Data Science Degree for 21st-Century Careers

covid impact

Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) is an age in which new disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and three-dimensional (3D) printing, are altering the way we live, work, learn, and communicate. This new wave of change is not the first that we have experienced, as the world has seen the ebb and flow of three previous Industrial Revolutions.

The first Industrial Revolution was based on the advent of steam power, the second on mass production and the third on electronics and IT. We are now in the ear¬ly stages of IR 4.0. The term “IR 4.0” was first coined by the German government to represent the application of analytics, IoT and AI. Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum and author of the book “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, states that one of the key features of IR 4.0 is that it changes us and not just what we do. Digitisa¬tion occurs because of the changes happening around us, and we need to be prepared for and embrace IR 4.0.

IR 4.0 is not limited to changes in production sys¬tems; it affects the whole workforce ecosys¬tem. IR 4.0 is transforming workplace characteristics from being task-based to human-centred. This means the education industry in IR 4.0 needs to prepare graduates to be re¬silient as digitisation disrupts the workforce. Education 4.0 is the next wave of change in the education system, and it is crucial to prepare and equip graduates with the relevant skills for IR 4.0 and new in-demand jobs. To build these skills among graduates, university programmes should be designed to be more flexible for students to learn and build a profession out of their acquired knowledge. Moreover, business demands and needs are constantly changing and becoming more complex every day. Many companies are under a lot of pressure to be agile in adapting to changes or risk getting left behind. Companies require strategic decisions to enhance flexibility and may need a considerable amount of data to support decision making.

Data exists everywhere and its impact on all industries continues to grow. In today’s data-driven world, data science skills have become an essential part of every pro¬fessional. Data science works with big data to create powerful algorithms that help companies solve complex problems and understand their customers’ needs better. Such value can make decision makers gain valuable insights into enhancing a company’s efficiency and marketability.

Acquiring data science knowledge is important and knowing how to apply the knowledge to solve real-world prob¬lems is very much needed in a data science curriculum. Data science is employed as a problem-solving tool in many industries such as computing, healthcare, finance, and hospitality. It can be said that data scientists are sought after in diverse companies and industries today.

Over the years, however, the demand for data professionals has outweighed the supply. This is why the School of Science and Technology at Sunway University has created a degree that caters to the needs and expectations of the current industry. The Bachelor of Information Systems (Honours) (Data Analytics) degree is a three-year, full-time programme validated by Lancaster University, and takes students from the very basics of data science to ad¬vanced predictive analytics. The analytics curriculum and its assessments are recognised and approved by the Malaysian Quality Agency and moderated by Lancaster University. Programming lan¬guages such as Python, R and SAS are taught in the syllabus, and collaborations between SAS, Cloudera and Alibaba GET give students a 360-degree view of analytics knowledge and skills. This degree is specially designed to prime students for high-flying 21st-century careers.


Associate Professor Dr Angela Lee
Associate Professor
School of Science and Technology


Originally published in June 2020