According to co-founder of Sun Microsystems Vinod Khosla, “In the next 10 years, data science and software will do more for medicine than all of the biological sciences together.”

Whether that bold prediction will prove true is yet to be seen, but there is no denying that in all fields there is a growing demand for people who can interpret and analyze the massive amount of data being collected every day. Santa Barbara City College stands ready to play its part in preparing students to meet that demand.

As part the Central Coast Data Science Partnership, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), SBCC is one of four academic institutions working in collaboration to train students in data science through coursework and real-world projects.

Students learn the underlying principles of data science, including data-generating processes and the role of measurement, ethics and privacy, information-processing tools, and the oral and written communication skills necessary for pursuing professional careers in the field. The partnership also includes UCSB, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal State San Bernadino.

SBCC’s part in the project is to initiate a pathway that facilitates community college student transfer, participation and success in the field of data science. The goal is to offer a transferable course to UCSB and other four-year institutions.

Computer Science Department chair Nathalie Guebels is working on curriculum development for a such a course to be offered beginning Fall 2021 or Spring 2022

“With data science becoming more and more prominent as a new field of study with many job opportunities, I am thrilled that SBCC is part of this unique partnership, which will open new doors for community college students,” said Guebels.

“As the field of data science is applicable to many disciplines, I look forward to teaching and learning from students with different backgrounds and interests,” Guebels said. “I believe it is an opportunity to grow the diversity in computing majors, which is something I am passionate about.”

Guebels credits Jens Kuhn, dean of educational programs, for his help and support in providing the opportunity for SBCC to particpate in the partnership.

Guebels and student program advisor Janna Mori are also in the process of planning a data science virtual event this fall, when UCSB and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student fellows will talk to SBCC students about the data science major and share their experiences at four-year institutions.

Next summer SBCC students will be able to apply for a summer immersive data science program at UCSB. For the academic year 2021-22, the fellowships at UCSB will also consider applications from incoming transfer students.

For more information about the Central Coast Data Science Partnership, visit