If Carolina is calling, you’re in the right place. Our guide to earning an SC data science degree has the skinny on everything from research & scholarships to jobs, meetups, and salary numbers. Already have a university in mind? Skip ahead to our list of all the data science programs in South Carolina.
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Studying Data Science in South Carolina
As tech boosters at SC Innovation Hub, the South Carolina Angel Network (SCAN), and the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) might say, “South Carolina is going out a data science youngster, but it’s coming back a star!”
Charleston is the most likely to succeed. The Charleston Digital Corridor is becoming a worldwide phenomenon, biotech and life sciences sectors are humming, and the CharlestonWorks™ directory is packed with tech-related companies who are hiring. Google has a center in Goose Greek and Googlefest stops by the city every spring. Silicon Harbor even has its own magazine.
But we shouldn’t overlook the other ingenues. Greenville is the birthplace of The Iron Yard and home of the GSA Technology Council (GSATC); Columbia’s industries benefit from data work at the University of South Carolina (USC); Greenville is known for its advanced manufacturing; and Fort Mill is right next to the booming tech scene in Charlotte, NC. The state has a way to go before it’s famous, but it’s trying very hard.
Data Science Research & Initiatives at South Carolina Universities
When it comes to data science research, South Carolina universities often have certain sweet spots:
- University of South Carolina (USC) & Business: For future data titans, the Moore School of Business has a Center for Applied Business Analytics and a Risk and Uncertainty Management Center. Startup founders will also find support at the Faber Entrepreneurship Center and the hyper-active USC/Columbia Technology Incubator.
- Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) & Bioinformatics: MUSC’s Department of Public Health Sciences has an abiding commitment to biostatistics, bionformatics, and epidemiology. You’ll see evidence of this in the Biomedical Informatics Center, the Bioinformatics Core (MBC), and the joint PhD in Biomedical Data Science and Informatics that MUSC offers with Clemson.
- Clemson University & Genomics: Using the powers of its Palmetto Cluster, Clemson is doing some fascinating stuff with big data at the Clemson University Genomics Institute (CUGI) and the Institute of Translational Genomics (ITG).
But Clemson goes above and beyond. Its Social Analytics Institute is all over social technologies; the School of Computing has a number of data science research labs; the Watt Family Innovation Center is partners with the SAS® Institute; and Clemson’s International Research Network Connections website maintains a catalog of international big data science programs.
Online Data Science Programs in South Carolina
South Carolina’s online offerings are pretty slim, but a few of the major universities are represented. If you’re worried about committing to a distance learning degree, take a quick glance at our advice on what to look for in an online data science program.
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
When it comes to online data science graduate certificates, there’s not much in South Carolina. Fortunately, a number of well-respected schools in other states (e.g. Northwestern, Purdue, Stanford) have developed programs. You’ll find them all in our directory of Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science.
Online Master’s Degrees in Data Science
On the flip side, South Carolina has a number of choices for master’s students:
- If you love the theory & practice of analytics, USC’s online Master of Applied Statistics is a stats lover’s dream. The degree includes the option to take SAS® Certification electives.
- If you’re an aspiring tycoon, Clemson has a blended MBA in Business Analytics (part online, part on-campus) that tackles topics such as business intelligence (BI), data management & warehousing, information systems, and the like. An internship is required.
- If you can’t get enough of healthcare data, MUSC’s online Master of Science in Health Informatics will make you an expert in electronic health records (EHRs), data management, and analytic systems. Students can choose to write a thesis.
Data Science Scholarships in South Carolina
For this section, we focused on funding that specifically applied to the school’s data program. However, the Graduate Studies Office will have lots of info on general aid (e.g. diversity scholarships) and alternative financing options. For example, in USC’s MAS program, students from Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky can apply for in-state tuition credits from the SREB’s Academic Common Market.
- PhD in Biomedical Data Science & Bioinformatics Graduate Assistantships: Each year, the program offers a number of graduate assistantships based on merit. The assistantship includes a stipend and the benefit of tuition remission.
University of South Carolina-Columbia
- Department of Statistics Graduate Teaching Assistantships: Students in the MS in Statistics program may be eligible for an assistantship. The Department only offers 5-10 new teaching assistantships to MS and PhD students each year.
