ECC to offer UC Berkeley-based data science course

May 9, 2021 Torrance, CA

El Camino College, with support from UC Berkeley’s Data Science Education Program (DSEP), will offer a version of the university’s popular data science course starting Spring Semester 2021.

The course, Foundations of Data Science, was first offered at Berkeley in 2015, where it quickly became one of the most popular courses on campus. Designed for freshmen, the class is even in demand among graduate students. El Camino is among the first community colleges in California to offer data science as a course: Foundations of Data Science (CSCI 8). 

“We are excited to help El Camino College, and other California Community Colleges, launch data science courses that include an exciting new curriculum that has proved so popular at UC Berkeley,” said Dr. Eric Van Dusen, Interim Director of DSEP. “We are also interested in using this to create transfer pathways to four-year institutions.”  

Data science combines elements of computer science and statistics to draw data-based conclusions about aspects of the real world. Using and managing data is how companies like Amazon and Netflix know what to suggest next to their customers. These skills are in high demand with the exponential growth of data in virtually all aspects of life.

“The primary benefit of our students learning data is that it gives them an advantage in almost every field,” said Solomon Russell, professor of computer science at El Camino. “It is very interdisciplinary; it is not uncommon to have a psychology or biology major taking these classes with math majors.” 

Russell also noted that data science careers are in high demand, a trend not expected to slow down any time soon. By learning data science, El Camino students widen their job prospects as they graduate with virtually any degree. 

“These courses can lead students to become data scientists, machine learning experts, and data analysts,” Russell said. “The big tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Netflix consider data their prized asset.” 

Job search engine Glassdoor ranked data scientist as the “#1 Best Job” five out of the last six years. Data scientists are needed in almost every field, from security to dating apps. 

“We always strive to be on the leading edge of high demand academic offerings that help fill the workforce pipeline,” said El Camino College President Dena P. Maloney. “It’s what our students and our industry partners here in the South Bay rely on us to provide. This new data science course is an example of our commitment to meeting those needs.” 

The new Foundations of Data Science course also helps El Camino students be well positioned for future transfer plans, especially as universities and colleges nationwide begin offering data science majors. The push to create more transfer pathways between community colleges and four-year institutions is only expected to intensify. 

Three sections of Foundations of Data Science (CSCI 8) will available during Spring Semester 2021, with live online instruction modality. 

  • CSCI-8-0130 (Lab: MW 1:00-2:25pm, Lecture: MW 2:30pm-3:55pm)
  • CSCI-8-0131 (Lab: MW 4:00-5:25pm, Lecture: MW 2:30pm-3:55pm)
  • CSCI-8-0132 (Lab: MW 4:00-5:25pm, Lecture: MW 2:30pm-3:55pm) 

Interested students are urged to enroll now. The course does not require any prior coding knowledge. More information about Foundations of Data Science (CSCI 8) is available at