We have developed four specializations—as well as one general specialization—with input from industry leaders to ensure you are gaining the knowledge and skills that employers need.
Game and Simulation Development
The gaming industry is a serious business – its economic impact on the US GDP was over $11 billion in 2016. And, its influence can be felt in fields far beyond entertainment. From kindergarten classrooms to university lecture halls, games have become valid teaching and learning tools. Video games play a huge role in training employees in industries such as hospitality, security, defense, manufacturing, and emergency services. The health care field utilizes simulation and games to train students and practitioners in safe and non-stressful environments.
Whether designing a virtual reality game for fun, or a game to explore environmental challenges in urban areas, game design and development calls for a solid foundation in the Information Sciences including coursework on human factors in system design, User-Centered Design, programming, database management, software engineering, and analysis of information systems. Our game and simulation development concentration builds on that foundation with course work on storytelling, game design, and game implementation, the psychology of games or serious games, and simulation in health sciences. Students will also take courses from the University of Pittsburgh’s English, Studio Arts, Psychology, Computer Science, and other programs. In addition, students will design and build actual games for both entertainment and educational purposes.
IT Consulting and Data Analytics
Information Technology is at the forefront of every organizational decision being made in today’s marketplace. New digital tools are changing how we connect, communicate, and discover information. For most organizations, it is enabling a significant and sustained competitive advantage, As Information Technology professionals, we are uniquely positioned to help organizations leverage, harness, and use this technology to drive unprecedented growth and innovation.
In the IT Consulting and Data Analytics concentration, you will learn how to break down complex problems, analyze critical data to support your decision-making, and design leading-edge solutions. You will learn how to successfully manage projects using industry standard tools, techniques, and processes. You will enhance your leadership skills to help you launch and navigate your professional career. Through team-based assignments, you will have the opportunity to work with local industry professionals to solve their most challenging problems.
After completing this concentration, you will be positioned for a multitude of job opportunities such as data analysts, business analysts, systems analysts, project managers, technology consultants, systems engineers, and technical sales specialists.
Networks and Security
Computer networks form the critical infrastructure of society and network architects and administrators are in high demand across all sectors of industry. This program of study benefits from the expertise of our faculty and the academic rigor of our graduate programs in security, telecommunications, and information science. The School of Computing and Information is nationally-renowned for its academic and research programs in Information Security – it has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education since 2003. Students who choose the Networks and Security concentration will learn the fundamentals of how computer networks work, how to make them secure, and what goes into the protocols and design of networks, be it local area networks, wide area networks, wireless networks, or the Internet of Things. Students will be able to take courses in networks, computer security, and wireless networks, including a hands-on lab class that exposes them to various dimensions of networks and security.
This concentration explores the design and management of information systems, focusing on the user’s needs and improving the user’s experience. You will learn how to create systems that will specifically address the information tasks of the end-user, that are easy-to-use, and which are responsive to the user’s changing needs and growing sophistication. You will be able to help improve workplace satisfaction and efficiency, through effective system design and intelligent system management.
This concentration incorporates coursework from the cognitive, system design, and human-factors disciplines. You will learn how to identify and manipulate a user’s environment and their specific goals for an information system. Then, using a set of well-defined techniques for design and analysis, the system is developed and tested (with actual users) for both its effectiveness and user satisfaction. This process can be considered as a multi-stage problem solving process and the end result is a system that is useful, effective, easy to learn and use, and appreciated by the end user.
The coursework, practical learning experiences, and independent projects prepare students for careers as user interface designers, user experience architects, system designers, and software engineers.
The self-designed concentration allows you to create the skill set, through your course selections, that you need for the career that you want to pursue. Combine elements from each of the concentrations above, or think about adding courses that will broaden your area of expertise.