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BU’s big data degree program ranked ninth in U.S.

Boston University ranks No. 9 out of the 50 best universities for big data degree program. PHOTO BY SYDNEY MAES DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Boston University ranked ninth on College Choice’s list of 50 Best Big Data Degrees for 2017, according to a press release from the online publication. The release highlighted the Metropolitan College’s Master’s Degree program in Computer Information Systems concentration in Data Analytics, which focuses on data mining, analysis and visualization.

The ranking is based on two major factors: academic quality and return on investment, College Choice Managing Editor Christian Amonson said in an email.

These factors take into account BU and the computer science program’s reputations along with the expected early career salary for graduates weighed against the program’s tuition, Amonson said.

Metropolitan College Dean Stoyanka Zlateva said the program’s faculty employs inventive learning strategies and resources for its students.

“We did some pretty innovative things in the analytics program,” she said. “[We use] multi-educational infrastructure with laboratories and interactive exercises. The labs are virtual which gives us a lot of flexibility.”

The program also provides online students with easy access to their expert instructors, who each work with 15 students as section instructors, Zlateva said.

“Those are very well-qualified people with master’s degrees, and they work very closely with the students,” Zlateva said. “The major point is that we’re not putting up some kind of online material, but we make sure there is a close engagement between the faculty and the students.”

Zlateva said the program is continuously improving to ready students for their post-college careers.

“We want to use the latest tools in the industry, the latest systems and the latest approaches so that when our graduates go into the marketplace, they hit the ground running,” she said.

The program aims to train students for future employment in a crucial sector, the Metropolitan College’s Chair of Computer Science Anatoly Temkin said.

“The Metropolitan College prepares our current students for the challenges that the advances in technology will pose to them,” Temkin said. “They will be working for the companies, and they will be with huge amounts of data … They will have to be able to process that data so that the [employers] will get enough business intelligence to make the right decisions moving forward.”

Tempkin said BU faculty members are excited to see BU’s innovative programs reflected in the high ranking.

“It’s a sign of appreciation for the work that Boston University does in regards to big data,” Temkin said. “We developed profound programs of the highest academic quality and the students are very interested in taking them.”

Zlateva highlighted the prestige associated with ranking so high on this list.

“We are delighted with these rankings,” Zlateva said. “Especially when looking at who else is on the list, it really speaks for the quality of the program.”

Several computer science students said the ranking speaks to the intellectually stimulating atmosphere within the program at BU.

Frederick Vargus, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said as a computer science student, he is impressed with the department’s development.

“The professors here are very knowledgeable, smart people who know what they’re doing,” Vargus said. “I think all of the [students] in the program are very happy. I don’t know of anyone who is doing [computer science] and not satisfied with the education they’re getting.”

Ajjen Joshi, a fifth-year Ph.D. student studying computer science said his experiences thus far as a graduate student have been valuable.

“I always knew that it was a good department when I applied, and to be ranked top 10 is amazing,” Joshi said. “Being involved with research in computer vision and machine learning [here] has also been amazing.”

Keyan Vakil, a junior in CAS, said he has benefitted from the university’s engaging program.

“The types of problem solving in computer science is just way more interactive, thought-provoking and applicable,” Vakil said. “Computer science is really fun and useful.”

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