From analyzing and predicting the effect of climate change, and making cities safer and smarter, to personalizing pharmaceutical treatments, the use of Big Data is here to stay with society producing and collecting massive amounts of data and creating computational systems of unprecedented scale.
As data collection and computational power continue to improve, career opportunities for engineers will also grow across a spectrum of areas. Google, for example, uses deep learning algorithms for image recognition, while Amazon mines data to predict future consumer purchases. From data curation and analysis positions to inventing the technologies—sensors, models, networks and systems—that generate, store and process data, Big Data has given rise to the dawn of a technological evolution that is transforming the way we live and work.
Engineering professionals or recent graduates keen on building their skill set in this area might want to consider Northeastern University’s Graduate School of Engineering, which not only boasts numerous engineering programmes involving Big Data, but has also carved itself a strong reputation in the field.
Big data juggernaut
Graduate students looking to explore Big Data opportunities in engineering can choose from a range of the college’s programmes. For instance, prospective students interested in dealing with data collection and analysis, but also data integration to make it useful to data scientists and business analysts should consider the college’s new MS in Data Architecture and Management.
It offers a multitude of courses in data engineering and supplementary courses that are required to deliver data results in a meaningful way to management. The course covers data management, advanced data management, data warehousing and business intelligence, data science, and big-data engineering, among others, helping students succeed in this high demand field.
Another program, MS in Data Analytics Engineering, is designed to train engineering and science students to become data analytics professionals who can draw insights and actionable information from data to support decision making for improving products, processes, systems, and enterprises, all through the power of optimization, statistics, machine learning, and visualization. Students gain rigorous analytical skills and research experience through technically advanced core courses in operations research, statistics, data mining, database management, and visualization, and several flexible electives, ranging from Big Data and Network Science to the Internet of Things and Machine Learning.
Ankita Pradeep, who is from India, recently graduated with an MS in Data Analytics Engineering from Northeastern. One of her favorite courses was data mining. She did not have much experience in machine learning before, but the way her professor, Sagar Kamarthi, taught the class really helped her to keep up.
Northeastern is one of a few universities that offer graduate students the opportunity to participate in the cooperative education (co-op) program, allowing them to gain professional experience as part of the academic curriculum. Participating in co-op gave Ankita her first professional job in the U.S., and on co-op she had been assigned several complex projects, exposing her to stakeholder management, data engineering, and extensive data analysis.
Those more interested in the process of generating, collecting, and mining data by developing algorithms and computational tools should consider the MS in Data Science, while students interested in inventing next-generation technologies, such as self-driving cars and autonomous robots, and innovating to extend the capabilities of machine learning, artificial intelligence and deep learning, may be interested in an MS or PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, or a PhD in Cybersecurity to combat growing data intrusion and security threats in systems networks and the internet.
Systems supporting Big Data need to be developed so another pathway is the MS in Information Systems, which is focused on designing software solutions where graduates become a crucial bridge between information technology and business professionals. Students in this programme can select from five concentrations such as Big Data Systems and Analytics, and take other cutting-edge electives such as Data Science and Machine Learning Systems Engineering, Cyber-Security Engineering and Development, and Business Intelligence and Data Analytics. Students with and without an engineering and software programming background can advance their career pursuing this degree.
Xun Peng, whose home country is China, chose the MS in Information Systems program because of the cutting-edge coursework like cloud computing and Big Data, as well as Northeastern’s experience with industry which ensures that the program is aligned with market needs, helping him to reach his career goal to work in the field of artificial intelligence. Xun shares his experience in this video:
Professionals in other engineering disciplines—Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Engineering—can also benefit from Big Data knowledge. Machine learning and artificial intelligence is being used by engineering researchers to understand how bridges and transportation systems will withstand outside forces, for example, while collecting and analyzing data can lead to critical policy planning and decisions. In another application, engineering researchers are using complex data to develop models that can make powerful predictions such as successful courses of medical treatment and improved disease diagnoses.
Engineering faculty at Northeastern across disciplines have many initiatives underway in the area of Big Data to invent, expand, an enhance capabilities with the ultimate goal of improving people’s lives in the areas of health, sustainability, and security. Learn more about this exciting research in the College’s latest magazine.
Without a doubt, Northeastern University has developed a stellar reputation for developing career-ready graduates and potential leaders in the engineering realm, making it an ideal platform for students to take their careers to new heights.
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