Going to Big Sky Country to study big data? We’ve scoured the state’s graduate schools to deliver a list of all the programs. Read on to connect to data scholarships, events and employers.
Studying Data Science in Montana
Montana is a haven for tech entrepreneurs, and groups like the Montana High Tech Business Alliance are trying to keep it that way. The biggest problem for most companies looking to break into data science is 1) having a skill-ready workforce to tap into and 2) getting graduates to stay in Montana. Both are beginning to happen. In 2017, Montana Tech became the first school in the state to offer a BS in Data Science, which should feed more students into the state’s graduate programs and onto careers.
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Montana Universities
- The University of Montana Data Science Initiative (DSI) draws a diverse set of researchers to find data-driven solutions in sectors as diverse as journalism and healthcare. Much of the DSI research emanates from the Statistics and Applied Math Core in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, but it’s all cross-disciplinary. Recent research involves analyzing Twitter data to understand African Americans’ opinions on higher education court cases, examining hospital bills to detect Medicare fraud, and visualizing seismic data.
- The first MS in Business Analytics cohort from University of Montana graduated in 2017. Two of those students won a contest to solve a problem a Seattle bike-share program had in 2015: All the bikes accumulated at a few stations. The students gamified the system to encourage people to bike uphill.
Online Data Science Programs in Montana
There’s not much shaking (yet) in Montana’s distance learning scene, but the excellent Academic Degree Program Inventory on the Montana University System website ensures you’ll be the first to know about new online options like the one below:
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
The Health Care Informatics graduate certificate at Montana Tech is the closest the state comes to having an online data science degree. The five-course program takes students with a bachelor’s degree in an IT discipline (or work experience with a baccalaureate in another discipline) and gives them healthcare administration skills. Or vice versa — healthcare staff get IT skills. Certificate holders work can contend for jobs in hospitals that don’t require patient care — for example, as systems analysts who streamline patient intake procedures or specialists who train healthcare workers on database use.
Data Science Scholarships in Montana
Montana doesn’t have a lot of universities, but it has a decent amount of data science scholarships thanks to one of its flagship campuses:
University of Montana
- School of Business Administration Scholarships: Full-time grad students in the Business Analytics program are eligible alongside their MBA and MAcct counterparts for departmental awards. Each scholarship is worth a different amount and has its own eligibility criteria, but students can apply for all awards with a single scholarship application.
Data Science Events in Montana
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Montana
Just like hard-to-find data, Montanans are spread out, meaning there are few communities of data science enthusiasts off of college campuses. The following is an exception:
- Bozeman Area R useR Group: Love R and live in Bozeman? This group of useRs meets once a month, typically in the Montana State University library, to learn from area academics and professionals how to better leverage the program to solve statistical problems.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Montana
If education data is your jam, put this event on your calendar:
- Montana Data Use Culture Conference: Since 2015, the Montana Office of Public Instruction in Helena has welcomed K-12 educators to the Data Use Culture Conference. The curriculum involves two days of learning how to leverage analytics to improve student performance.
Data Science Jobs in Montana
There’s been a lot of talk about how Bozeman is the new tech boomtown, with analytics and automation firm Elixiter leading the way. But there’s plenty to be found across the state. DataSmart Solutions, a small company in Helena, specializes in using predictive analytics to help healthcare providers and insurers lower costs while improving patient care. Diamond B Technology Solutions, headquartered in Billings, uses analytics software from another Billings company, salesfloorLIVE, to mine customers’ data and help them fine-tune their business operations. Agile Data Solutions in Missoula specializes in e-discovery, creating algorithms to help companies efficiently find internal documents they need and store data for simple analysis.
There are a couple of ways to go about a job search. The easiest is probably to enter the University of Montana system and take advantage of internships with industry partners. The second is also simple. Find an analytics company through the Montana High Tech Business Alliance. The consortium’s entire purpose is to grow Montanan companies and recruit skilled tech workers, so of course it runs a job board.
Data Scientist Salaries in Montana
Glassdoor estimated the salary of data scientists in Bozeman, Billings, Helena and Missoula to be around $90,000 a year in 2017, compared to $113,000 nationally. Senior data scientists, the site suggests, should earn around $105,000 annually. Neither are bad in a state where the average worker earns $40,000 a year.
We found 2 universities in Montana 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.