Data Science Events in South Carolina
Data Science Meetups & Communities in South Carolina
Carolina is still building its data science community, but most cities have at least one major meetup. Better yet, USC’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering maintains a list of local Columbia Technology Events. If you’re in the Fort Mill area, you can also take advantage of the scores of groups in Charlotte, NC.
- Carolina AI Meetup: Sponsored by SIOS Technology Corp., this is a relatively new kid on the block. Areas of interest include AI, big data, Hadoop, MapReduce, predictive analytics, data mining—the gamut. It’s based in Columbia.
- Charleston Data Analytics: CDA is the biggest data science meetup in Silicon Harbor, with lots of talks & tutorials on tools & technologies (e.g. neural networks, machine learning in R, etc.). Meetings are usually held in Charleston’s Iron Yard.
- Charleston Women in Tech: It may not be as focused as some of the other meetups, but women data scientists will find a lot of support here. There are regular seminars, networking events, mentor luncheons, and volunteer opportunities.
- Greenville Data Science & Analytics: This group is open to data scientists of every level and interest (e.g. business analysis, SQL, R, etc.). Meetups take place at Furman University.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in South Carolina
Like other toddler tech states (e.g. Kansas), South Carolina hasn’t reached the point where it’s a regular stop for Predictive Analytics World (PAW), Strata+Hadoop World, and MLconf. But it’s not far from the Southern Data Science (SDC) in Atlanta, big data events in North Carolina, and conferences in Florida. If you can drive or fly, you’ve got options! More general events include:
- Carolina Technology Conference: Held in Columbia, CTC is a general conference open to anyone working in IT, security, or tech management. Sessions cover everything from data-driven cloud strategies to information governance.
- Charleston Angel Conference: A boutique matchmaking event for accredited investors and emerging companies. In 2016, Charleston-based Dynepic beat out 30 startups to win a $100,000 investment.
- Dig South: Dig South is Charleston’s flagship tech event (and usually a pretty good party)! There’s an Innovation Conference, an invitation-only C-Level Summit for execs, and a Wild Pitch for growth-stage startups & accelerator grads. Bring your networking game.
- Gilbarco Retail Technology Conference (RTC): Held at Myrtle Beach, RTC covers the tools & technologies that give retailers a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
- Revolve Conference: Billed as the place where design & creativity meet marketing & strategy, Revolve is pretty broad. But it will give you the chance to mix & mingle with Charleston entrepreneurs who are building businesses, brands, products, and services.
Data Science Jobs in South Carolina
Fancy the life in Silicon Harbor? You should be loving it. Boeing and Google have a sizeable presence in Charleston, but the city also plays host to innovative tech firms like:
- Blackbaud, which develops software and services specifically designed for nonprofit organizations.
- RiskSpan’s Analytics Center, which specializes in financial analytical software and advisory services.
- Catalytic Data Science, which has created a life sciences digital research platform.
- Sales Analytics, Inc., which is a cloud-based business analytics platform for businesses with legacy computer equipment.
That’s not to mention all the startups. Or companies like KSH Solutions and CACI International that provide cyber security & engineering solutions to the federal government. Or the biotech firms. Or the aerospace sector. As we mentioned in the intro, the CharlestonWorks™ directory is a great place to start your job search.
Another center to keep an eye on is Fort Mill. There are a number of big banking & financial players in the area (e.g. Citigroup and LPL Financial Services) and the state has been active in luring tech businesses to the Lancaster County area. These include CompuCom, which has its global headquarters in the Bailes Ridge Business Park, and Red Ventures, which is a massive marketing firm with many digital needs.
If you’re in or around Columbia, the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator, BlueCross BlueShield, and Palmetto Health are names you’ll probably be hearing a lot. The Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC) also has a list of the city’s major employers, which include Michelin, GE Power & Water, Concentrix, and SYNNEX.
Data Scientist Salaries in South Carolina
According to Glassdoor, the average estimated salary for a data scientist in the Charleston area was $93,871 in 2017. In smaller hubs like Columbia & Greenville, you could expect a bit less.
Charleston’s number is well below the national average, which is skewed by Silicon Valley and NYC, but also below the average salary of $97,930 in Charlotte, NC. And due to the rising popularity of Silicon Harbor, housing in Charleston can be pricey.
We found 3 universities in South Carolina 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.