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Preparing Pitt undergraduates for Industry 4.0

The University of Pittsburgh is introducing a new interdisciplinary certificate grounded in data analytics

The world is awash in data. From personal devices like your cell phone to hospitalization records, supply chains, and navigation, data is collected, stored, transferred, sold, and translated. People who can manage, interpret, and utilize that data are among the most sought-after by employers. To meet the growing global demand for these professionals, the Industrial Engineering program at the University of Pittsburgh is introducing a new Engineering Data Analytics Undergraduate Certificate.  

This new program prepares students to take on new challenges of advancing engineering applications using the acquisition, management and analysis of data, including using new machine learning and artificial intelligence methods for manufacturing, materials, systems, and engineering. The certificate will be offered by the Swanson School of Engineering to any Pitt undergraduate beginning this fall. 

“The curriculum is designed to provide students with fundamental knowledge and skills in statistics and programming applied to the acquisition, management and analysis of engineering data,” said Karen Bursic, professor and program director of industrial engineering at Pitt. “This will allow our students to pursue careers in these areas that are critical to so many industries that want to be globally competitive.” 

Data science skills are increasingly in-demand by employers, but according to a McKinsey Global Institute survey of companies, hiring top talent is the “biggest hurdle” to incorporating data analytics in their existing operations. Salaries for these positions pay an average of $105,000 for data scientists, $114,000 for machine learning skills, and $117,000 for data engineering jobs. 

Universities around the world are recognizing the need to better prepare students for these jobs and are including data analytics into their curriculums.

According to Paul Leu, associate professor of industrial engineering at Pitt, the Swanson School’s data analytics certificate will also better prepare students for the workforce in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0. This paradigm shift is focused on how the global production and supply network integrates connectivity, AI, robotics and other new technologies. 

“This certificate builds on the more than 175-year history of engineering at Pitt, when the earliest programs were a response to the second Industrial Revolution in America and later the Civil War,” Leu explained.  “The mission of the Engineering Data Analytics Certificate is aligned with the goals of Industry 4.0, especially to address workforce needs that need to adapt almost daily.”

Some of the new courses include: ENGR 1451: Exploratory Data Science, ENGR 1453: Data Science: Statistical Learning, Modeling, and Prediction, and IE 1187: Introduction to Optimization for Machine Learning. Other courses have been restructured and renamed to compliment the certificate. 

The certificate will be open to all undergraduate majors; however, it will mostly complement industrial engineering, mechanical engineering and material science, electrical and computer engineering, and bioengineering. More information about the certificate can be found in the University's course catalog