s degrees in data science—almost every university in Missouri has developed an option. Even better, each school has tried to stand out from its competitors by personalizing the program. For example:
- Mizzou’s online Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics allows you to pick an emphasis area in biotechnology, high performance computing, human centered design, strategic communications, geospatial, or data journalism.
- Missouri S&T’s online Master of Science in Information Science and Technology has only four core courses and scores of specializations (e.g. human-computer interaction, enterprise resource planning with a SAP Certificate, computer networks, communication systems, e-commerce, etc.)
If you’re interested in the business side of data science:
- Maryville’s online Master of Science in Business Data Analytics includes skills-focused credits, an analytics capstone, and preparation for SQL and AZURE certification.
- SLU’s online Master of Science in Applied Analytics has coursework that melds tools and technologies with human and organizational applications.
Another option is Grantham’s online Master of Science in Business Intelligence. This is an IACBE-accredited program with discounts on tuition for members of the military, veterans, and military families. However, we should point out that Grantham is a for-profit university; it is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), but it is not regionally accredited.
Data Science Scholarships in Missouri
Here we chose to focus on university scholarships and assistantships (i.e. institutional aid) that specifically apply to the school’s data programs. But don’t take this list as the end! The Graduate Studies Office will have more info on general aid (e.g. diversity scholarships), alternative financing options (e.g. low-interest loans), and tuition discounts.
- Eugene “Gene” Jewett Memorial Scholarship for Business Students: This generous scholarship is open to any student enrolled in a degree offered by the Mark Skousen School of Business, including the online MS in Business Intelligence.
Missouri University of Science and Technology
- Graduate Teaching & Research Assistantships: The university offers a limited number of assistantships to graduate students. Part-time teaching is mandatory in some departments.
Saint Louis University-Main Campus
- Master of Science Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Scholarships & Assistantships: SLU offers research and teaching assistantships to well-qualified MS candidates. The university has also received a five-year NSF grant to fund scholarships for students in this program—up to $10,000 each year, based on need and merit. Check the website for details.
Washington University in St. Louis
- Dean’s Scholarship: All full-time Specialized Masters Program (SMP) candidates at the Olin Business School, including students applying to the MS in Customer Analytics program, are automatically considered for this merit-based scholarship.
Data Science Events in Missouri
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Missouri
Missouri has plenty of meetups for big data geeks, often with a technical edge. In addition to our list, you may also want to check out Kansas City IT Professionals (KCITP), which is one of the largest tech communities in the nation (13,000+ members), and the Transforming Data with Intelligence (TDWI) St. Louis Chapter, which is explicitly geared toward Business Intelligence & data warehousing professionals.
- Data Science KC: DSKC is the “biggie” in Kansas City. It has 1,200+ members and hosts regular monthly meetups for data scientists interested in statistical analysis, predictive modeling, and visual representation. There are also hack nights and hands-on workshops.
- Kansas City Internet of Things Meetup: Folks with any interest in IoT should check out this group. There are targeted talks and demos, as well as a number of networking opportunities.
- Machine Learning Kansas City: It may be small (300+ members), but this meetup has all kinds of fascinating presentations revolving around ML in business and non-business environments—real, in-depth work.
- Saint Louis Big Data Meetup: Though it doesn’t meet as regularly as St. Louis Machine Learning (see below), this meetup has an interesting mix of webinars, conferences, and ties to events such as the Big Data & Analytics Learning Series.
- St. Louis Machine Learning & Data Science: This is one of the biggest and most popular meetups in the city. Its talks and hands-on workshops tend to focus on hard-core skills in Machine Learning, NLP, AI, statistics, big data, etc.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Missouri
Missouri cities are not yet at the point where they can attract events such as Strata+Hadoop World, IEEE International Conference in Big Data (IEEE Big Data), and MLconf. However, there are plenty of smaller conferences that pack a punch. If you can afford the plane ticket, you may also want to look at options in Austin/Dallas, Chicago & Detroit.
- Big Data Summit KC: Founded by the Kansas City Big Data Group (a local meetup), this summit is a two-day event focused on the future of big data. The agenda usually includes lots of case studies, with coverage of the latest tools and technologies.
- Midwest Bioinformatics Conference: Hosted by UMKC, this annual two-day conference focuses on the practical use of data analytics and data science in animal and human health.
- Missouri S&T Research and Technology Development Conference: Missouri S&T’s annual conference brings together academics, students, researchers, and industry. Though it’s not focused explicitly on data science, there are usually plenty of talks on big data subjects (e.g. Midwest Big Data Hub Lightning Talks).
- StampedeCon Big Data Conference: Billed as the “Midwest’s Premier Big Data Conference,” this popular event attracts all kinds of professionals interested in big data technology and management. In addition to the conference, StampedeCon also organizes an IoT Summit and Artificial Intelligence Summit.
- Techweek Kansas City: Like Techweeks in other major cities, this weeklong festival is packed with community events, startup showcases, company demos, parties, and a growth summit. It’s a good pick for entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and other tech professionals who are trying to network.
Data Science Jobs in Missouri
In your search for data science jobs in Missouri, you’re likely to see the names Monsanto and Boeing pop up frequently. That’s no surprise, considering their size. But as we mentioned in the intro, IT professionals are now involved in a diverse set of industries. For example:
- In the field of bioscience and pharma, Missouri plays host to Sigma-Aldrich, Appistry, MOGene Genomic Services, Confluence Discovery Technologies, and the U.S. headquarters of Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.
- Companies such as Cerner, Centene, and Express Scripts are awash in healthcare data.
- Financial services firms such as H&R Block, Edward Jones, Scottrade, Wells Fargo Advisors, and Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) all have their headquarters in the state.
And did we mentioned retail companies such as Hallmark, ag-related businesses such as Rabo Agrifinance, and the second largest office of Square? Plus all that startup activity? If Missouri continues its growth pattern, employment listings (and academic openings) look likely to increase.
Data Scientist Salaries in Missouri
In 2017, Glassdoor noted that the average estimated salary for a data scientist was $98,021 in Saint Louis and $98,030 in Kansas City. These figures were a little below Boston, a little above Washington DC, and about the same as Atlanta. Combine it with Missouri’s very reasonable cost of living, and you’re looking at a good deal.
One cautionary note—Glassdoor is working off fewer job listings than big states like California, so estimates may be skewed by lucrative offers from companies such as Monsanto.
We found 10 universities in Missouri 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.