With two new degree programs launching this fall, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is helping students level-up their skills in technical areas critical to the growth of technology companies with increasing demand for talent skilled in information processing and analysis.

The new Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Master of Science in Computer Vision are ideal for developing talent to support tech and tech-enabled companies in fields such as aerospace, health care and interactive entertainment, explained professors.

“We’re offering students a modern degree in a field that is growing as quickly as it is evolving,” said Shunpu Zhang, chair of the Department of Statistics and Data Science in which the new data science degree will be housed.

In 2020, 2.72 million new jobs in data science were created. An estimated 70% of employers say they prefer applicants with these skills, yet less than 25% of students graduating in 2021 will have the education or experience desired. The largest school in the nation, UCF hopes this program will help increase the talent supply and therefore make many kinds of businesses more competitive, according to Zhang.

In the UCF College of Sciences, the new master’s degree in computer vision joins a doctoral degree on the same topic, from which students have been recruited by technology industry giants such as Amazon, Apple and Google to the tune of a $122,000 average annual salary.

Like Zhang, Director of UCF Research in Computer Vision Mubarak Shah, Ph.D., believes the new master’s program will not only equip students with skills for the modern business environment, but also strengthen relationships with local companies.

“This degree program will help in workforce development of qualified computer vision engineers who can play an important role in local economy and meet the needs of local companies like L3-Harris, Lockheed Martin, Sighthound, Elbit, Luminar and Siemens to name a few, in addition to fulfilling national needs in public and private sectors.”

UCF is the only university in Florida and one of two universities in the nation to offer this master’s degree, joined only by Carnegie Mellon. Adding to its leadership in the area of computer vision, a team from the UCF Center for Research in Computer Vision won first place in a worldwide competition hosted last year by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Applications for the bachelor’s and master’s degrees are open now, with deadlines in May and July, respectively.


Computer vision algorithms developed at UCF analyze the photograph. Photo courtesy of UCF Today.


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