The San Francisco Chronicle published a feature article on September 5 on how “universities rush to add data science majors as demand explodes.” In the article, writer Isha Salian notes that “UC San Diego is starting a data science undergraduate major and minor this fall.” She also reports that “UC San Diego is creating a data science institute, funded largely by a $75 million donation this year from Taner Halicioglu, an alumnus who was Facebook’s first full-time hire after its founders.”
“You launch a new major maybe once a decade, once every two decades,” CSE professor Rajesh Gupta told the newspaper. “This has to last for a very long time… regardless of what’s needed in the market today.” Gupta chaired the CSE department during the creation of the data science program.
Gupta is also reported saying that the data science program “could offset some of the overwhelming enrollment in computer science classes.”
The Chronicle article surveyed the state of data science education at other UC campuses as well, reporting that UC Berkeley officials are developing a data science undergraduate major that would be the first new major in at least 16 years for Berkeley’s College of Letters and Science. The campus also established a Division of Data Sciences last December.
Elsewhere in the UC system, UC Irvine was the first to create a data science major in 2015, and UC Santa Cruz’s new D3 Research Center (short for Data, Discovery and Decisions) “pairs students with companies to work on research projects using data science skills,” according to the article. However, the director of the Santa Cruz center is quoted as saying that the campus “does not plan on forming a data science major in the near future” because the campus’s statistics department was opened relatively recently, in 2006.