Data Science for Business Master’s Program creates new opportunities for young Armenian data science professionals
Alumni of 2022 awarded diplomas
On July 12 festive graduation ceremony for the alumni of YSU’s Data Science for Business Master’s Program of 2022 was held. Out of 19 graduates, 15 graduated with distinction.
During the ceremony, Bagrat Yengibaryan, EIF Director, Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, YSU Rector, Ophelia Sargsyan, Manager of Innovation & Alliances at PMI Science R&D Center Armenia, Areg Gevorgyan, Innovative Solutions and Technologies Center (ISTC Director), and Ruben Gevorgyan, YSU professor and Head of Data Science for Business Master’s Program delivered opening remarks.
According to one of the graduates, Nora Grigoryan, she chose the program because it gives practical knowledge and teaches how to use it in business. Another reason was the possibility of studying at San Jose State University (USA). “The cooperation with different partners in the framework of the master’s program helps the students get involved in interesting projects,” said Nora. “And it was great to learn from young teachers who already have experience in data science. Now, I can work as a data analyst at an engineering company.”
Another graduate, Gurgen Hovakimyan has noted:
“This program is revolutionary in Armenia’s education system. If you love doing math and searching for patterns in datasets, and if you are ready to be challenged, this is the right place for you. I started my journey in data science in 2019, and this program helped me get a deeper understanding of the field, develop my analytical skills further, enlarge my network, and find a new job.”
How it all started
The master’s program at YSU is implemented in cooperation with the EIF and ISTC with the support of PMI Science.
EIF Director Bagrat Yengibaryan highlighted the fact that Data Science for Business Master’s Program kicked off at the Yerevan State University (YSU) Department of Economics and Management in 2017.
“The program is designed in compliance with international standards and market requirements. Its graduates are data scientists who can formulate problems, develop algorithms for solving them, and find software solutions for the implementation of these algorithms”.
According to the Head of the Program Ruben Gevorgyan, Data Science for Business is the first interdisciplinary program of its kind in Armenia. “It accepts mathematicians, physicists, economists, and programmers, so our graduates represent three fields at once: mathematics, programming, and business analysis,” he said. At the same time, the program is focused on practical applications of knowledge in business processes, so the graduates can have a direct impact on the labor market, both in the IT sector and the entire economy.
“We can do all this work thanks to the cooperation between the EIF and ISTC and the support of PMI Science,” highlighted Ruben Gevorgyan.
The courses are taught by the best experts in the education field, who work in IT companies, and every year program graduates also join the faculty. Part of the courses is held in partner organizations, which enables the students to solve practical problems and get acquainted with the requirements of the labor market.
According to Ophelia Sargsyan, the Manager of Innovation & Alliances at PMI Science R&D Center Armenia, the scholarships are awarded annually, funded by the PMI Science Center. “So far, 63 students have received scholarships”.
Collaboration with SJSU
Cooperation with San Jose State University started in 2018. In May 2019, a group of students and professors of the Data Science for Business Master’s Program went to SJSU, where they got involved in the work of a number of international companies in Silicon Valley. The next step was the update of the program curriculum: now, the curricula of the Data Science for Business master’s program are fully aligned with the curriculum of the SJSU “Data Analytics” program. This way, YSU can award double diplomas of higher education to selected masters of the Data Science for Business program.
Credits earned by the Data Science for Business students in the first year at YSU are considered acceptable for the SJSU “Data Analytics” program. Those Armenian students, who pass the selection at both YSU and SJSU can continue their studies at the San Jose State University, receiving a double degree and interning at leading organizations in Silicon Valley.
This year, YSU held an exam for the master’s program 1st-year students on June 27. The exam tested the students’ knowledge of linear algebra, calculus, R programming, and Python. Six candidates, who scored over 70 points out of 100, have been selected for admission to the SJSU “Data Analytics” course in the spring of 2023.
One of the candidates for the 2-nd year of study at the SJSU Satenik Mkhitaryan is getting her master’s degree in the Data Science for Business program at Yerevan State University.
“My desire to gain advanced knowledge in the field of data science and also the efficient structural features of the mentioned masters program were the main factors conditioning my decision to participate in the program”.
Cooperation with NVIDIA DLI
YSU’s Data Science for Business Master’s Program has also joined the international educational initiative of the NVIDIA DLI, in the framework of which experts from different universities teach courses mainly in the fields of data science, artificial intelligence, and robotics.
Several YSU professors have already registered as NVIDIA educators with the support of EIF, and among them are Gagik Chakhoyan, Gevorg Ghalacyan, and Lilit Yolyan, who are NVIDIA DLA Ambassadors in Armenia. These three professors are the only NVIDIA Ambassadors not only in Armenia but also in our entire region.
The Ambassadors are teaching “Fundamental Knowledge of Deep Learning” in Armenia, and starting from September 2020, NVIDIA technologies are used in the Data Science for Business Master’s Program. Moreover, the cooperation with NVIDIA allows not only to import knowledge from outside but also to become a quality knowledge exporter.
Cooperation with Turin Tech
A new partnership was formed with Turin Tech in June 2022. It is a well-known company in the field of AI, located in London. Within the framework of the cooperation, the implementation of master’s theses of the program’s students will be tested at Turin Tech. This is a new format of cooperation, where students’ research work abroad is not done through the connections of individual researchers but is placed on institutional foundations.
Satenik Mkhitaryan is writing her dissertation in collaboration with Turin Tech.
“I have fundamental knowledge and skills in the fields that are of primary importance in data science – math, programming, and business analysis. Thanks to the program, I am writing my master’s dissertation in collaboration with TurinTech AI, a leading international organization in the field. The top-class professionals at TurinTech AI help me gain a deeper understanding of the application areas of AI as well as develop my knowledge and skills by working on different applicable models,” she said.
Since its inception, the Data Science for Business Master’s Program has been steadily expanding its partner framework and undergoing qualitative changes. Feedback from the students shows consistent satisfaction with the depth of the knowledge they obtain during the program as well as with the opportunities of collaboration that the program presents. The EIF views this master’s program as an important part of its mission toward making Armenia a technologically advanced country with full use of its scientific and business potential.