Bikes and nudity aside, Silicon Forest is a data lover’s paradise! If you’re thinking of life in Portlandia, glance through our guide to earning an OR data science degree. It has details on everything from university research & scholarships to meetups, conferences, and job opportunities. Already have a university in mind? Skip ahead to our list of all the data science programs in Oregon.
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Studying Data Science in Oregon
The old story went like this: Oregon is strong in tech manufacturing & semiconductors (and little else). Portland serves as a useful outpost to Seattle and Silicon Valley, but it’s not a center in its own right. The state doesn’t have enough top universities and investor networks to grow.
But data scientists in the Beaver State know different:
- In the past few years, there’s been a Pacific Northwest tech migration. Techies with families and fresh air aficionados have fled to the Portland suburbs.
- Tech giants are allowing employees to telecommute or work from their Oregon outposts. Data scientist/analyst postings are flooding job boards.
- Startups are enjoying Portland’s laid-back vibe, and organizations like the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) are busy promoting entrepreneurship and tech education.
According to EMSI figures, the technology workforce in the Portland’s Multnomah County grew a whopping 82% from 2010-2016, with particular growth in the software sector. In the 2017 map of CompTIA Cyberstates, Oregon ranked #8 in Innovation. We’re going to put the old story to bed!
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Oregon Universities
Oregon universities are right behind the state’s drive to improve its big data reputation, with Oregon State University (OSU) leading the way. Just to take a few examples of OSU’s work:
- The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) is responsible for $12 million+ in research expenditures and boasts many IEEE fellow awards. It has sturdy facilities, weekly colloquiums, and a very active Data Science and Engineering (DSE) group. It also works with the OSU Open Source Lab on projects for organizations such as the Apache Software Foundation, the Linux Foundation, and Drupal.
- The Department of Statistics runs the big data-fed Survey Research Center and its numerous faculty members are working on diverse research projects in areas like statistical genetics, biostatistics, and data analysis.
- The Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing (CGRB) is the node of genome-enabled and data research at the university. It’s in charge of the CGRB Biocomputing and Bioinformatics facility and it organizes all kinds of seminars, internships, technology workshops, and annual conferences.
Portland State University (PSU/PDX) is another strong contender:
- The Department of Computer Science has a smorgasbord of research labs in areas like AI, databases, and HPC, and a number of PSU academics are involved in the Intel Science and Technology Center for Big Data.
- If you love logistics & transportation, then be sure to investigate PSU’s Transportation and Research Consortium (TREC). It supports PORTAL – the official transportation data archive for the Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan region.
And we shouldn’t neglect the University of Oregon (UO) in Eugene:
- The Department of Computer Science has a number of relevant research groups (e.g. visualization, HPC, data mining, etc.), with similar research highlights in the Department of Operations and Business Analytics.
- In conjunction with various media analytics partners (e.g. comScore), the School of Journalism and Communication has developed its own Insights and Analytics Lab.
Finally, we should talk about health. Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is the state’s only public academic health & research university and one of the state’s largest employers. With its top 30 U.S. News & World Report ranking for Best Medical Schools: Research and its strong Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology (DMICE), OHSU is making a name for itself in bioinformatics.
At DMICE, you’ll find:
- The Informatics Discovery Lab, with its emphasis on local partnerships and hands-on training in real-world data.
- Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiatives, including several funded Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) grants that are focused on enhancing data science training in biomedical research.
It’s also worth looking at the work being done in OHSU’s Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) and the joint OHSU-PNNL Northwest Co-Laboratory for Integrated ‘Omics.
Online Data Science Programs in Oregon
OSU is the state’s leader in data-driven distance learning, but UP and OHSU also have skin in the game. If you’re trying to assess the true quality of a program, run your eye over our checklist of things to look for in an online data science program.
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
- Analytics: OSU’s online Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics is an 18-credit program that will lays a foundation in analytics. Though it’s packed with statistics courses, real-world applications are emphasized. You can transfer up to 15 credits into OSU’s online MS program.
- Business: Offered by the AASCB-accredited Pamplin School of Business, UP’s Business Analytics Certificate comes in three formats: hybrid, on-campus, or 100% online. As you might expect, it’s focused on corporate applications, with courses in database management, decision modeling, optimization, and business analytics.
- Clinical Informatics: OHSU’s Graduate Certificate in Clinical Informatics can be taken online or on-campus. Aimed at working professionals (e.g. physicians, nurses, healthcare IT professionals, etc.), this 24-credit program includes core training in biomedical informatics and clinical information systems. You can also choose 15 credits of interesting electives (5 courses).
Online Master’s Degrees in Data Science
- Analytics: OSU’s online Master of Science in Data Analytics is a 45-credit program with coursework in statistics & analytics and big data & machine learning. You’ll have plenty of choice in electives (12 credits/4 courses), with opportunities to tackle genomics, data visualization, data mining, and more. Like the graduate certificate, all courses are taught by full-time OSU faculty members.
