Online CS Masters Program
In April, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, delivered their quarterly earnings report to Wall Street — marking the company’s first since the outbreak of COVID-19. During his report, Nadella shared some illuminating numbers related to their suite of products, with a heavy focus on Teams, the company’s business collaboration software. He reported 200 million Microsoft Teams meeting participants in a single day, generating more than 68 million hours of digital meetings, and that Teams now has more than 75 million daily active users. As Nadella put it, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”
The ability to engage in this level of digital transformation has been available for several years, and the inevitability of the trend had been discussed for nearly as long. With the outbreak of a novel coronavirus, 2020 proved to be a watershed moment. The virus forced large swaths of the American workforce to move online and in the process made tangible the massive impact that computing has had and will continue to have on industries and sectors that were lagging behind the curve. This has unsurprisingly generated an increase in the already growing number of people revaluating their familiarity with the technology they use and the programs that power it.
Baylor University’s new online computer science master’s program, which has been in the works for years, serendipitously launched this fall to accommodate the growing number of professionals interested in computer science. This population, either due to personal interest or on-the-job training, wants to pursue an academic course of study in computer science. One of the faculty working with the inaugural cohort of students in the program this fall is Greg Speegle, PhD, longtime professor of computer science at Baylor University. Speegle primarily teaches the database and big data classes in the program in addition to his research in databases and big data systems.
“For the last few years, we’ve been courting this idea that there are more and more people in the world who have come to understand the importance of computing after they've finished college. They’re in jobs at various places, doing all kinds of different things and somewhere along the way they begin to understand that computing is important for all kinds of different reasons. They see how important it is in their day to day lives and how the corporation that they’re involved with has them interacting with computers all the time. They eventually get to a place where they want to know more be involved in the more technical aspects,” says Speegle.
This new program opens the door for the University to make a master’s level education in computer science available to individuals who currently have jobs and families. Individuals who can't attend Baylor in person for 18 months to two years to work on a master’s program, but believe they would benefit from additional education in order to do some new tasks at their jobs, change into a different position within their current company, or switch fields entirely. Students will be able to specialize in one of three tracks: software engineering, data science or cybersecurity. Additionally, students will take a number of core courses and build towards not only getting a master’s degree but also toward gaining a solid foundational understanding of database and big data science that make up so much of enterprise level computing.