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Accelerating Work Performance with Skills in Data Science and AI

Learn about how you can land a career in one of Canada’s fastest-growing tech industries.


As one of the fastest-growing industries in Canada, data science has become a lucrative career path for many. That’s because evidence suggests that artificial intelligence — or AI — will be one of the leading economic drivers of our time, with an estimated worldwide business value of $3.9 trillion USD by the year 2022.

Canada has quickly become a leader in the AI space, with research strength and transformative startups. In fact, Montreal has the highest concentration of researchers and students of deep learning (a subgroup of machine learning in AI) in the world, and Toronto has the highest concentration of AI startups in the world. As AI and machine learning are increasingly changing and improving how we do business, companies don’t want to be left behind. And with more companies adopting these technologies, the demand for high-quality talent is on the rise. That’s why Dr. Nabil Beitinjaneh, a data science consultant and trainer with more than 25 years of experience, helped create McGill University School of Continuing Studies’ Professional Development Certificate in Data Science and Machine Learning in 2017, now offered both in class and online.

“We worked with industry leaders to develop a practical curriculum, designed to take someone who’s interested in machine learning and AI and turn them into a practitioner working in that field,” says Dr. Beitinjaneh, who’s also the faculty lecturer in charge of data science programs at McGill. The university recognized the demand for data scientists within organizations and the small talent pool and decided to bridge the gap. The program aims to help put students on the right path toward a career as a data analyst, data engineer, data scientist, or AI practitioner. Students in the program have the opportunity to work in cross-functional teams to translate earnings into business insights and help to guide business decisions.

“The majority of our students are mature students who have some work experience and are looking to reskill or upskill within their careers,” says Dr. Beitinjaneh, “and what they learn can be applied directly to their work.” Jean-Olivier Pitre, a data engineer with the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Montréal’s municipal transport service, enrolled in the program to advance his skills in turning data into insight, and it paid off. “Because of the advanced analytics work that I produced with my team on how to optimize service on the Montréal metro’s orange line, I received the Coup de Coeur STM award, an award given to STM employees who did astounding work for the customer experience and/or directly contributed to our 2025 organizational plan,” he says. “This wouldn’t have been possible without this program. McGill gave me the knowledge and the tools, but especially the roadmap and strategy on how to generate value from data in order to make a positive impact in the real world — in our case, to millions of weekly users.”

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