Data science and analytics is becoming one of the most sought-after positions in the Illinois job market, despite the market being one of the smallest in the country. According to the latest BLS data, 4.48 percent of U.S. data scientists are employed in the state. These employees earn an average salary of $104,010 annually.
Illinois remains an attractive spot for career data scientists for various reasons, the most alluring being the host of top U.S. universities within the state. There’s also a huge job market in and around Chicago from an array of exciting employers from fields such as tech and research.
Therefore, it is easier to build a career in data science within Illinois, with the learning institutions offering undergraduate, graduate, PhD programs, bootcamps, and certificates for learners interested in starting or growing their data science careers.
These learning opportunities are available in public and private universities with on-campus or online learning options.
Let’s dive deeper into Illinois’s data science and analytics programs and some of the most in-demand job opportunities available in the state.
Data Science Master’s Programs in Illinois
Getting a master’s degree in data science and analytics in Illinois sets you up for great employment opportunities in a state with a great job outlook for individuals interested in a data science career.
Most job opportunities are concentrated around Chicago, with about 4,000 data science and analytics jobs in the metropolitan area.
Chicago boasts of these many job opportunities because of many employers and startups who’ve set up shop in the Windy City, such as Narrative Science and Uptake. Moreover, Chicago hosts several data science and analytics workshops and conferences.
The rest of the state adds more employment opportunities for career data scientists with master’s degrees, featuring several spaces such as agriculture and healthcare. These jobs come from big companies and employers such as United Airlines, Kraft Heinz, and Discover.
Individuals with a master’s degree or even higher or slightly lower academic qualifications can apply for positions such as senior engineering to analyst-level roles.
The average salary is also higher than that of nearby midwestern states. However, it slightly lags behind the national average of about $123,850. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois’ competitive wages for data science and analytics roles beat those offered in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, and Missouri.
Illinois also attracts data science and analytics talent because of its fair cost of living, which is estimated to sit around the national average. Statewide, grocery, healthcare, and housing costs are below U.S. metrics.
However, Chicago is the most expensive city and area to live in the state. The median home cost is $230,000. Still, this is only $15,000 above the national benchmark, making Chicago one of the most affordable U.S. cities regarding housing.
The overall median home cost in the state of Illinois is $180,000.
Pursuing a master’s degree in data science and analytics requires a strong computer science, data analytics, and math background. Fortunately, you can build a strong base from the great selection of courses available in the state’s top public and private universities.
Roughly twelve schools in Illinois offer Masters of Data Science programs, with the option of on-campus or online learning. These learning institutions also offer the option of earning graduate certificates while working full-time in data science and analytics jobs.
Some Illinois universities also champion the drive toward big data, making them a top selection for anyone within and outside the state. For instance, Illinois hosts the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).
There’re also several research centers, such as the industry-focused Illinois Applied Research Institute, that’s linked to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
The University of Chicago hosts the Center for Data Science and Public Policy, which is involved in several philanthropic research areas. The center is part of the much larger and famous Computation Institute, a joint venture between the Argonne National Laboratory and The University of Chicago.
There’s also the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO), a research institute founded in 2004 and funded by big players such as NSF, Army Research Lab, NIH, and McArthur Foundation. NICO tackles all big data research areas.
NICO is part of Northwestern University, also known for funding data science scholars.
Some examples of on-campus data science master’s degree programs available in Illinois include:
Aurora University – Dunham School of Business
- Aurora University offers a one-year on-campus Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Analytics program that teaches marketing analytics, media strategy, data visualization and storytelling, and brand planning.
- This marketing-focused program requires a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with official transcripts. It can also be optionally completed fully online.
Benedictine University – College of Business
- Benedictine University, located in Lisle, offers a Master of Science in Business Analytics program that focuses on data analytics and quantitative methods in providing data-driven solutions for businesses.
- The program is also available in a plus one format. Thus, students taking a related undergraduate program can enroll. With this format, similar courses count for credit in both degrees, giving the student the flexibility of completing both courses within five years.
DePaul University – Kellstadt Graduate School of Business
- DePaul University offers a Master of Science in Business Analytics program to transform the students into data-driven decision makers. The institution offers evening-hour courses fit for data science professionals with ongoing employment.
- There’re admissions in each of the four seasonal terms. The program features 13 courses broken down into nine core subjects, with the rest being offered as specializations. The options include Enterprise Risk Management, Economic Analysis, and Data Science.
DePaul University – College of Computing and Digital Media
- DePaul University, located in Chicago, offers a Master of Science in Data Science program on-campus through the College of Computing and Digital Media. This program offers Health Care, Computational Methods, Marketing, and Hospitality concentrations.
- Prerequisite courses for this program include statistics, entry-level programming, and computational tools.
- The course features a final capstone project consisting of an internship, analytical project, or thesis. There’s also an option to do the course fully online.
Illinois Institute of Technology – College of Science:
- Illinois Institute of Technology, through the College of Science, offers a Master of Data Science program, which offers advanced education when working with software applications, system design, and probability methods.
- Applicants must submit their GRE scores, at least one letter of recommendation, and a statement of career goals.
Illinois Institute of Technology – Computer Science
- Illinois Institute of Technology, located in Chicago, also offers a Master’s in Data Analytics program that offers core courses and electives for the student. Half of the curriculum covers the core subjects, while nine credit hours are dedicated to the electives.
- The student also gets six credit hours dedicated to the capstone project, delivered at the end of the program.
