Miami is quickly becoming America’s tech hub. Between 2017 and 2021, Florida added 119,000 jobs in the technology and e-commerce industry. In 2020 alone, Miami startups raised nearly $1 billion in venture funding. The following year, Google generated $31 billion in economic activity for hundreds of thousands of businesses in Florida.
At the heart of this burgeoning tech startup landscape lies University of Miami. “The University of Miami is located in one of the fastest-growing technology hubs in America,” notes Brian Breslin, director of Launch Pad (the University of Miami Center for Entrepreneurship) and founder of Florida’s largest tech and startup community, Refresh Miami. “It opens up a range of opportunities for students that aren’t found in other parts of the country.”
The University offers a MSc in Data Science (MSDS) that provides students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to take advantage of these opportunities. It is based on computer science, mathematics, statistics and data visualization techniques. Core courses focus on statistics and machine learning, with opportunities to explore solutions to domain-specific problems.
What sets this program apart, however, are its resources for launching tech startups, industry connections, and networking opportunities with technology leaders across many fields and disciplines. Students can add in-depth content knowledge to specialist applications such as communications, architecture and marine sciences – a truly interdisciplinary approach that ensures graduates are able to take on the role of data specialist in any organisation.
“The University of Miami has wonderful academic resources, faculty, and a good learning environment,” says current student Kai-Wen Lee.
The University of Miami is a private research university with more than 17,000 students from around the world. Home to 12 schools, nearly 350 majors and programs, and $324 million in research and sponsored program expenditures annually, it is one of the top research universities in the United States.
This means that students like Lee have a vibrant and diverse academic community on and off campus. As MSDS provides interdisciplinary connections and experiential learning opportunities in all aspects of data science and computing, they will never lack industry connections and encouragement for their entrepreneurship.
In addition, all students may choose to complete an internship as part of their program. This can be done in the summer in some of the most prestigious companies in the world. Current students are interning in data science positions at companies such as The Walt Disney Company, ArcGIS, Phizzle Inc, StarTech, World Fuel Services and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
Over at The launch pad, students can get help to start, build and grow their start-up business. “The Launch Pad offers students, staff and alumni training and mentorship for their startups for free. Founded in 2008, The Launch Pad works with hundreds of entrepreneurs each year to help them start, grow and scale their businesses. Launch Pad’s extensive alumni and mentor network of over 6,000 entrepreneurs help accelerate Hurricane startups,” says Breslin.
In 2021, The Launch Pad helped one student and two recent university graduates create Precision Ecology. Using drone technology with state-of-the-art sensors, the startup collects survey-level aerial data and creates digital maps of the surface and terrain.
Precision Ecology can digitally map large areas of land to provide an efficient and accurate product for landowners and surveyors to analyze. This reduces the danger of sending people into treacherous land conditions made worse by climate change.
“On one of our first flights over Puerto Rico, we were there following little pegs in the ground previously put by surveyors to map roads through the rainforest,” says Alexander Leyva, who works as an FAA-licensed drone pilot for Precision Ecology . The maps produced by Precision Ecology, he said, have been used to identify road areas that are more prone to landslides. “This allowed construction crews to go in and safely strengthen the road areas in need of maintenance,” he added.
Precision Ecology was such a success that it was proudly exhibited at this year’s global technology conference eMerge Americas, held annually at the Miami Beach Convention Center. It attracts more than 16,000 participants from 40 countries and over 3,900 unique participating organizations. These participants come from Latin America, North America and Europe to present their latest ideas, products and enterprises.
The University of Miami is a global sponsor of the conference and this year their students got the chance to showcase some of the data science projects they have developed. Some of the unique projects presented included a sea wall that dissipates the energy of dangerous waves and glasses that diagnose eye diseases
With such outstanding opportunities to apply data science techniques to diverse interests, MSDS students are set to do well in a robust data and information research industry. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of data and information scientists is expected to grow 19% through 2026, much faster than the average for all other occupations.
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