Training a New Generation of Software Engineers to Build a Better Future

MS in Information Systems Now Offered in Toronto, Canada

Toronto’s tech sector has become a global hub for innovation and talent. Tech companies in Toronto contribute more than $8 billion in annual employee wages and employ more than 90,000 people. Tech titans like Bell, Cisco, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Rogers, Shopify, Telus, and Tophat all have offices in Toronto; and as more tech companies continue to set up shop in the Greater Toronto Area (or GTA), the need for software engineers in Toronto will grow. In a 2019 study, Toronto was ranked 3rd out of the 50 top Canadian and US tech markets, with Toronto’s market identified as the fastest growing. That same study ranked Toronto as the top city in North America for “brain gain” in technical fields—meaning that more skilled tech workers are choosing to live and work in Toronto than in any other city in North America.

You can ride this growing wave of tech energy in Toronto with Northeastern University’s Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS).  Also offered on our Boston, Silicon Valley, and Seattle campuses, this innovative program blends IT management, business, and software engineering. The MSIS program is designed for bachelor’s degree graduates from a variety of backgrounds—with or without prior coding experience. Whether you already working as a software engineer and want to move into a leadership or management role, or are seeking to use your critical thinking and problem-solving skills to pivot into a new and lucrative field, the MS in Information Systems at Northeastern University-Toronto is your first step to becoming a leader and problem-solver in software engineering.

Located in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, Northeastern’s Toronto campus is a short walk or transit ride from some of the country’s biggest cultural centres, research hospitals, financial institutions, and tech companies, and start-ups. Mirroring the richness and diversity of the city itself, the campus is home to a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. It is also part of an extensive global network that includes students on eleven regional campuses, over a quarter-million alumni, and over three thousand employer partners.

Changing the way software is built

For nearly fifteen years, the mission of the Information Systems program has been to create software engineers who are capable of addressing the needs of an increasingly digital society. Beyond simply instilling coding skills, the program aims to change the way software is built, making it more in tune with the challenges we face in our day-to-day lives. As Kal Bugrara, the director of the Information Systems Program, explains “We want to bring the same ambition for the future to our Toronto campus and think of software differently. The way software is built now is not in tune with the challenges that we face in our social lives. At Northeastern, we want to be part of the effort to make digitization a part of improving people’s lives.”

At Northeastern, we approach software engineering as a design challenge first and foremost. Our focus is on designing useable and accessible systems that prioritize human needs and social applications. We prioritize understanding and breaking down the specific problems that software is being built to address. This innovative approach to software engineering not only makes coding more accessible, but results in a more intuitive, effective, and accessible application for the end-user.

The MS in Information Systems will not only provide you with the fundamental technical skills and expertise, but will prepare you to think critically and creatively about how to use this expertise to design ethical, secure, scalable, and efficient solutions to some of today’s most complex business and social problems. Our graduates are empowered to be a part of the decision-making processes that shape the application and software systems that improve our world. “Hopefully,” says Bugrara “we will create a different kind of agenda around how applications are serving society.”

Changing the way software engineering is taught

In addition to changing how software is built, the Information Systems program is changing the way software engineering is taught. Our program champions collaboration between our students, faculty, and employer partners, integrating academics with experiential, hands-on learning.

As a student in the program, you can choose from a variety of cutting-edge courses and electives taught by leading industry experts. Our ongoing partnerships with industry experts and employers ensure that our curriculum is always advancing and evolving to reflect the latest advances in technology and research and future market needs. Some of the courses we offer include:

  1. Cryptocurrency and Smart Contract Engineering
  2. Network Structures and Cloud Computing
  3. Engineering of Big-Data Systems
  4. Smartphones-Based Web Development
  5. User Experience Design and Testing
  6. Advances in Data Science and Architecture

Alongside these state-of-the-art technical courses, the MSIS program also offers courses designed to build your business, interpersonal, and communications skills. Courses in business analytics, quality assurance, project planning, and agile development ensure that you have the business knowledge and communication, and managerial skills that you need to succeed and advance in the industry of your choice.

What’s more, thanks to the wide breadth of innovative electives we offer, our flexible curriculum can be tailored to suit your passions and career goals. Our graduates work in a variety of roles for companies big and small. From leading-edge start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, our graduates work in a variety of industries as IT managers, project managers, data architects, functional engineers and architects, and business design and process architects.

Experiential, hands-on learning

Northeastern’s commitment to experiential learning ensures that from day one of your studies, you can connect the skills and theory you are learning in the classroom to current industry practice. Our classes provide you with the opportunity to work side-by-side with our industry-expert instructors to solve real-world problems through relevant case studies and hands-on projects. For example, students and faculty on our Boston campus partnered to develop a new mobile tablet for Boston Children’s Hospital that collects and relays patient information from ambulances—technology that is still used to this day. Our students and faculty have also collaborated on an application that assists nurses working in neonatal units, as well as an application that helps people in Boston experiencing homelessness.

Students also have the opportunity to take part in Northeastern’s one-of-a-kind graduate co-op program. The co-op program allows you to gain practical, real-world experience while putting your knowledge into action and exploring the field of your choice. Our experienced co-op faculty will provide you with industry-specific advice and mentorship to guide you through your co-op experience: from applying for a position, to ongoing professional development and support during your co-op term.

Our global network includes co-op partners from a wide array of employers specializing in healthcare, finance, infrastructure, safety and security, and sustainability. Our students have completed their co-op at companies like Amazon, Facebook, Fidelity Investments, and Dell. As part of their co-op work, they have worked on anti-fraud projects, built an original self-service platform that automatically processes and debugs tech agreements submitted by business users to Amazon, and helped to develop deep learning algorithms to build a more intelligent chatbot support service.

Toronto’s booming tech industry, as well as the centralized location of our campus—close to the offices of some of the world’s leading tech companies and start-ups, banks, and research hospitals—means that you have a wide variety of potential companies and industries to partner with and learn from. And, because our campus is just a ten-minute walk from Toronto’s Union Station—a key transit centre that connects Toronto’s downtown core to cities across Southern Ontario (including other rising tech hubs like Kitchener and Waterloo)—the possibilities spread well beyond Toronto’s downtown core.

Learn more to jump-start your career

If you’re ready to take the first step towards becoming a more evolved software engineer and to help shape the systems and applications that will meet tomorrow’s needs, visit our program page for more information.

By Allison Leadley

Related Departments:Multidisciplinary Masters (IT Areas)