Applications Open for Fall 2023 Admissions to ADDM Certificate Program

March 15, 2023

The School of Computing and Information (SCI) is pleased to announce that applications are open for admission to the Applied Data-Driven Methods (ADDM) graduate certificate program for the fall 2023 Term. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, but the degree can be from any discipline, making the certificate a prime opportunity for those looking to pick up new skills that employers value. What’s more, thanks to grants totaling $2.5 million from The Appalachian Regional Commission, The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, The Build Back Better Regional Challenge, and The Department of Labor’s Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities, nearly 200 students located in Western Pennsylvania will be admitted to the certificate program with full tuition remission over the next four years.  

Associate Dean of External Relations Donald Shields spearheaded the applications for the grant funding that has made this support available. Shields said these grants are, “focusing on providing tuition support for predominantly dislocated workers or underemployed people who would come to Pitt to pursue the ADDM certificate.” Shields indicated that not only was the training intended to furnish workers with the skills employers need to fill roles with titles such as “data analyst,” but through usage of grant monies, “help people who were upended or hurt economically by the COVID-19 pandemic.” The grant monies will also help those working in fossil fuels and similar areas of the industry to “pivot into some other part of the economy where the job opportunities are.” Associate Dean for Academic Programs Adam J. Lee said, “You look at the data-oriented jobs on the market, and there are more jobs than people. The idea behind the ADDM certificate is that we can enable a broader group of people to build those skills and get career-ready in those areas.” Lee emphasized that a goal is to enroll students from “different undergraduate disciplines” and “different employment centers” than the SCI has typically been able to reach in the past. 

Dr. Joseph Yurko, Teaching Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Data Science Education, teaches most of the courses in the ADDM curriculum. Dr. Yurko said that “the goal of the program is to help individuals who have no background in analytics, no background in computing, or data science, to get into using analytics in their jobs and their fields, or maybe they want to begin to transition into analytics positions. So, the program is starting from scratch, teaching the basics of programming for data analysis.”  

The curriculum for the ADDM certificate is both rigorous and designed to be accessible to those who do not have any experience programming or using data analytics. Comparing the certificate’s curriculum with coursework designed for students majoring in fields like computer science and information science, Dr. Yurko said that students “still learn the same things, but the way the material is presented is different. We don’t require a lot of mathematical proofs. We don’t make use of calculus. Instead, the concepts are taught through numerous applied programming examples.” Dr. Yurko said that the introductory course, “Data-Centric Computing,” is fast-paced. “It has to cover a lot of material. It introduces programming for data analysis. It introduces visualization. It introduces data manipulation and organization and ultimately, modeling. The courses are all very applied, but students learn the same data analytics concepts taught to students in computer science, information science, or data science.” To complete the ADDM certificate, students must complete 12 credits of coursework from a set of 10 courses. More details on coursework for the certificate can be found here

Pursuing the ADDM standalone certificate is sure to expand the career opportunities for those who enroll, making it especially valuable for those who may be eligible for tuition remission. Courses may be taken online, and the entire certificate can be completed in one calendar year, making the certificate an excellent option for working adults who are looking to reskill or upskill while remaining in their current occupation. Applicants can apply here. For more information on the ADDM certificate, contact