Data Science Programs in Illinois
Various schools in Illinois have the option to complete a Master's degree in data science either online, on-campus, or a combination of the two.
Lewis University in Romeoville in particular has accelerated graduate certificates that can be received with just a year's worth of study, while the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has an online MS in Computer Science that has curriculum focused around machine learning, data mining, and data visualization.
There are quite a few other on-campus options for a data science degree in Illinois, especially within the Chicago and its suburban areas.
Online Data Science Programs in Illinois
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Online MS in Computer Science in Data Science
An Online Master of Computer Science in Data Science can be obtained through the Grainger College of Engineering. This program requires 32 credit hours, or eight courses, to complete the degree. The core curriculum is divided up into subjects surrounding machine learning, data mining, data visualization, and cloud computing. Three courses must be advanced coursework offered, such as Theory and Practice of Data Cleansing, Foundations of Data Curation, Practical Statistical Learning, and Advanced Bayesian Modeling. There are also two capstone projects to choose from in cloud computing or data mining.
Courses are only offered during specific semesters. For example, Text Information Systems is only in the fall and Intro to Data Mining can only be taken in the spring. Core courses must all have a letter grade of B- or higher to count toward the degree. Some courses will take the entire 15 weeks of the semester to complete, but others will be shorter.
Distribution of the courses are through the Coursera MOOC platform. Lecture videos and lesson notes will be on this platform and can be completed at the student's desired pace, but there will be assignments, exams, and projects that will have set due dates. These courses are different than traditional Coursera offerings with the addition of the University of Illinois staff.
DePaul University MS in Data Science
At the College of Computing and Digital Media, a Master of Science in Data Science can be completed 100 percent online and there are four unique concentrations to choose from: Computational Methods, Health Care, Marketing, and Hospitality. All of the introduction, foundation, and advanced courses are offered online, but some electives are not available. There are various capstone project options to complete the degree with: completing a predictive analysis course, creating a data analytics project, completing an internship in the analytical field, or submitting a thesis.
52 credit hours are needed to complete the program and students must maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher. The curriculum is the same on-campus as it is online, so students have the option of blending face-to-face meetings and working online, and all course material will be available on-demand. Admission is accepted in all four quarters of the school year. Graduates have gone on to work at places such as Amazon, Facebook, and IBM after completing this degree.
Lewis University Online MS in Data Science
The online Master of Science in Data Science provides graduate students the skills in data mining, data visualization, data management, and predictive analysis. The entire curriculum is available online and there are no requirements to meet on campus. The 33-credit hour program has two concentrations to choose from: Computer Science and Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. Job positions such as a marketing advisor, health care analyst, and business intelligence director are ideal opportunities after completing this program.
Most students complete the program between 18 to 24 months, but for those looking at a more accelerated path can check out the graduation certificates that can be obtained within a year. The curriculum is also fully available online with the following classes: Introduction to Data Mining and Analytics, Statistical Programming, Data Visualization, Large-Scale Data Storage Systems, Machine Learning, Mathematics for Data Scientists, and Programming Fundamentals.
Scholarship Opportunities within Illinois
Numerous scholarships can be obtained at DePaul University. The Father Ralph Panza Renaissance Scholarship is open to any graduate student (and undergrads) that are enrolled in a program in the College of Computing and Digital Media. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate strengths in computing, service, or art. The Dr. Steven C. Rubinow Endowed Scholarship is limited to graduates in the school. The award for both of these varies each academic year.
At the Illinois Institute of Technology, a partial tuition scholarship is awarded to those that have high GRE scores when entering a Master of Data Science program. The Starr Research Fellowship and Fieldhouse Research Fellowship is given to graduates who are nominated by faculty members and doing research projects. Up to $15,000 each academic year can go to tuition or be used as a stipend.
Data Science Careers in Illinois
Illinois is a hotbed for the tech industry, in no surprise to the booming growth of the Chicago metro area. There are over 439,000 people employed in the sector according to CompTIA, which is fifth-highest nationally. It is also the 10th-fastest growing state, which is higher than many surrounding areas outside of Michigan. Software and web developers make up the most job positions with cybersecurity, network administration, and computer support specialists close together afterwards.
Along with the most employment in the Midwest, Illinois offers the highest average salary at over $80,700. In data science specifically, the Chicago area sees around a $106,00 salary on average, but that is roughly 10 percent lower than the national average.
Data Science Events, Meetups, and Conferences in Illinois
The Data Science Conference
The Data Science Conference Website
Hosted at various cities each year, the upcoming 2020 edition will take place in Chicago. This is a unique conference that has professionals meeting other professionals and there are no vendors, sponsors, or recruiters. Essentially, no sales pitches are allowed and other companies cannot pay additional sponsorship money to gain an advantage in recruiting. The two-day event has various speakers throughout both days with networking at lunch and on the first night. Other cities that have hosted this conference since 2015 are Seattle, Washington, and Boston, Massachusetts.
Metis: Chicago Data Science
This group is sponsored by Metis and helps advance people’s careers into data science with bootcamps and developmental courses. On a weekly basis, there are livestreams that deep dive into specific topics like Python and “ask me anything” programs for curious prospects in the field that want to know more about data science and Metis specifically. Many of these events are offered through webinars and Slack channels.
Illinois Data Science Career Statistics Information
- Number of people employed within the tech industry: 439,541
- Change in jobs from 2017 to 2018: 5,873
- Average tech industry salary in Illinois: $80,769
- Estimated Illinois tech salaries ranging from $48,833 to $123,428
- Male Employment: 167,708 (68%)
- Female Employment: 78,760 (32%)