- Business: OSU’s hybrid MBA in Business Analytics is offered by the AASCB-accredited College of Business. The 60-credit program is 80% online and 20% on-campus, with core coursework in management, markets, financial analysis, and advanced information systems. 15 credits are devoted to hard-core business analytics.
- Clinical Informatics: OHSU has two CAHIIM-accredited options for healthcare professionals: the Master of Science (MS) or the Master of Biomedical Informatics (MBI) in Clinical Informatics. The curriculum for the MS and MBI is basically the same – you’ll be schooled in key principles of biomedical informatics, healthcare, computer science, statistics, and project management. However, the 60-credit MS includes a thesis and the 52-credit MBI has a less-intensive capstone project. Both degrees can be taken on-campus or online.
Data Science Scholarships in Oregon
For this section, we chose to highlight university scholarships & fellowships that would apply to degrees in our directory. Typically, you’ll find little (or no) internal funding for graduate certificates and online programs. But talk to the Office of Graduate Studies before you make a decision. You may be able to take advantage of in-state rates, low-interest loans, and other “hidden” aid.
Oregon Health & Science University
- Excellence in Informatics Scholarship: This award is open to second-year MS or MBI students, either in the Clinical Informatics or Bioinformatics track. Students must be enrolled in an on-campus degree, be involved in volunteer activities for the program, and have a GPA of 3.5 or better. Financial need is not a requirement, but it will be considered.
- National Library of Medicine Fellowship: OHSU is one of 14 programs funded by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and this generous fellowship is open to PhD students in the OHSU Biomedical Informatics program. It includes a stipend based on the NIH postdoctoral fellowship salary, health insurance, conference travel, and all tuition and fees.
Data Science Events in Oregon
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Oregon
Portland is awash in data science meetups, including specialist groups like Environmental Data Science, Portland Deep Learning, and the Google Development Group (GDG) PDX. The ones we’ve listed are part of PDX Data Science – a consortium of independent meetups in the Portland area. Check out its website for more useful links and resources.
- Portland Data Science Group: Data collection, mining, retrieval, munging, analysis, and visualization – it’s all here! With 2,000+ members and tons of presentations & informal meetups, this group is a great place for beginners and experts to get their hands dirty.
- PDX Data Engineering: This technical engineering group is focused on data-oriented architectures and use-cases; all levels of expertise are welcome. Organizers are also on the board of the Data Administration and Management Association (DAMA) Portland Metro Chapter.
- PDX MarTech: “Mar” stands for Marketing, and this friendly Portland group is deeply interested in the intersection of business marketing and technology.
- Portland R User Group: Portland’s local R user group has 1,000+ members and plenty of chances to play around with projects & packages.
- PDX Data Viz: If you love data visualization, monthly talks, and lots of exposure to cool work & techniques, this is the group for you! Meetings have strong speakers and are usually very well-attended.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Oregon
Calagator is a unified calendar for the technology community of Portland, and it often lists upcoming data science conferences & workshops. You also have the option to take a few days to hit big events in California and Washington.
- Cascadia R Conference: Founded in 2017, this young conference aims to serve R users in the Cascadia-ish region (Oregon/Washington/BC). Though it’s obviously focused on R, talks on data science and other programming languages are part of the proceedings.
- Open Source Bridge: This volunteer-run event is designed for developers working with open source technologies. It’s a quirky conference that includes plenty of sessions on the possibilities of big data applications.
- Oregon Digital Government Summit: ODGS is deliberately aimed at state and local government organizations who want to use tech to implement best practices and spur innovation. We’re talking topics like drones & government, Cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
- PyDX: Held in Portland, this Python love-in is full of ideas, projects, and best practices. There are plenty of talks and tutorials, including sessions for Python beginners.
- TechFest NW: Billed as a “Global Tech Conference on the Upper Left Coast,” this Portland event attracts experts in tech, design, entrepreneurship, and innovation (and data scientists). It’s held in conjunction with PitchFest NW – a conference designed for startups.
Data Science Jobs in Oregon
Intel has been the state’s largest tech employer for many a year, but it’s not the only big cheese on campus (so to speak). Portland, in particular, is stacked with opportunities:
- It’s in Portland where you’ll find satellite offices of Google, eBay, HP, Salesforce, Airbnb, New Relic, Yieldbot, and more.
- The city hosts the headquarters of data-driven companies like Tripwire, Digital Trends, Vesta Corporation, and Cloudability.
- The Portland Startups List and the Portland Startups-AngelList have tons of links to tech companies and potential investors.
Prospects are so good on job boards that we’re going to let you have at it!
Data Scientist Salaries in Oregon
According to Glassdoor, the average estimated salary for a data scientist in Portland was $105,988 in 2017; Indeed.com put the average salary even higher, at $141,206. (Glassdoor’s figures include the Hillsboro area, where Intel is located.)
Portland tech salaries have gradually been rising over the years (up 10% in 2015), with a parallel rise in prices. In 2017, the cost of living in the area was very high. Housing was the major issue – 205 compared to the national average of 100.
We found 4 universities in Oregon 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.