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Woodbury University to debut major in data analytics curriculum next year

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Burbank-based Woodbury University is trying to provide a path through the data maze by creating a major in computer science in data analytics, which will debut in fall 2020.
(File photo)

From smartphones to internet-ready refrigerators, big data is ingrained in various aspects of life.

Burbank-based Woodbury University is trying to provide a path through the data maze by creating a major in computer science in data analytics, which will debut in the fall of 2020.

“The high demand for data scientists, as noted in reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, major job sites, the technology industry and associated media was primary in Woodbury’s consideration of the new program,” said Marty Tippens, chair of Woodbury’s math department.

Tippens described data analytics as the “purposeful and effective processing” of huge amounts of information, and it has several names, including “data science,” “data mining,” “big data” and “informatics.”

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Analyzing data, according to Tippens, helps develop problem-solving and design-thinking skills to be used in myriad fields.

Woodbury University created a “short list” of data-analytic branches that include finance and banking, healthcare, internet applications in search engines as well as research and development.

Students are expected to find employment in a variety of fields including IT systems, business operations, consumer relations as well as transportation-and-delivery logistics.

One data analytics position expected to be in demand in the future is an actuary, or someone who determines risk in the business world based on statistical information.

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The demand for actuaries is expected to grow 22%, looking at statistics and projections from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while overall math and science occupations are set to rise by 28%.

The bureau also projects job increases of 27.4%, 29.7% and 33.8% over the same time period for operation-research analysts, mathematicians and statisticians, respectively, or any jobs involving an element of big data.

As for salaries, Tippens estimates data analysts earn between $50,000 to $131,000, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the mean wage at $108,000.

“This new major also strengthens Woodbury’s commitment to future programs in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, [or STEM] fields,” Woodbury University president David Steele-Figueredo said in an email.

“Importantly, we are excited over this new degree program because it also contributes to our nation’s competitive edge in a high-technology area,” he added.

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