A Master in Information Technology (VT-MIT) will provide business and technical leaders the knowledge to leverage big data to innovate processes, optimize decision-making, and drive advancements in business strategies and engineering solutions. "The interdisciplinary degree empowers students to lead with expertise, making informed decisions that support transformative business strategies as we usher in the new era of technological innovation," says Parviz Ghandforoush, associate dean for Pamplin graduate programs and the VT-MIT program's executive director.

Once confined to the data sciences, the utilization of big data has evolved to become integral to daily operations in any business, facilitating crucial decision-making processes across various sectors. Data is pivotal to business, especially with the growing applications of AI and machine learning. Generative AI specifically excels at creating convincingly authentic content of people or images, allowing businesses to derive relatable and appealing insights for product design or development. The integration of generative AI and machine learning also democratizes access to data, enabling professionals across domains to leverage these technologies for redesigning business processes or optimizing supply chain logistics. All of which are critical to today’s businesses, serving as the backbone for efficient operations, timely delivery of goods, and maintaining competitive advantage in the global marketplace. With the increasing use of data in every aspect of a business, effective data management and compliance within organizations remain paramount, and leaders require technical expertise to utilize the power of generative AI and machine learning for data-driven decision-making to propel organizational success.  

Leaders can acquire technical expertise in the VT-MIT program as they learn to harness big data alongside information technology. This will ultimately benefit them during the processes of developing, designing, and testing new products or services. For instance, engineers utilize big data to test features like tap-and-pay functionality in mobile apps. By analyzing user data for a product or service, students gain valuable insights into feature effectiveness, enabling them to refine designs and identify areas for improvement. This data-driven approach enhances product performance and streamlines development processes, leading to greater efficiencies and improved outcomes. 

Additionally, the program emphasizes hands-on experience, providing students with practical skills to excel in data engineering and IT management. Data engineering is the practice of designing and building systems for collecting, storing, and analyzing data. Applicable in just about every industry, organizations must have the ability to collect massive amounts of data and the right people to ensure its usability. With a cutting-edge curriculum, industry-relevant projects, and expert faculty, VT-MIT program students are well-prepared to tackle modern workplace challenges and drive impactful outcomes in their careers. Reflecting on her newest course offering, Data Engineering Project, Dr. Nektaria Tryfona, Collegiate Assistant Professor and instructor in the VT-MIT program, emphasizes, “Data engineering is a pivotal element of modern data infrastructure, finding applications across various industries and sectors where data is generated, processed, and leveraged. A call to equip current and future workforce with knowledge and capabilities related to end-to-end engineering solutions is evident.”


Looking ahead, the transformative potential of big data is poised to redefine the landscape, and the VT-MIT program uniquely prepares students for this dynamic change. With an interdisciplinary curriculum, distinguished faculty, and a strong industry network, students gain theoretical knowledge and practical skills to excel in AI, machine learning, and data governance. Through hands-on projects and industry collaborations, students acquire real-world experience, ensuring they are well-equipped to tackle challenges in data management, data engineering, compliance, and strategic decision-making within organizations. “As we move forward, leaders with or without technical backgrounds will increasingly rely on these technologies and skill sets to navigate complex datasets and drive innovation, propelling organizations towards a more data-driven future. Acquiring essential skills in data integration, including data analysis, interpretation, and visualization, will be critical for students aspiring to thrive in this evolving landscape,” shared Ghandforoush. 

Aligned with this vision, Virginia Tech's Master of Information Technology degree program and ten distinct graduate certificate offerings equip students with a comprehensive interdisciplinary education in IT, preparing them for leadership roles in technology-driven industries. By choosing the VT-MIT program as a pathway for career success, leaders position themselves at the forefront of AI and machine learning advancements, driving innovation and success in the digital era.