'Sexiest job of the 21st century': Eastern Michigan University to offer new major in Data Science and Analytics

Harvard Business Review's label points out exceptional employment prospects for data scientists

YPSILANTI – Students at Eastern Michigan University will be able to learn to analyze large data sets – a key technical competency that leads to high-paying jobs in today’s employment market – in a new academic program approved by the Board of Regents at its regular meeting Friday, April 21.

The new major, a bachelor’s degree in Data Science and Analytics, is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide broad knowledge and the technical competency required to manage and analyze the ever-growing body of data in the industry, government, science, and nonprofit organizations.

The job of data scientist has been labeled as a high growth area, including being labeled as “the sexiest job of the 21st century” by the Harvard Business Review.

Graduates will be able to organize, aggregate and analyze rapidly generated data from diverse sources – skills already in high demand in such diverse disciplines as econometrics, bioinformatics, remote sensor networks, and health care analytics. The rigorous program will include courses in various areas, including computer programming and systems, math, statistics and web analysis.

“Demand for highly qualified data scientists in these fields will only grow in the future, providing opportunities for our graduates to contribute to scientific research, and engage with the community at the local and global level,” said Rhonda Longworth, Provost and Executive Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs. “The program is both practical and theoretical, providing students the skills to contribute immediately upon graduation and the ability to assimilate emerging technologies as they develop.”

Longworth noted that analyzing large data sets—so-called big data—has become an essential basis of both science and business, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer behavior analytics.

“To remain competitive and maximize efficiencies in the coming decade, companies need to invest in big data technologies,” Longworth said. “Nobody doubts that companies will continue to ramp up hiring, recruitment, and training of data scientists. But there seems to be a growing alarm that we won't have enough data scientists to go around.”

The new program was developed by the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Mathematics, both in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Computer Information Systems, in the College of Business.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 22,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University website.

April 20, 2017

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom