4 US universities shaping tomorrow’s leaders in information and data sciences

UT Dallas
Source: UNC Charlotte

An understanding of technology and data cannot be understated in today’s tech-driven era. The digital economy sees so much information being exchanged each minute. This requires experts, including those trained in information and data sciences, to extract and make sense of huge amounts of information to help create business value and help business leaders make data-driven decisions.

As the field of information technology continues to transform economies worldwide, expertise in information and data sciences — including areas such as computer science, programming and mathematics, among other disciplines — will grow. Those with an interest in any of these fields will need to adapt and evolve their skills to meet the demands of the future.

Today, many universities offer related degrees to these fields to educate and train future experts in the information technology world. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. These occupations are projected to add about 667,600 new jobs, it said.

If you’d like to join the ranks of famous computer and technology individuals such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg; Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; father of the Java language James Gosling; and computer scientist Yann LeCun, known for his work in deep learning, here are four US universities that offer related programmes in the field:

University of North Carolina at Charlotte: College of Computing and Informatics

The College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a renowned national and international leader for computing and informatics studies. This is hardly surprising — UNC Charlotte draws from over 70 years of experience in the field, delivering various programmes via its four departments within the College.

UT Dallas

Source: University of North Carolina at Charlotte: College of Computing and Informatics

CCI is one of the largest colleges of computing in the country, as well as the fastest growing and most diverse in the Mid-Atlantic. The College is renowned for its innovative education and research in all aspects of computing. The college consistently ranks highly for African-American, female, Hispanic and first-generation college computer science graduates.

The numerous strategic partnerships and collaborations with top industry companies allow students to gain in-depth practical applications of theories. As a result, CCI produces in-demand graduates who not only have the technical acumen, but also the life skills and ethics needed to be powerful contributors to the field.

CCI offers bachelor, master and PhD level programmes. Their master’s students can participate in the Business Partners Programme and choose from single, dual and professional degrees; PhD students can expect to pursue interdisciplinary research in areas such as AI, Machine Learning, Cybersecurity, and Bioinformatics; students are encouraged to apply to several fellowships and scholarships for additional funding.

University of California, Irvine

The University of California, Irvine is home to the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), which started as a department in 1968 before being formally recognised as an independent school in 2002. Through ICS, UCI continues to lead information technology education and research across the globe.

Data Sciences

UCI has more than 37,000 students and offers over 200 degree programmes. Source: The University of California, Irvine, Facebook

The School has a unique perspective on the information technology disciplines. This paves the way for research initiatives that explore the many applications of the computing discipline — from circuits and systems to software engineering and human aspects of computing.

ICS has over 2,800 students taught by over 100 world-renowned faculty and has 11 research centres, including the Center for Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems. ICS offers a number of undergraduate and graduate-level programmes.

Those who are interested in data science can opt for the four-year B.S. in Data Science programme, where students will develop a strong foundation in statistics and computer science, before taking more specialised courses in their third and fourth year. Graduates could be qualified for roles such as data scientists, data analyst or statistician, in either public or private sectors, or continue to graduate school.

ICS also offers an array of graduate programmes. This includes a Master of Data Science, a 15-month, full-time programme that anchors the curriculum on hands-on training in applied probability and mathematical statistics, statistical modelling and computing, machine learning, data management and visualisation and artificial intelligence.

University of Arizona

 The University of Arizona is home to the multidisciplinary School of Information, under the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Students can find a number of undergraduate and graduate-level programmes to cater to varied interests.

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The University of Arizona on a beautiful day. Source: The University of Arizona School of Information, Facebook

Those looking to do their master’s can choose from three master’s areas, including an M.A. in Library and Information Science, M.S. Information and M.S. Data Science. The M.S. Data Science provides students the training they need in data collection, exploration, manipulation and storage, analysis and presentation to navigate data-rich workplace environments.

With these programmes, students can become specialists in areas like information management, data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI). Students will get to learn from interdisciplinary faculty with expertise in computational science, management information systems, information behaviour and research knowledge of AI, data management, human-computer interfaces, among others.

Their faculty and students are also engaged in research areas such as the IoT, data science, social network analysis and computational social science. The university is home to The Centre for Digital Society and Data Studies, which supports a wide variety of research and is an added advantage for research scholars. Here, researchers address challenges related to a variety of things, including privacy concerns in a big-data era, the democratisation of AI, and more.

For internships, students can request help from University of Arizona Student Engagement and Career Development, or check out Handshake, the university’s online job-board and campus interviewing system. The Bear Down Network is a great alumni association for many networking opportunities as well.

University of Texas at Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) is home to the top-ranked Department of Computer Science, the flagship department of the Erik Jonsson School of Computer Science and Engineering. It is a top public university nestled in one of the US’ fastest-growing metropolitan regions.

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UT Dallas’ Department of Computer Science is known for its research excellence. Source: The University of Texas at Dallas, Facebook

The Department of Computer Science offers degrees in computer science and software engineering, as well as interdisciplinary degrees in telecommunications engineering and computer engineering. UT Dallas’ eight schools offer over 140 undergraduate and graduate programmes, as well as professional certificates and fast-track programmes.

The university’s computer science programme is one of the largest computer science departments in the US. There are over 4,000 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,010 master’s students, 140 PhD students, 52 tenure-track faculty members, and 42 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2021.

The Department is also known for its research excellence. Its research faculty are engaged in cutting-edge research in areas of AI, ML, cybersecurity, data science, networks, systems, theory and software engineering.

The Department also has more than 40 research labs that students can access 24/7. There are also two open labs for graduate students. Their graduate programmes in computer science offer intensive preparation in design, programming, theory and applications. Courses and research are offered in a variety of subfields of computer science, including AI, ML, IoT, database design and computer networks, among others.

UT Dallas is also home to the UTDesign Studio, which serves students from UTDesign Capstone (or the Jonsson School engineering and computer science senior capstone programme), EPICS, Makerspace and Startup. Several companies also locate their on-campus internship programmes at the studio.

Some of the schools featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International