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Students who graduate with degrees in data engineering gain skills that are in demand in several industry sectors, including manufacturing, defense, health care and finance. | Image: Getty Images

Access to global information has resulted in an increasing demand for technical skills required for handling complex data and extracting information and knowledge from it. A new major at Texas A&M University aims to fill that demand.

The Bachelor of Science in Data Engineering program, housed in the Wm Michael Barnes ’64 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, will train students in state-of-the-art techniques needed for modern data-driven systems. The skillsets they’ll gain are sought after by several different industry sectors, including manufacturing, defense, health care and finance.

"The College of Engineering continues to be a leader in engineering education by offering degree programs that meet current industry demand," said Dr. John E. Hurtado, interim vice chancellor and dean of engineering at Texas A&M. "Data engineering is a field that has seen significant growth over the past few years, creating the need for qualified engineers. With this new program, we will fill that need by producing future Aggie data engineers."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated there were 63,200 data scientists and mathematical science positions in 2020 with a median annual salary of $98,230. The BLS projects that this sector will have 83,000 positions by 2030, corresponding to a 31.4% growth between 2020 and 2030. This sector features in the top 10 list of fastest growing jobs from 2020 through 2030.

“Understanding data can guide decision-making in business, science and engineering settings, among others,” said Dr. Lewis Ntaimo, industrial and systems engineering department head. “Our program is one of few nationally with a data-driven focus. Graduates of this program will be in demand for various employment opportunities, including data analysts, data scientists, information system analysts, systems analysts and systems engineers.”

The 128-credit hour program’s curriculum includes techniques in data analytics, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, reinforcement learning and related areas. It integrates them with other science and engineering topics to train students to make data-driven, informed decisions.

The program was developed through a task force started by Ntaimo that included representatives from programs at Texas A&M, including computer science, electrical and computer engineering, and the Texas A&M Institute of Data Science.

“There is a critical need to capture and securely store and manage data,” said Dr. Amarnath Banerjee, associate department head for undergraduate affairs and chair of the task force. “For companies to remain competitive, they must efficiently mine the data to visualize and extract the information and knowledge needed for optimal decision-making.”

Initially approved by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on May 19, 2022, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board followed with formal approval on July 28, 2022, for the college to begin program delivery in fall 2022.