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UTSA launches NSA boot camp in data science and machine learning

UTSA launches NSA boot camp in data science and machine learning

JUNE 10, 2021 — The School of Data Science (SDS) at UTSA is currently hosting its inaugural boot camp with the National Security Agency (NSA). It is designed to build foundational knowledge and skills in data science and machine learning amongst the region’s government cybersecurity professionals.

Current research shows that data literacy is considered the number one driver of organizational growth because of its direct link to fast operational decisions using less time and money. 

UTSA’s latest partnership in training NSA personnel in the growing field of data science is part of a larger collaboration that has been flourishing for more than a decade.

“Intensive training programs like this boot camp are a great compliment to the degree programs at UTSA and our government partners.”

“Data science and machine learning can be applied to a variety of domains,” says Jianwei Niu, interim academic director of the UTSA School of Data Science. “Demand for data scientists crosses all industries as businesses and government want to leverage the power of data analytics to customize offerings, reduce costs and expand into new areas.”

There are currently about 20 NSA members enrolled in the UTSA SDS bootcamp program which will run the entire month of June. The course delivery will be in a classroom environment and/or synchronously online and taught by UTSA faculty.

One of the main objectives of the NSA is global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign and domestic intelligence and counterintelligence purposes. To address this mission NSA enrollees will be exposed to a variety of modules.

The SDS boot camp will develop participants’ knowledge and skills across 12 modules including:

  • Data life cycle with a particular focus on data architecture, data curation, data visualization.

  • Data-driven Python and R programming emphasizing problem-solving and algorithmic thinking.

  • Data mining and machine learning with a focus on clustering, classification, evaluation metrics, supervised and unsupervised learning.

  • Deep learning models and generative adversarial networks to provide the most cost-effective solutions to many problems.

  • Big data technologies to process and analyze distributed, massive data sets using Hadoop and Spark frameworks.

“To meet the relentless demand for data-savvy talent, we need to provide multiple learning and career development pathways,” said David Mongeau, founding director of the UTSA School of Data Science. “Intensive training programs like this boot camp are a great compliment to the degree programs at UTSA and our government partners.”

For more than 16 years, UTSA has been partnering with the NSA to train the country’s cybersecurity talent. UTSA is the only Hispanic Serving Institution in the entire nation designated as a Center for Academic Excellence in all three distinctions: Cyber Operations, Cyber Defense, and Research.

It’s for this reason that the SDS answers the national call for a highly-skilled workforce to fill growing needs in cybersecurity, data analytics, business intelligence and digital asset management. Collaboration across these distinct disciplines will foster radical innovation to address critical challenges.


The school’s location in the heart of San Antonio will provide government, industry, and community partners with access to UTSA’s nationally recognized programs and expertise. In January 2021, UTSA marked the groundbreaking of its $90 million School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center, the first new building in a series planned as part of the university’s Downtown Campus expansion.

Milady Nazir

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