What Can You Do with a Ph.D. in Big Data Analytics? 

Have you ever wondered what you can do with a Ph.D. in Big Data Analytics? We spoke with Big Data Analytics Ph.D. student Hayden Hampton and Professor and Chair of the Department of Statistics and Data Science Shunpu Zhang to find out.  

What careers can students pursue with a Ph.D. in Big Data Analytics? 

Obtaining a Ph.D. in Big Data Analytics will prepare students to pursue positions in academic research and teaching, machine learning and artificial intelligence, quantitative finance, pharmaceutical and clinical research and government agencies.  

Why should students choose UCF to pursue their Ph.D. in Big Data Analytics? 

  • Faculty expertise – Our faculty have expertise in a variety of areas, which provides incoming students with multiple areas to specialize in depending on their individual interests. For example, some of the faculty members’ areas of expertise include machine learning, medical imaging, classical statistics, clinical research, network science and anomaly detection.  
  • Facilities and resources – We offer extensive resources for engaging in research through our data science lab which houses over 20 multi-GPU workstations and a GPU cluster.  
  • Program reputation – Our program is well known in the industry as one of the first Ph.D. programs in data science. 
  • Interdisciplinary opportunities – Our faculty have ongoing relationships with other departments for engaging in interdisciplinary research including the Forensic Science program and the College of Nursing.  
  • Location – Orlando is an attractive area to live in due to the warm weather as well as the many exciting activities in the surrounding area including theme parks and nature reserves.  
  • Financial Support – We offer students various funding opportunities over the course of their graduate work. 
  • Alumni Success – Our past graduates speak to our success as a program. For example, our alumni have had success in obtaining positions as researchers at Amazon as well as in other industries such as the FDA and banking.  

Can students without a statistics background pursue a Ph.D. in Big Data Analytics? 

Yes, lack of background in statistics will not prevent someone from pursuing a Ph.D. in Big Data Analytics. We have many students that have come with backgrounds in mathematics, computer science and engineering that have been successful in our program. It is recommended that incoming students have a background in a STEM-related field.   

What is the most rewarding part of earning a Ph.D. in Big Data Analytics? 

There are many rewarding aspects of earning a Ph.D. in Big Data Analytics. These include obtaining expertise in a specialized field, making research contributions to your field through original research, teaching opportunities over the course of your studies and the recognition and prestige within the academic and professional community that obtaining a Ph.D. brings with it.  

What career advice do you have for students with a Ph.D. in Big Data Analytics? 

My first piece of advice is to clarify your goals. It is important to reflect on your personal career goals and aspirations. Knowing whether you are interested in academia, industry or governmental work can have a direct impact on the types of opportunities you pursue during your graduate studies.  

Second, I would recommend exploring research opportunities and seeking out a mentor. Finding a mentor in your area of study who can provide guidance and advice based on their experiences can be a crucial asset as you engage in research. 

Lastly, I would recommend developing a strong online presence. Highlighting your skills in a professional manner online can significantly broaden the available opportunities presented to you as a graduate student. 

Learn more about the Big Data Analytics Ph.D. program. 

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