Professional Master’s Program Prepares SFU Graduand for a Successful Return to the Data Science Industry

June 23, 2021

By Andrew Ringer

SFU graduand Matt Canute is ready to return to the data science industry with an expanded skillset as he graduates from the Professional Master of Science in Computer Science program this June.

Just two years ago Canute was working at WorkSafe BC as a Business Intelligence Data Specialist. While in this role, he came across a couple of co-op students from the professional master’s program at SFU and was impressed by their skillset and data science knowledge. Upon looking further into the program and the big data concentration, he decided it was a good fit for him to gain a broader knowledge of data science and the tools he used every day.  

A couple years later, now with a deeper understanding of his field of work, Canute is happy with his decision.

“It feels good to have a more well-rounded understanding of things that I wouldn’t have had the time to research on my own,” he says. 

The hands-on nature of the program also allowed Canute to pursue some projects that he previously had ideas for but didn’t have the time or resources to execute.

For example, he worked on a project to find correlations between website colour schemes, font choices and website content. Given the lab access that big data students in the professional master’s program are given, Canute and his lab partners were able to use a group of computers to scrape this large data set off of the internet. 

Canute also led a team to build a WikiPlugin that users can use in their Chrome browser. This plugin can help improve the Wikipedia experience for users through a variety of features, including showing estimated read time based off of expected complexity of text, highlighting links on the page, finding related articles between different fields, and more. Canute and his team received an Innovation Prize for this project in 2020.

Another highlight of Canute’s SFU experience was completing a co-op at Samsung Electronics, where he worked as a Data Scientist for 8 months on phone-usage data.

“It was very interesting to see how the designers were using the tools that we were building to make decisions on what updates to make in the newer versions of the interface,” says Canute.

“I can see some of these changes today,” added Canute, who is a Samsung phone user himself.

Now set to graduate, Canute is using his skills to do data science consulting while working on a side project. He is currently in a transitional period and plans to move south of the border in the upcoming months.

Learn more about the professional master’s program >
Watch a video on the WikiPlugin project >