This innovative course, based on hands-on learning, aims to produce a new generation of much-needed data scientists who are ethically aware and able to apply the increasingly important skills to specialized sectors.
The future will belong not just to those who understand information technology, but to those who know how to use it.
Data is the most important asset an organization possesses and, if used well, it can allow leaders to make important and impactful decisions. IE University is launching a degree in Data Science to enable young people who want to shape the future global society by putting this precious resource to good use.
It has a technical side, of course, but between gathering data, cleaning it and the ability to analyze it, a whole range of skills and traits have to be developed through a training process that is necessarily broad and, above all, practical.
“At IEU, we are bringing data science down to Earth. It’s the science that explains how we as citizens, as businesses and government workers are behaving. But not only that. This degree will be a hands-on experience, all about solving challenges and applying skills,” says Borja González del Regueral, IE’s Vice Dean of Data Science and Technology.
Dr González del Regueral explains the rollout plan for what he is confident will be “a super-exciting program,” starting with an open first year in which students will do modules in both computer science and human/behavioral science. “At IEU, we try to take the best from the US and the European models, and this way not start with too narrow a focus for young people who don’t know exactly what they want to do.”
“Our students will get the core skills to be data scientists; not through theory, but through hands-on projects”
-Dr Borja González del Regueral, IE’s Vice Dean of Data Science and Technology
From the very start, too, students will get hands-on experience in IEU’s innovative Labs program and in placements with companies and organizations around the world. According to research carried out by the university, companies are very keen to welcome individuals who not only know about data science, but can apply it to business.
“Data is increasingly a source of competitive advantage and there is a lack of skills out there, which in three years’ time will be even more acute,” notes Dr González del Regueral. “Our students will get the core skills to be data scientists; not through theory, but through hands-on projects.”
The final year involves a capstone project to put acquired knowledge into practice and modules relating to different real-world sectors so that graduates have learned how data science actually applies to their sphere of interest. They will be specialized and have market-ready skills for use in the corporate, start-up or public spheres.
The degree will also include a course on ethics to examine how data should be used and the consequences of misuse. “We have to give future data scientists the tools to be able to see if something is being used correctly or not,” says Dr González del Regueral.
“We have to give future data scientists the ethical tools to be able to see if something is being used correctly or not”
-Dr Borja González del Regueral
So, who is Data Science at IEU for?
First off, Dr González del Regueral says it is not necessary to be tech genius from the outset. “They will become data science experts through the course. We want people who are willing to truly understand what is happening in the world and want to contribute to positive change in some way. They will be passionate about technology and willing to meet the challenges of today’s society, solving them by using data.”