Ohio’s three C’s — Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati — need data scientists, and the state’s universities are ramping up to meet the demand. You can find the programs on offer at our list of Ohio’s data science degrees. Or keep reading for a concise look at research initiatives, scholarships, professional communities and job prospects for data scientists in the Buckeye State.
Studying Data Science in Ohio
2017 may go down as the year Ohio got serious about data analytics, as that’s when it began encouraging the private sector to create data tools that address everything from transportation networks to education outcomes. And the state government’s data office, Ohio Analytics, is already mandated with increasing researchers’ access to data. Graduate students from Wright State University, Ohio State University, Miami University, Ohio University, Case Western Reserve University and University of Cincinnati all rely on its data to conduct research projects.
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Ohio Universities
Universities rarely wait around for states to tell them what to do. Ohio’s public and private institutions have made plenty of headway on their own. Here are some ways they’re using data to solve public and private sector challenges:
- The University of Cincinnati’s Center for Business Analytics does something unique: It brings companies on board as members. Corporations such as Macys, General Electric and U.S. Bank all get access to the center’s symposia and trainings. In return, students get a chance to network and impress potential employers.
- Bowling Green University also runs a Center for Business Analytics, which advertises consulting services to outside companies. A graduate assistant sits in on (or even leads) all consulting sessions, so students garner direct experience solving real-world problems.
- The Ohio State University’s Translational Data Analytics team focuses its research on three areas. The first is precision agriculture. It’s partnered with the U.S. Air Force to use drones that can monitor large swaths of land and collect data. The second is population health, for which it’s used big data to track the virus-like spread of violence. The last is digital humanities, which utilizes machine learning to analyze art, history and language.
- Since rolling out its data science program in 2014, Case Western Reserve has wasted no time collecting cash to conduct big data research. The National Institutes of Health gave it $900,000 in 2015 to collect and analyze loads of patient information. The Department of Energy followed that up with $1.4 million to perform energy audits to cut down on electricity waste. And an alum gave the school $1.5 million toward scholarships for grad students in the nascent Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems (ISSACS).
Online Data Science Programs in Ohio
Online data science education in Ohio is still in its infancy, with just a handful of public and private institutions jumping into the game at the graduate level. That could change at any moment, however, so use the online degree catalog at OhioLearns to stay updated on newly added programs within the state.
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
There are just two distance learning degrees to speak of here. Cleveland State University’s Data-Driven Decision Making certificate is a blended program designed for school administrators or data specialists focusing on K-12 education. Just down the road, Kent State University’s Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics is a six-course program of study centered on management processes.
Online Master’s Degrees in Data Science
The online MBA at Ohio University features a Business Analytics concentration that is just three courses. University of Cincinnati’s MS in Health Informatics couldn’t be more different. It’s built to be relevant for both health workers (such as nurses) without IT experience and IT professionals who haven’t worked in healthcare. Xavier University’s MS in Health Economic and Clinical Outcomes Research (HECOR) is similar but expects enrollees to already be familiar with statistics…because it’s going to get intense. Last, aspiring managers can take Kent State’s MS in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (with a concentration in Health Informatics).
Data Science Scholarships in Ohio
If you’re an on-campus graduate student, one of the first things you’ll want to ask about is assistantships, which allow students to pay for their degree and living expenses in exchange for time spent teaching, conducting research or doing other department work. Online students, meanwhile, rarely have such opportunities and should look for college or department scholarships. We’ve rounded up a few awards for aspiring data scientists at Ohio’s universities:
Bowling Green State University
- Analytics Program Scholarship: Apply before March to give yourself the best shot of winning one of the partial tuition scholarships. Your application to the program doubles as your application for funding.
- Department of Mathematics & Statistics Assistantship: More than 50 graduate students, including those in the MS in Applied Statistics program, receive $12,000 a year to serve as teaching assistants for undergraduate courses in pre-calculus, calculus and statistics. (Note: The Graduate College, which offers the MS in Analytics, runs its own assistantship program.)
- Summer Fellowship: Arrive early for your program in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics and be rewarded with a tuition scholarship of around $1,000 to $2,000 and a $1,000 stipend.
Case Western Reserve University
- MSM-Business Analytics Scholarships: When applying for admission, just mark that you want to be considered for scholarships. The program then determines funding based on the strength of your application.
Kent State University
- Health Informatics Leadership Scholarship: Two $5,000 awards are reserved each year for MS students in the Health Informatics concentration. To win one, you must have a 3.25 GPA and at least three years of professional healthcare experience.
Ohio State University-Main Campus
- College of Public Health General Scholarship for Second-Year MPH Students: The title tells you who’s eligible: every continuing student in the Master’s in Public Health program, including those studying Biomedical Informatics. You just have to send in a General Scholarship Application to be considered for one of the awards, worth up to $2,000.
- Department of Statistics Fellowships: Master of Applied Statistics students may be eligible for the University Fellowship with a 3.6 GPA and a GRE score in the 75th percentile. The Graduate Enrichment Fellowship has a lower threshold: a 3.1 GPA and a GRE score in the 40th percentile. All fellowship recipients receive free tuition and a $2,000 monthly stipend, in addition to a health insurance subsidy.
- Global Health Travel Award: Are you a second-year MPH student who needs money to study abroad or travel for research? Apply for this one-time grant of $1,500.
- Professional Development Award: Second-year MPH students can apply for $1,500 in funding to attend conferences relevant to their course of study.
University of Cincinnati
- OBAIS Department Assistantship: OBAIS stands for Operations, Business Analytics and Information Systems. Assistantships with the department come in many forms, from teaching to conducting research with the Center for Business Analytics. The department pays you for the work you do.
