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September 15, 2016

Today, Montana Tech received approval by the Montana Board of Regents to offer the first standalone Bachelor of Science degree in Data Science offered in the Montana University System. The Data Science degree will be jointly run by the Statistics Program and the Department of Computer Science at Montana Tech.

A version of the Data Science program has previously been offered at Montana Tech as a concentration under the Statistics degree. The new Data Science degree Montana Tech will be offering has been redesigned to meet the needs of the job market.  The Data Science degree focuses on the statistical and computational aspects required of a modern data scientist.    “We are thrilled to offer the Data Science degree at Montana Tech as it will help undergraduate students compete in the growing field of Data Science in which there is currently a tremendous demand. Data Science has been called the “sexiest career of the 21st century” and is an exciting new field in the information and technology sector.” noted Dr. Richard J. Rossi, Director of the Statistics Program and former Head of Mathematical Sciences at Montana Tech.

Montana Tech will be the only university in the Montana University System offering a certificate or bachelor’s degree in Data Science. Montana Tech is also the only university in the Montana University System to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics. Along with Computer Science and Software Engineering, the Data Science and Statistics degrees position Montana Tech as a leader in preparing students for careers in the information and technology fields. Montana Tech’s Data Science degree is a rigorous degree emphasizing strong data analysis and data management skills, strong points of Montana Tech’s Statistics and Computer Science programs. There is currently an enormous demand for well-trained data scientists with strong statistics and computer science skills. The current demand for data scientists can be seen in the number of data science related jobs posted on Glassdoor (3,500), LinkedIn (55,000), Simply Hired (88,000), and Indeed (21,000).  According to Indeed, there has been more than a 15,000 percent increase in the demand for data scientists since 2011, and a shortage of trained data scientists is forecast by the International Data Corporation (IDC). IDC has predicted a need for roughly 180,000 professionals with data science skills in the US by 2018 and a need of nearly one million professionals with data management and data interpretation skills. Students graduating with a degree in Data Science from Montana Tech will have excellent job opportunities in high paying jobs such as data scientists, statisticians, business analytic professionals, data warehousing and database administrators, and software developers. The median salary for a well-trained data scientist according to a Glassdoor survey is around $113,000; the average salary for a software developer is $85,000 and the median salary for a programmer is $65,000.

Students with strong math skills and an interest in computer programming are well suited for the Data Science degree at Montana Tech. For more information, please contact Dr. Rick Rossi at 406-496-4356 or rrossi@mtech.edu.