- The elective courses include cloud computing, operating systems, Bayesian computational statistics, and data mining.
Online Data Science Programs in Illinois
Online data science programs in Illinois are a great option for working data science and analytics professionals seeking to sharpen their skills and climb the ladder in their careers. Online courses offer the flexibility to manage a busy work-life-family schedule while attending to your academic needs.
Several top Illinois institutions offer online data science master’s programs in flexible non-working hours. Here’re a few examples:
- Duration: 52 graduate credit hours
- Cost: $865 per credit hour
- DePaul’s University offers a fully online Master of Science in Predictive Analytics program to prepare students for solving real-world problems using data analytics. Students can choose a concentration from Marketing, Health Care, Computational Methods, and Hospitality.
- Students must complete a minimum of 52 graduate credit hours plus three introductory courses. Each credit hour costs $865.
- Competitive applicants have a GPA score above 3.0. You also require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, relevant professional work experience, a CV, an official transcript, and a $25 application fee.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Duration: 32 credits
- Cost: $600 per credit hour ($19,200 total)
- The University of Illinois offers a fully online Master of Computer Science in Data Science program that takes 32 credits to complete. The program is offered by its Urbana-Champaign campus.
- Students must complete eight courses in total focusing on data mining, machine learning, and data visualization. The course requires no electives nor a thesis to receive the graduate degree.
- The recommended qualifications for applicants include a GPA score of 3.2 or above and relevant coursework or expertise in the computer science discipline. Tuition costs $600 per credit hour, translating to $19,200.
- Unfortunately, the Department of Computer Science offers no research or teaching assistantships. Therefore, you must seek alternative financial aid opportunities through the Office of Student Financial Aid.
- Duration: 30 credits (2 years)
- Cost: $885 per credit
- Elmhurst College offers a fully online Master in Data Science program from the Computer Science and Information Systems Department. This program takes two years to complete and trains students how to organize and analyze information to use it to make changes and help businesses.
- The program teaches data science fundamentals such as data systems, data gathering methods, and programming languages. Students with an undergraduate degree in any major from a regionally accredited institution can apply.
Example Data Science Courses in Illinois
Here’s a summarized table of data science courses available in Illinois.
|Master of Information Technology and Management (MITM) – Illinois Institute of Technology||Data Analytics||Data analytics professionals||$27,408|
|Master of Science in Information Systems and Analytics (MSISA) – Loyola University||Data Analytics||Data analytics professionals||$4,575 per module|
|Masters in Data Science Online – Northwestern University||Data Science||Data science professionals||$58,860|
|Master of Science in Analytics – University of Chicago||Data Analytics||Data analytics professionals||$62,556|
|Data Analytics, M.S. – University of Illinois Springfield||Data Analytics||Data analytics professionals||$11,206|
Data Science and Analytics Bootcamps in Illinois
If you’re financially strained or academically unqualified to take a data science master’s degree in Illinois, you can jumpstart your career by joining a data science and analytics boot camp in Illinois.
Bootcamps quickly and efficiently introduce you to data science and analytics through hands-on experience. These bootcamps may be dedicated to data science, data analytics, or both.
Data science bootcamps teach how to extract knowledge from data sets, while data analytics bootcamps teach how to draw specific conclusions from data.
Examples of data science and analytics bootcamps in Illinois include:
|Bootcamp Provider||Name of Program||Time||Cost|
|Northwestern University||Northwestern Data Science and Visualization Bootcamp||24 weeks||$12,995|
|Metis||Chicago Data Science Bootcamp||15 – 20 hours a week||$11,000|
Data Science PhD Programs in Illinois
Several on-campus data science and analytics PhD programs are available in Illinois universities. Data science and analytics PhD programs help students get into the field of research in data science and analytics.
Here’re a few examples of data science PhD programs offered by learning institutions in Illinois.
University of Illinois
The College of Applied Health Sciences offers this PhD program. It’s designed for students seeking further education in biomedical and health informatics.
Students must complete at least 40 hours of research under the direction of two mentors in a particular focus area. Students taking this program have direct access to the university’s tertiary care hospital and associated outpatient clinics to assist their research.
University of Illinois
The PhD in Business Administration: Information and Decision Science (IDS) Emphasis prepares students to make data-driven decisions in a business setting. The program offers advanced machine learning, business-centric statistics, and data mining training.
The student must complete 32 hours of dissertation research and take courses in Statistical Models, Applied Statistical Methods, Real Analysis, and Data Structures.
Five In-Demand Analytics Jobs in Illinois
Here’re five of the most in-demand data science and analytics jobs in Illinois:
1. Data Scientist – Major corporations in Illinois, such as United Airlines, often look for data scientists to fill positions in their organizations. The preferred qualifications for such a role include a master’s degree in a quantitative field with an estimated payment of $115,000 annually.
2. ML Engineer – Corporations such as McDonald’s also look for ML Engineers to help develop growth strategies and consumer understanding. The typical pay ranges from $94,000 to $137,000 annually.
3. Computational Scientist – Machine Learning – Learning institutions such as the University of Chicago seek computational scientists for their research centers. The typical pay ranges from $83,000 to $120,000 annually.
4. Quantitative Researcher – Major corporations based in Chicago, such as TikTok, seek quantitative researchers to help with measurement, research, and analysis. The typical pay ranges from $110,000 to $160,000 annually.
5. Data Analyst – Chicago-based companies such as Nordstrom seek data analysts to help make data-driven decisions within the company. The typical pay is around $113,000.