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Following the success of its postgraduate MSc data science course, City University London is offering students the chance to focus on data science alongside computer science through its MSci undergraduate programme.

In September 2014, the university introduced a postgraduate MSc data science course to run alongside a postgraduate cyber security programme. An MSci for cyber security was launched last year. The undergraduate course will start in October 2017.

The one-year postgraduate data science course has been in high demand since it was launched, with the number of people taking it up increasing significantly every year. It had about 30 students in the first year, increasing to 42 a year later and 110 this year.

Graduates of the postgraduate course have moved on to become data analysts, with some focused on machine learning and artificial intelligence tool building jobs, and others involved in big data management. It has attracted professionals from various backgrounds, including economists, mathematicians, computer scientists and people with a background in physics.

The new four-year MSCi undergraduate programme is designed to attract students finishing A-levels who want a foundation in computer science and a specialisation in data science.

Students will do courses with computer science students in the first two years, to get a foundation in things like programming and mathematics, then in the latter two years do data science-oriented modules.

Cagatay Turkay, a lecturer in applied data science at London City University, said there is a shortage of people with the right level of data science skills because demand is accelerating fast.

“Demand for data science experts is still growing and more businesses are realising that a lot can be done with their data. There are reports that data scientists are offered new jobs every month,” he said.

About 90% of data science students get offered jobs while they are studying, said Turkay. “We are not yet meeting the demand and many universities are opening courses in data science,” he added.

According to a study by software supplier MHR Analytics, entitled Plotting the data journey in the boardroom: the state of data analytics 2017, while three-quarters of the 300 UK-based C-level executives questioned planned to undertake a data analytics or big data project over the next 12 months, 42% said the most significant barrier to doing so was finding and training appropriate staff.

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