UFV launches Data Analysis post-degree certificate (2012)

Archived from UFV Today, July 3 2012.  Original post by Dessa Bayrock.

Have you ever wanted to work for Facebook, Twitter or Google?

UFV is offering a new program to help students achieve that goal. Starting this fall, the Data Analysis post-degree certificate will provide students with a unique edge when entering the job market.

This program is the first of its kind in Western Canada, and was created by UFV in response to industry demand.

It may not be a job category you’re familiar with, but it was recently ranked fourth in the category of best jobs paying over $60,000 per year by Canadian Business magazine. This ranking is calculated by balancing wages with employment growth in the last year.

“We know that students these days are looking for programs that can give them solid and well-paying career options, which is one of the reasons why we’ve created this post-degree program,” says Ian McAskill, UFV acting dean of science. ”It’s a more traditional job description moving forward and meeting the needs of the community. We’re working to provide our students with the knowledge to fill an important gap in the market.”

During the program, students will discover how to pull important details out of a mass of data, and then how to present that information in a way that will make sense to others. This skill can be applied in numerous workplaces to spot trends, predict patterns, and streamline a company’s performance.

The demand for these skills is growing so rapidly that SAS Canada, a leader in business analytics, has equipped UFV with the software for this program.

“We’re very proud of our program within UFV, as it is one of the most in-depth in Canada,” said Cameron Dow, vice president marketing for SAS Canada. “It provides students with profound expertise, which in turn makes them highly desirable to employers.

“SAS got its start within the academic community,” Dow continues, “and it’s important to us to remember our roots; SAS is committed to leading the way in integrating technology into education, to improve student learning and success throughout their educations and careers.”

Data scientists are currently in extremely high demand not only in the poster-child industry of the social media world, but also in more traditional businesses.

“There’s a shortage of people out there to analyze data, whether for large employers like Facebook or Twitter, or for many local workplaces such as banks, government, health agencies, and police departments,” explains McAskill.

“It’s an extremely important job; people make decisions based on the information they receive,” says Cynthia Loten, UFV mathematics and statistics department head. “Essentially, this program is bridging the gap between math, statistics, and computer information systems.”

“We’re excited to be able to offer an innovative program taught by experts in the field, to do it locally, and to meet a growing need,” he continues.

Students enter the program after completing a bachelor’s degree in any discipline. They must have a first-year programming course and first-year stats course to meet prerequisites, both of which are offered at UFV.

“It’s such a young field and we see the potential,” says McAskill. “We just need young people to come and see that, too.”

By holding a degree before entering this certificate program, students will already have an area of specialization and an extra edge in the job market, says McAskill.

UFV consulted numerous organizations while constructing this new program, including ICBC, Vancouver Coastal Health, and SAS Canada. The certificate is currently open for applications, and spots are limited. For more information, visit www.ufv.ca/data

More information about SAS operations and contributions in Canada can be found at www.sas.com/canada