Academic Partnership Grows Data Analytics Pros

Calendar icon 11-25-2020
George Mason University stock photo


Our cohort program with George Mason University is answering the demand for data analytics expertise


Data analytics professionals are in high demand, and SAIC is striving to meet that need through our strategic partnership with George Mason University. SAIC and its customers recognize the importance of big data, data science-required skill sets and tools, and data-driven decision-making in maintaining mission advantage across the U.S. government.

During the summer of 2013, SAIC studied where technology and our customers were headed. We looked at our skills mix to see if we had critical-mass gaps or shortfalls in emerging technology areas, and data analytics was at the top of the list. We were seeing demand for data analytics professionals from all customers, including the intelligence community where security clearances added another level of staffing complexity.

That same year, SAIC began its partnership with GMU’s Volgenau School of Engineering to develop and launch the first cohort of the Master of Science in Data Analytics Engineering program. The program provides those in the data science and analytics disciplines at SAIC with the opportunity to enhance their current skills in in-demand areas through classroom-based learning. Furthermore, our cohort approach builds and maintains a significant talent pipeline, with a focus on long-term, sustainable, and organic growth in data analytics and data science.

Benefits of the partnership

Through the strategic relationship with the university, our customers can count on getting mission support from well-schooled data scientists and analytics professionals, and GMU gets to expand the reach of its Master of Science in Data Analytics Engineering program. Each cohort of 30 students provides GMU with a steady stream of entrants into the curriculum and future alumni.

SAIC's cohort participants get to broaden their academic profiles and add to their training, education, and experience in support of our customers’ missions. The master’s degree is applicable to all of our customers, and after the first four core courses, each student receives an accredited certificate in data analytics. The master's degree requires completion of 10 courses.

SAIC invests in each student, covering their costs, while each student is making an investment in the company with the time and effort being spent to complete the program and better support their customer. The program is available at SAIC's headquarters in Reston, Virginia, and at our Chantilly, Virginia, campus.

We are the only company in the industry to offer an in-house program like this to employees. This program allows SAIC to attract, grow, and retain talent that has significant value to our customers.

Proven program success

In the fall of 2020, Cohort 5 began. As of the end of 2020, the first two cohorts will have completed the entire 10-course program, while the third, fourth, and fifth cohorts will continue to progress through classes.

Our employees and customers love this program. We hire lifelong learners, and we see widespread interest from our employees. Our customers are happy to have people supporting them who are gaining advanced analytics skills by the month.

So many of our customers face shortages in specialized skills, and it’s up to us to find novel means to meet that need. Our data analytics cohort with GMU is one approach that is paying dividends.


Explore our work at our Intelligence Community site and contact us for a demo at