Read our guide to schools, scholarships, research initiatives, professional communities, and job opportunities for data scientists in the Commonwealth.
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Southern Methodist University
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University of Denver
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University of California, Berkeley
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University of Dayton
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Or jump straight to our list of data science programs in Virginia.
Studying Data Science in Virginia
In 2014, the state launched Data.Virginia, an open source database of state statistics that encourages researchers and businesses to solve government challenges related to agriculture, healthcare, transportation and so on. Which is exactly what schools like George Mason, Virginia Tech and University of Virginia are doing with it.
Data Science Research & Initiatives at Virginia Universities
While all colleges offer degrees, only some regularly partake in research. Here’s what’s happening on that front in the commonwealth:
- Students pursuing an MS in Data Science at UVA will have great resources to work with. The university’s Data Science Institute (DSI) created Rivanna, a supercomputer. Other departments borrow Rivanna to deal with their own large datasets.
- The reason people parse data is to make better decisions. The Social & Decision Analytics Division at Virginia Tech aids in this endeavor through a variety of research projects covering mathematical biocomplexity, network systems science, and social and decision analytics. That’s just a small sample of Virginia Tech’s work. Elsewhere on the campus, the Discovery Analytics Center has created a system, EMBERS, that pulls from web-based data to forecast world events.
- The College of William and Mary houses the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, which is knee deep in stats. It researches a variety of topics within the realm of marine science.
Online Data Science Programs in Virginia
Although Virginia’s public universities have not yet developed online programs in data science, a couple of private universities are dabbling in distance learning.
Online Graduate Certificates in Data Science
Old Dominion University’s Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics and Big Data builds into the university’s MBA program. Its courses introduce students to statistics, modeling, databases and data analysis.
George Mason University’s Bioinformatics certificate lives at the edges of the discipline, and is reserved for biology researchers who need to use big data to power new genetic discoveries.
Online Master’s Degrees in Data Science
George Mason’s certificate seekers can continue on to earn an MS in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. They’ll get the chance to do some modeling, go in depth on research methods, or learn advanced programming.
Data Science Scholarships in Virginia
Virginia isn’t exactly bursting with scholarships reserved for future data scientists, but we’ve found a few that fit the bill. Apply to these school-based awards along with general scholarships from your college and other funding sources.
George Mason University
- School of Business Scholarships:
- Coleman Raphael Scholarship: School of Business students, including those seeking a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics, may apply for this award, which has no set amount.
- Johnson Family Scholarship: All School of Business students are eligible for funding from this endowed award.
- William C. Forgale Endowed Scholarship: High-achieving School of Business students with financial need may apply for the Forgale Scholarship.
University of Virginia
- Presidential Fellowship in Data Science: This fellowship opportunity encourages graduate collaboration on multidisciplinary research projects focused on solving real world problems.
- Shawn Michael Bryant Memorial Scholarship: Commerce students, including those in the Business Analytics track, can apply for a $2,500 award. To win it, you’ll need a record of community service.
Data Science Events in Virginia
Data Science Meetups & Communities in Virginia
You might think all of Virginia’s data science Meetups are clustered near DC. In reality, communities are popping up all the way south to Norfolk, home of Old Dominion University. You’ll find plenty of meetups focused on specific tools, as well as groups with broader interests in data science. Here are some bigger ones:
- Charlottesville Data Science: A growing group of data enthusiasts gathers sporadically for expert talks from academics and professionals in the area.
- Federal Big Data Working Group: These data junkies meet once a month at Xclerate Solutions in McLean to get updates on open data initiatives from the federal government.
- Full Stack Data Science: Data science doesn’t have to be a standalone discipline according to this McLean-based group, which works to help IT professionals use data across multiple business areas.
- Norfolk Data Science: Come once a month to the Slover Public Library to take hands-on workshops and grab some grub with your peers.
- NOVA Deep Learning: Deep Learning enthusiasts near DC listen to guest speakers talk about emerging theories and present new product features.
- AI + Big Data Healthcare Meetup: Members include researchers, professionals and even just healthcare users who think analytics holds the key to a healthier future.
Data Science Conferences & Workshops in Virginia
DC and its suburbs play host to dozens of conferences every month, some of which actually cover data science. While most big events pack up and head to another metropolis the following year, this local event keeps coming back:
- Big Data for Intelligence Symposium: The Defense Strategies Institute hosts its own two-day symposium in Alexandria, but this one is reserved for senior-level staff and contractors from IT providers and government agencies.
Data Science Jobs in Virginia
Virginia accommodates two main clusters of data scientists. The most obvious hotspot is in northern Virginia, where defense contractors and federal agencies. Think Deloitte, Lockheed Martin and Onyx Government Services. You can also go straight to the source and work for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington or hop across the Potomac to work for the General Services Administration, which created Data.gov.
There is plenty happening within state government as well, thanks to the aforementioned Data.Virginia project, which facilitates academic research to improve state services. Much of that research is happening around UVA in Charlottesville. With big firms like Elder Research and up-and-comers such as solarwinds, there’s no need to trek north for a job after graduation.
Data Scientist Salaries in Virginia
According to 2018 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Virginia data scientists (computer research scientists) earn an average of $129,840. The top 10% of jobs earn $181,460.
Data Science Programs in Virginia
We found 7 universities in Virginia 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.