The School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences was created through the amalgamation of three departments and has an ambitious mission that goes beyond educating the next generation of “data heads” – although this is the focus. Computer science is already the largest single degree on campus and the new data science degree is growing the fastest. Together with other sequences, CDIS has around 3,700 students.
Wisconsin could use them all … and a few more. Erickson said the state has approximately 6,600 open computer jobs today, only a fraction of which are filled by the combined annual graduates of the state’s post-secondary schools. Given the high demand for such talent, it’s no surprise that the average salary for computer jobs is around $ 80,000 per year, compared to the national average of $ 50,000.
The Department of Computer Sciences at UW-Madison once had a reputation for sending its best and smartest to the giants of Silicon Valley rather than affiliation with Wisconsin companies. That has changed as CDIS is reaching out to government companies who recognize that computers have become an essential part of their business.
The school has also stepped up its efforts to promote entrepreneurship among students and faculty, some of which were evident in recent angel and venture capital funding from companies in Wisconsin.
CDIS recently won the internationally known Creative Destruction Lab, which supports young companies with innovative products and services in the areas of risk, insurance, health and wellness. A seasoned investor at the meeting said the CDL was “the best program of its kind” he had ever seen.