Few institutions can merge academic excellence with industry insights the way the University of Miami can. Its Institute for Data Science and Computing’s (IDSC) long-standing affiliation with IBM is proof — a dynamic collaboration that provides students, faculty and staff with everything they need to develop digital competencies.
The partnership first began in 2013 when the University purchased its custom-built supercomputer, Pegasus, from IBM, which drastically accelerated data processing speeds. Today it owns another, Triton, one of the largest centralised academic cyber infrastructures in the world — but that’s not all.
In 2022, the computing giant is providing the University of Miami’s student body unlimited access to its expansive lineup of technological tools through cloud accounts. IBM donated these accounts for educational and research purposes, offering exposure to its Watson artificial intelligence tool, Internet of Things, blockchain, and cybersecurity software, along with storage and permission to use various other kinds of software by the company — which other institutions must purchase. Of course, IBM experts hold several workshops and training sessions to ensure students leverage these technologies effectively.
“By training on this infrastructure, our students will become even more competitive in the workplace,” says Yelena Yesha, professor of computer science, and IDSC’s innovation officer and head of international relations.
Pair this unique offering with the University of Miami’s Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) and students have a recipe for enduring success. Offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, this qualification was designed to provide interdisciplinary connections and experiential learning opportunities across all aspects of data science and computing.
From machine learning to marine science and city planning to communications — all academic backgrounds are invited to take part in the programme and explore how their existing competencies can be enhanced with the power of data science.
The IBM Skills Academy further gives MS in Data Science students the upper hand in a competitive talent pool by providing them with industry-recognised credentials. Throughout the programme, they will take on courses from certified professionals. They will also immerse themselves in skills practices, hands-on labs and learning tools developed by IBM Subject Matter Experts and IBM Global University Programmes.
Each completed study area — Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity or the Internet of Things — culminates in a blockchain “digital badge” that can be shared on students’ CVs or social media profiles.
“Through the IBM Skills Academy class I have been able to learn how to use the IBM Watson Studio platform specifically designed for data science,” says MS in Data Science student Nyanti Eason. “The steps involved in methodologies for data exploration and preparation, data representation and transformation, data visualisation and presentation, training data models, validating data models, and deploying data models.”
It goes without saying Eason and her peers will certainly graduate as experts immediately ready to add value across the globe. However, remaining in close proximity to the University that made them is a viable option as well. After all, opportunities abound in Miami, Florida for future-focused professionals. Numbers do the talking.
Apart from being one of the US’s most livable cities, Miami tops the charts for startup activity, according to the Kauffman Index. Mashable ranked it third as an emerging tech hub. In the first three quarters of 2021, US$2.4 billion in venture capital investments flowed into South Florida startups, according to PitchBook’s data.
It’s little wonder why in 2021, South Florida saw a 30% increase in software and IT sector jobs; or why scores of tech heavyweights — like the founders of Shutterstock, SwagUp, Founders Fund, Blackstone, Oracle, Palantir, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have set up shop in “The Magic City.”
Gearing up to fill the ever-growing skills gap in Miami and beyond has never been easier thanks to the University of Miami’s reputation as a hub for cutting-edge tech research, future-focused scholarship and data science aptitude.
“Because the University of Miami’s Master of Science in Data Science is able to offer training and credentialing from a tech giant like IBM, our graduates are able to go out into the workforce with a competitive edge, confident that they have the skills employers are seeking in today’s fast-growing tech market,” confirms Dr. Maryann Tobin, the College of Arts and Sciences’ assistant dean for professional education.
“Our students are ready and able to apply the latest data science methodologies to any setting and across a diverse landscape of disciplines. That is the University of Miami advantage.”