Simon Fraser University Creates Canada’s First Master’s Program in Big Data

A new graduate program offered by Simon Fraser University’s School of Computing Science will help fill the need for professionals who can manage transformation in the information technology industry caused by the burst of big data.

The new “Professional Master’s Program in Big Data” is a first of its kind in Canada, according to SFU. With a strong foundation in computing, it is designed to train students in all aspects of managing massive datasets.

“With the explosion of data being collected in all areas of our society, from the Internet, social networking sites, retailers, scientific experiments, and the biomedical field, there is already a large demand for skilled data scientists,” explains Martin Ester, director of the School of Computing Science. “Big data science is an emerging discipline that requires unique programming and technical skills.”



Designed for students with some programming experience, the program will focus on systems for storing and managing large amounts of data; algorithms, or rules, for processing data; data mining to extract patterns; machine learning to improve analysis; and visualization to present information to users for decision-making.

The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2018 the U.S. alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with the needed analytical skills to work with large sets of data, and 1.5 million managers and analysts to apply this data.

SFU says that the program is currently accepting its first group of students to start the Master of Science (M.Sc.) program in Fall 2014.