The EIT Digital Master School Data Science programme, launched two years ago, has delivered its first thirty data scientists. These graduates are not just data scientists: they are technical experts who also understand how to use data to help drive the economy in Europe. With this batch of new data scientists, the EIT Digital Master School is meeting a rising need in Europe for specialists in this discipline.
The data science programme started two years ago to respond to market demand for data scientists with an entrepreneurial mindset. The EIT Digital Master School aims to train professionals with state-of-the-art technical excellence in key digital technology areas, combined with strong expertise in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Renata de Carvalho, EIT Digital Data Science Programme Coordinator at the Eindhoven University of Technology says that the EIT Digital Master School delivers data scientists that "have not only learned to analyse the data, but are also capable of thinking of new ways of presenting these insights; developing new products or new optimisation techniques. They know how to use data from the business perspective."
Data Science is one of eight Master School programmes students can choose to study at two of 17 leading technical universities across Europe. Upon successful completion of the Master School, students receive a certificate from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and a double master's degree; one from each university they have entered via the EIT Digital Master School. Eindhoven University of Technology welcomed 12 international students in de Data Science Programme, either in the first or second year, The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain welcomed 14 students; the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, 11; Berlin, one; and the KTH, Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden have seen 15 students in either the first and second year .
Cohort 2015-2017 is the fourth to graduate from the EIT Digital Master School. But for the first time, Data Science graduates proudly walked off the stage with their EIT certificate during the Graduation Ceremony in Madrid on 25 November, hosted by The University of Madrid, an EIT Digital partner. These EIT Digital Master School graduates were extremely proud of their achievement.
Graduate Data Scientist Daniyal Shahrokhian, who studied for his master's at the Eindhoven University of Technology and the KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, says it like this. "I feel that I have an important advantage in comparison with people who have only engineering backgrounds. I feel like EIT Digital provides much greater value to students. It's not just about the degrees, it's about the doors that are opened through networking and socialising."
Danish Andreas Kaas Johansen, who also studied at the Eindhoven University of Technology and at the KTH, was employed by global technology company IBM before he even graduated. He explained;
"I am a Dane, so I do have to abide by the law of Jante (basically, be humble) but what I can say is that every person and company I have given my résumé to has contacted me back; every time I took an interest in a company, I was invited to an interview and there was only one time I ‘did not get the job'. I was hired at IBM as a graduate in their "consulting by degrees" programme, three weeks before I handed in my thesis. Right now, I am very excited to see what I can learn from working in Big Blue; this is a company with a wealth of opportunities, brilliant minds and some qualities I can get behind. So, let's see what this leads to, and how long it takes before I am ready to go out and put my entrepreneurship minor to the test."
Studying at two of the participating technical top universities, one for each year of the master's course, is part of a mobility programme that EIT Digital encourages to help students discover more about the European entrepreneurial spirit and cultural differences in industry and society. In between the first and second year of study, students also attend a two-week Summer School in yet another country where they work on real-life business cases from the EIT Digital partner network. The Summer School is also attended by professionals who like to stay ahead of key technological developments.
For Shahrokhian, the mobility programme was "...an opportunity to be surrounded by interesting people from different backgrounds who share the purpose of changing the world in some way. It really made me become more ambitious. In these two years, my long-term focus has shifted completely, from working at big companies to creating something relevant to humanity. I had worked for a big company before, and the stability is nice, but you don't feel so involved with the product as you do when you are the direct creator, working with a small team. When you work in a big company, you are a small screw in a big engine. When you work for a start-up, you are the engine."