The forecast for data analytics jobs is impressive and encouraging — unless you’re an employer who will be competing for some of that big data talent.

According to a report from Ottawa-based ICTC released earlier this year, 43,300 data analytics specialists will be directly employed in Canada, an increase of 33%, by 2020.

That’s why Waterloo Engineering’s new Graduate Diploma in Data Analytics (GDDA) could go a long way towards filling a potential skill shortage.

Data Analytics JobsOfficially launched this year, the GDDA will be offered through the department of Management Sciences and will require Master of Management Science (MMSc) students to take eight courses over a three-term period. This will include a number of required courses as well as an elective.

Hossein Abouee Mehrizi, an assistant professor of management science and Canada Research Chair in healthcare operations management at University of Waterloo, says the GDDA comes at a time when data analytics is arguably a bigger topic in Canadian organizations than ever before.

“This now holds the key to the next wave of innovation in management,” he says. “We’ve all generated and collected a massive amount of data through inexpensive storage technologies, mobile devices, sensors and social media.”

There are new opportunities in Data Analytics jobs

As Abouee Mehrizi points out, data analytics is not really a new invention but the coming together of various fields. This includes information systems, statistics, and operations research.

“We have all the areas needed for this analytics program,” he says. “The department provides an excellent environment to master emerging business analytics and hopefully help organizations reap the most benefit from the data that they have.”

The GDDA is ideal for students interested in end-to-end analytics, applying techniques from statistics and data mining to the modelling and optimization of systems, Abouee-Mehrizi says, and could appeal to students from different backgrounds including industrial, electrical and computer or even civil, mechanical and chemical engineering, as well as applied mathematics and statistics.

“We start with the basic concepts and tools in analytics and then discuss case studies with real-world data,” he says. “For the final project of some courses, students need to analyze a real-world case study designed by a company and submit a solution. It’s a really applied field.”

Those who obtain the GDDA will likely find themselves with a uniquely fulfilling career, no matter what kind of industry they choose to apply their skills, Abouee Mehrizi adds.

“We’re not just covering simple data analysis tools,” he says. “We are providing end-to-end analytics tools including the last step which is really making transformative decisions that can significantly improve performance.”