New course to enhance data science skills for students in all disciplines

As technology has evolved through the years, so have the skills many employers are looking for when they set out to hire new talent.

With a proficiency in data science growing in demand, Brock University is launching a new introductory course that will be open to students from all disciplines.

“Nowadays, rudimentary knowledge of data science skills and the software to interpret data has become necessary to remain competitive in many industries,” said Pouria Ramazi, Assistant Professor in Mathematics and Statistics at Brock.

Hireable skills often progress based on technology and the job market. The Government of Canada is currently rating data science skills favourably across all provinces and is predicting that students with data science skills will be more hireable in the coming years.

In response to the growing need for data science skills, Faculty of Mathematics and Science (FMS) Dean Ejaz Ahmed initiated the creation of STAT 1P50 — Introduction to Data Science, which will launch this fall.

Ahmed, who believes that everyone should have a basic understanding of data, said having knowledge of the topic will “strengthen students, regardless of the discipline and preferred career path.”

“The introductory course will fill knowledge gaps and students will learn to make sense of the ‘story’ within data — an important skill in a world where social and digital media is often peppered with half truths and bad actors,” he said.

Ramazi and Assistant Professor Tianyu Guan were tasked with the overall design of the project-based course.

“We designed a course that serves as an introduction and elementary approach to data science and machine learning that any first-year student can take regardless of their area of study,” Ramazi said. “There are also plans to make STAT 1P50 part of the new Data Science program in the future.”

Data science is now being used outside of traditional mathematics and computer science careers. Online language assistant program Grammarly, and the “world’s first robot lawyer” from the DoNotPay app, all rely on the power of machine learning to solve issues like proper punctuation and fighting traffic tickets.

“I’ve used machine learning in my epidemiology research to help solve COVID-19 related problems,” said Ramazi, who will teach the inaugural class and is looking forward to the creativity and wide variance of topics.

“Students don’t need a high-level mathematics background to enjoy the work,” he said. “One day you might be conversing with a data scientist about career options and the next interpreting data from a neural network.”

For more information about the Introduction to Data Science course, email

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