A US Senate Commerce Committee hearing in 2013 examined a highly lucrative area of healthcare data mining. CBSNews.com examined the issue concerning a segment of the data mining industry that creates marketing lists of individuals believed to suffer from certain diseases like cancer or diabetes.
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Such companies track social media and medical websites. Seemingly innocuous information such as what type of car a consumer drives or what types of TV shows they watch, when cross referenced with other data, can lead to individuals being identified and land them on lists like this. Often, individuals have no idea that they are even on a list or that marketers are buying their names and contact information.
Senator Rockefeller raised questions about these practices in the Senate hearing on the topic and raised questions about how consumers can protect themselves. Advertising Age summarized the Committee’s report, which noted that the large data broker companies Experian, Epsilon, and Acxiom have been “secretive with the Committee with respect to their practices.” These companies refuse to identify the sources of their data or which customers purchase it.
Even as senate hearings on the matter are expected to continue, this development has helped cement West Virginia’s position as a leader in establishing privacy standards related to the handling of massive data assets.
Data Science Starting Salary Ranges in the Biggest Cities of West Virginia
Data science is big business in West Virginia—especially in the 73-mile stretch of the state’s I-79 High Technology Corridor. This area has long been home to the world’s largest cluster of identity security and biometric firms.
West Virginia has Senator Byrd to thank for the presence of such prominent high tech firms as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Byrd offered the FBI full funding for its expansion of the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) as long as it relocated to West Virginia, and the FBI built the facility in Clarksburg.
Lockheed Martin chose to locate its Biometric Experimentation and Advanced Concepts Center (BEACON) in White Hall due to the proximity to federal agencies such as the FBI and DOD, intelligence agencies, and academia. Additional high-powered federal research facilities in the High Tech Corridor include the DOE’s National Technology Lab in Morgantown and NASA’s Independent Verification and Validation Facility in Fairmont.
Starting salary ranges for data scientists in West Virginia were exceptionally high in both Morgantown and Charleston according to Robert Half Technology (2016). This tech staffing firm places thousands of jobseekers around the US each year and has amassed a wealth of highly accurate information on starting salaries. Their salary figures do not include relocation compensation or bonuses.
Atlas Van Lines reported that 65% of the companies it surveyed in 2011 provided full relocation compensation. More than half of this funding went to new hires.
Robert Half accounts for geographical variation in West Virginia by drawing from US Bureau of Labor Statistics research to provide comprehensive and up-to-date salary expectations for data scientists in the state:
- Morgantown: $94,000 – $133,000
- Clarksburg: $94,000 – $133,000
- Wheeling: $84,000 – $119,000
- Charleston: $94,000 – $133,000
- Parkersburg: $82,000 – $116,000
- Marietta: $82,000 – $116,000
- Huntington: $88,000 – $124,000
90th Percentile Salaries for Data Scientists Working in Three Distinct Roles
90th percentile salaries for data scientists working in the industries and specialized roles in which they are most commonly employed in West Virginia are shown here (2015, West Virginia Department of Commerce):
Computer and Information Research Science
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 the 90th percentile average to reflect the fact that data scientists are recognized as the top earners within each classification.