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How the University of Wisconsin is closing the data science skills gap

Sarah K. White | Aug. 19, 2015
When the University of Wisconsin asked businesses what they were looking for in employees, nearly all of them said, ‘data scientists.’ The university responded with an online data science master degree program to help bring more qualified data professionals to the job market.

The benefits of online courses

Although the program takes place across the various UW extension campuses, students will be participating in the same program. However, they get the added benefit of learning from qualified professors from all the various locations. “We marshal the resources across the entire UW system and when we develop new degree programs like this one, we work with the various campuses and really utilize the campuses with the greatest faculty strengths in these areas,” says Schejbal.

Online programs not only offer convenience for students located in other states, but it makes it easy for participants to work around their busy schedules. That is especially true for students that work full time; the online platform allows them to complete coursework on their own time.

UW started accepting applications about a month ago, and in that short time it already has 50 students with completed applications and another 30 in the process of being completed. The program is slated to begin in September, with the first class of students going through the master’s program.


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