MSiA Program Gets a New Name

Director Diego Klabjan shares the reasons for renaming the MSiA program the Master of Science in Machine Learning and Data Science program

Ten years ago, Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Analytics (MSiA) program launched as an effort to prepare students for the budding world of data science and analytics.  

That goal is still the same, but in an effort to better reflect its content and overall mission, the program is changing its name. Moving forward, the program will be known as the Master of Science in Machine Learning and Data Science program.  

Diego Klabjan "As a field, 'analytics' has stood the test of time, but in recent years, it has become more of a synonym for business analytics," director Diego Klabjan said. "This new name better reflects the program's overall curriculum and goal, and is also better aligned with required skill sets of the jobs that students enter upon graduation." 

Those job opportunities are becoming more plentiful daily. Klabjan believes companies are seeing the substantial benefits of incorporating machine learning, data science, and artificial intelligence into everyday operations. As a result, more companies are hiring in those fields.  

For that reason, there may never have been a better time to pursue a career in data science or machine learning from an employability perspective, he said.  

Klabjan added that while business analytics is addressed specifically in the program, the core of the curriculum is focused on machine learning and data science. When it comes to hiring job candidates, analytics have become standard, he said. 

"In recent years, industry has embraced more advanced machine learning and data science that are less associated with 'analytics' techniques," Klabjan said. "Companies seek technical expertise in machine learning and data science with the expectation that business analytics experience has been developed along the way, though perhaps not necessarily emphasized." 

That balance is what Klabjan believes makes the MSiA program so successful at preparing students to excel in their careers. Even though the program is getting a name change, the curriculum itself is not changing.  

Klabjan compared the shift to giving the program a fresh coat of paint. 

"The new name better reflects what is being taught in our classrooms," he said, "better reflects the material and curriculum that have proven to stand the test of time, and sets a course for the future." 

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