In 2015, the University of North Dakota developed the Midwest Big Data Hub (MBDH) using financial support from the National Science Foundation’s regional Bid Data Innovation Hubs program. The MBDH is designed to use big data sets to propel cost-effective innovations in areas like manufacturing and medicine to improve the quality of life in North Dakota. By creating data science initiatives like the MBDH, North Dakota cultivates better conditions for more high-salaried data science jobs to thrive.
According to North Dakota’s Workforce Intelligence Network, the following employers posted the highest number of data science job openings advertised online in January 2016:
- Noridian Healthcare Solutions, LLC
- Archway Marketing Services, Inc.
- Indian Health Service
- CompuCom Systems, Inc.
- Essentia Health
- Harvey Nash, Inc.
- North Dakota Legislative Council
- Rational Interaction
That year, the top industries for data science professionals in North Dakota included: government, finance and insurance, and management of companies and enterprises.
Starting Salary Ranges for Data Scientist in North Dakota’s Major Cities
According to an article published by Forbes in 2015, although the Bakken shale boom is slowing down in North Dakota, the tech industry is picking up. In fact, the number of tech jobs statewide has more than doubled between 2009 and 2015. Fargo in particular has experienced a 38% employment growth trend since 2000 as a result of a surging tech and business climate.
Fargo is also the site the Kauffman Foundation’s tech initiative “1 Million Cups.” The initiative seeks to spark a national dialogue among entrepreneurs, educators, and tech workers like data scientists to present ideas in a supportive atmosphere. In recent years, 1 Million Cups has created support for local startups including Clifton Labs, Protosthetics, Kayla Cares 4 Kids, and Sycorr.
Grand Forks is also a rising star in North Dakota’s developing tech scene. In 2015, the New York Times called the state a “Silicon Valley for Drones” after North Dakota invested $34 million in its unmanned aerial vehicle business. A significant amount of this investment was used to turn the Grand Forks Air Force Base into the country’s first business park dedicated solely to drone technology, research, and business.
Also located in Grand Forks in the University of North Dakota’s Center of Innovation, which continues to lay the groundwork for startup companies to succeed, grow, and create jobs for data scientists. Since its inception in 1984, the Center has supported 670 startups, generated more than $140 million in investments, and helped launch over 6,000 employment opportunities. Examples of local companies affiliated with the Center include:
- Dimensions Photography, LLC
- Microbeam Technologies, Inc.
- Bank of North Dakota
- Precision Property Management
- Black Gold Farms
- Edge Data
- Argent Space Technologies
- Sharper Shape
In 2016, the IT recruitment agency Robert Half Technology provided the following starting salary ranges for data scientists employed in North Dakota’s major cities. These salary figures were calculated using past job placement information and do not account for additional incentives or bonuses:
- Fargo: $94,000-$132,000
- Grand Forks: $83,000-$117,000
- Bismarck: $97,000-$137,000
- Minot: $97,000-$137,000
- West Fargo: $94,000-$132,000
- Williston: $97,000-$137,000
- Dickinson: $97,000-$137,000
Average Salaries for Major Data Science Jobs in North Dakota
In 2014, the United States Department of Labor provided salary statistics for North Dakota’s data scientists in a number of different roles and industries:
Statistical Modeling Salaries in Bismarck
In 2014, the United States Department of Labor found that private industry and public sector organizations in Bismarck employed more than 60% of North Dakota’s statistical modeling professionals. The capital city was also named among the top ten highest paying metropolitan areas for statistical modeling professionals in the country:
- Bismarck – $82,950
Operations Research Salaries in the Fargo ND-MN Region
Forbes ranked Fargo as the 4the fastest growing small city in the US in 2014. The city is also a major employment location for data science professionals. In fact, the United States Department of Labor found that companies in the Fargo ND-MN region hired two-thirds of all data scientists in operations research working in the state that year. Citywide, employers paid these data scientists an average annual salary of:
- Fargo – $117,000
The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics information shown here reflects salary data for broad occupational classifications that include data scientists. These estimates are expressed as 90th percentile averages to reflect the fact that data scientists are recognized as the top earners within each classification.