KAMLOOPS—A new Master of Science in Data Science program kicks off at Thompson Rivers University in September to meet the growing demand for data scientists.
With the guidance of faculty members, students in the two-year program will dig deep into interdisciplinary solutions, using mathematical, computational, statistical and algorithmic techniques to solve complex data problems.
Faculty of Science Dean Tom Dickinson said the program allows students to do a project or thesis that involves using data to solve a problem faced by a business or industry.
Career prospects for graduates are only going to improve, as data is being used increasingly to inform decision making, strategizing and planning in a wide range of industries, including health care, manufacturing, banking and communications. While Dickinson already has a significant response from applicants, he’s encouraging anyone interested to submit their application by the May 1 deadline.
Data scientists use data to develop big-picture strategies, visions and planning, as opposed to data technicians, who are more involved with information collection, day-to-day operations and calculations. The need for data scientists is underscored by the current COVID-19 pandemic, which requires the analysis of health information on a global scale in order to produce accurate forecasts.
“The demand for this (specialization) is going up 30 percent a year in the past few years,” said Roger Yu, professor of mathematics and statistics and the director of the Centre for Optimization and Data Science. “Data is an ingredient or resource for this information age. Everything relies on data.”
Students require a foundation in math, statistics and computing science, while developing a specialization in an area of interest. Applications of data science reach almost every corner of modern life, for example, bank fraud detection, cancer screening, consumer behavior monitoring, pandemic forecasting and speech recognition.
“It’s so new and has so much potential. The sky’s the limit,” said Yu.
Michele Young, Marketing and Communications