A new 10-month master’s program in data science launched this fall at UBC is designed to give students the skills they need to turn messy data into insights in health care, industry, research and beyond.
But the program isn’t all about tech skills.
“We’re focused on students whose main expertise might not be in computer science, engineering or statistics,” said Giuseppe Carenini, co-director of the program and an expert on artificial intelligence.
“The goal is to help them build the expertise to succeed technically, but also extract and communicate meaningful insights to decision makers in fields like the life sciences, healthcare, business and journalism. The interdisciplinary focus of the program really sets it apart.”
The program welcomed its first cohort of 22 students this fall—including students with professional backgrounds in the health and social sciences, economics, engineering as well as the arts . It includes courses on programming, databases and algorithms, but also on collaborative software development, communications, ethics and security.
“I was attracted to the MDS program because it brings together computer science and statistics and provides us with a practical project to implement what we learn," said Sahir Moosvi, one of the program’s inaugural students.
A survey conducted in 2015 by International Data Corporation Canada found that over half of large Canadian organizations cited a lack of talent as a major impediment to successful completion of big data projects.
“No doubt there’s a need for people who can intelligently make sense of ever-bigger amounts of data from an ever-wider array of sources,” said UBC statistical scientist Paul Gustafson, who co-directs the program with Carenini.
“So as more and more fields try to leverage big data, the career options could expand even more.”
A panel discussion at UBC Robson Square this Wednesday will discuss the data science ecosystem across British Columbia. Applications for the UBC Master of Data Science September 2017 cohort will open December 5, 2016. Application deadline is March 31, 2017.