University News

New Master’s in Data Science Prepares Students for Fastest Growing Field in U.S.

The exponential growth in the amount of data collected has increased the need for professionals who can understand and interpret what it all means.

November 29, 2018

Data Science
The TCoE’s Master of Science in Data Science program is being moved from San Francisco to New Haven.

Data Science has revolutionized banking and media; it’s a field, said Keith Dillon, that’s been “steadily getting hotter for over a decade as companies and governments have amassed larger and larger data sets. At the same time, new data science technologies such as scalable computing to process so much data, and machine learning to make sense from it, are really hitting pay dirt.”

Many fields are still doing things “the old-fashioned ways because they lack the technology and know-how to exploit their data” said Dillon, assistant professor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department and coordinator of the TCoE’s Master of Science program in Data Science that is being moved from San Francisco to New Haven. “All of it points to opportunities for data scientists everywhere, whether the inclination is to work at the world’s largest corporations or its hottest new startups.”

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“There are two key features that set the TCoE’s data science program apart,” he said. “The first is the experiential approach of the University of New Haven. This means a heavy focus on active learning to build the needed professional skills, starting with the first class. Students will not only be learning the theory and methods, but also applying them to real problems immediately.”

The second key feature is that the content of the program is built around emerging machine learning and artificial intelligence methods. “As areas such as data science emerge, and the skills become highly sought-after, there is a tendency by some to repackage programs they already have under a more marketable name name,” Dillon said. “Our program, however, is based on technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, that hold the most promise for the future, in addition to being highly-valued today.”

According to Glassdoor, data scientists – who can work in areas including healthcare, law enforcement, energy, and commerce – earn about $110,000 annually and those in the position have reported high levels of job satisfaction.

“Our program is based on technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, that hold the most promise for the future."Keith Dillon

Dillon has more than a decade developing data science technology, at the Hughes Aircraft Company, and a series of startups. Co-founder of Formulens, which licenses data-driven algorithms, his recent research includes developing new algorithms, for finding disease from medical sensor data.

He’s been working in the field “since long before it was cool.. Now everyone is clamoring for the technology and know-how, and I get to help fill that need.”