Data Science Events in Ohio
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Ohio
The Buckeye State has oodles of Meetups for prospective and practicing data scientists, many of them focused on individual tools. R users can find a community of peers at the Greater Cleveland R Group or at the female-only R-Ladies Columbus. Into Apache Spark? Try Cincinnati’s group. Hadoop users get clever with their acronyms in Cincinnati and Columbus, but stick to the basics in Cleveland. And even TIBCO and Azure Machine Learning users get in on the action in Columbus.
At the other end of the spectrum are groups geared toward generalists. Since there are so many in the state, we’ve sifted through the competitors to find the most active from each corner of Ohio:
- Cleveland Machine Intelligence: This niche group is fairly informal, focusing on coffee shop hackathons. Members drink lattes while dissecting pointers from the book “Data Smart.”
- Data Is Beautiful: This Cincinnati-based Meetup isn’t just for data visualization maestros. Each month, the group collectively works toward the next phase of a master project — from collecting open source data to processing it and, yes, ultimately visualizing it in unexpected ways. In 2016, for example, the group decided to puts its energy into using NBA game data to predict scores.
- Data Management Association International, Buckeye Chapter: Want to network? Pay for a DAMA membership to attend quarterly chapter meetings and expert presentations from professionals in the Columbus area.
- Dayton Data Visualization Group: This discussion-centered Meetup explores different tools for visualizing data. The group, which is hosted by Applied Information Sciences in Beavercreek, meets quarterly for presentations and pizza.
- Greater Cleveland Python/Julia/R Data Science Group: Got a competitive streak? Even if you’re a beginner, you can team up with experts from this group to take part in online data science competitions. The group typically meets once or twice a month.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. Meetup.com links to plenty of other active groups, with the greatest concentration found in the capital. The Ohio Data Visualization Meetup, Central Ohio Data Governance Meetup, Big Data Developers Columbus and Columbus Graphistas are just a few examples.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Ohio
It’s not that there’s a lack of events for data scientists in Ohio. It’s just that they are held so irregularly. A new event may pop up on the radar for a year but never return. In 2016, for instance, OSU hosted the Topology, Geometry, and Data Analysis Conference, but gave no indication if it will be a regular event. The same goes for the American Medical Informatics Association’s inaugural InSpire Academic Forum, also held at The Ohio State University in 2016. Other events run regularly and then go silent for a few years. Such is the case with the Northern Kentucky University Law + Informatics Symposium, held directly across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.
Therefore, you’ll have to be vigilant when scoping for networking and learning opportunities. We’ve managed to do some of the heavy lifting for you by highlighting a few small events that should run year to year in the state:
- Apex Symposium: In conjunction with the launch of its MS in Analytics programs, Wittenberg University founded a daylong analytical symposium. Intended to be an annual event for students and professionals in the Springfield area, the Apex Symposium features presentations from executive-level data analysts.
- Best Practices in Business Analytics Symposium: Every fall, Bowling Green State University hosts this one-day event featuring a morning panel discussion and afternoon presentations from winners of a student competition.
- MeasureCamp: MeasureCamp, held in Cincinnati, prefers the term “unconference” because the agenda is decided by attendees on the day of the event. Come ready to participate in discussions and even present on topics you’re interested in — but only if you want to. The point of MeasureCamp is that you should feel relaxed going there.
- Ohio Digital Government Summit: If you’re working in the public sector and have interests that cut across tech sectors, consider spending a weekend in Columbus for the Ohio Digital Government Summit. The agenda includes breakout sessions on data and analytics.
- University of Cincinnati Analytics Summit: Take the day to attend this event put on by the university’s Center for Business Analytics. Tracked sessions explore industry-centered themes such as healthcare, supply chains, and finance and insurance.
Data Science Jobs in Ohio
Let’s take a tour of Ohio, stopping off in its major cities. In the southwest corner of the state, Cincinnati looks out upon the Ohio River. It’s an easy place to imagine yourself as a data scientist. The University of Cincinnati is closely involved with big data, and the city government created an Office of Performance & Data Analytics back in 2014, which has encouraged local tech companies to grow roots in the state. They include InfoTrust (data services for marketers), Astronomer (data platform providers), and Rocklogic.io (cloud consulting).
Moving northeast along Interstate 71, you’ll hit Columbus in the center of the state. The capital has its own data scene. For starters, OSU employs over 150 faculty working in data science. But research is also coming out of the Columbus Collaboratory, a consortium of big name companies working in big data. The Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy recognized data analytics as a growth area, and its website maintains a detailed list of the biggest local employers of data scientists.
Get back on the interstate for one last stop, this time in Cleveland, on the shores of Lake Erie. The state’s largest city is home to Explorys, which you’ve probably never heard of. But you’ve likely heard of IBM’s Watson supercomputer. Watson uses Explorys’ data mining capabilities and access to millions of healthcare records to suggest treatment plans for doctors. Other major players in the big data market include Fortune 500 company Progressive Insurance, which is headquartered in Cleveland and cosponsors the Cleveland Big Data and Hadoop User Group alongside IBM.
Data Scientist Salaries in Ohio
According to aggregated data from Indeed.com, Ohio data scientists earn $97,000 a year — 25 percent less than the national average, with Cleveland salaries particularly low ($83,000). Glassdoor’s data seems to back this up, with job postings featuring salaries ranging from $60K on the low end to $130K on the high end. But that’s just fine in the Midwest, where residents enjoy a much lower cost of living than they would in San Francisco or New York.
We found 9 universities in Ohio 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.