The MCDS program focuses on training professional master's students in all aspects of design, engineering and deployment of very large information systems. Our graduates have continued on to careers with employers like Amazon, Apple, Bank of America, CBS Interactive, Google, Groupon, Linkedin, Medallia, Meebo, Microsoft, NetAapp, Next Jump, Oracle, Salesforce, the government of Thailand, Twitter, VMware, VoCollect, and Yahoo. Our current placement rate among graduates is nearly 100 percent.

Summary Statistics

Our graduates have a deep understanding of the technology of VLIS and are eminently qualified for industrial positions. Here's a breakdown of where our alumni have gone after leaving CMU.

Mean, Maximum, and Minimum Starting Salaries (Reported by Alumni, United States)
Academic YearMeanHighLowRespondents
2016/2017$117,333$145,000$100,00036
2015/2016$115,000$150,000$80,00039
2014/2015$118,100$150,000$80,00050
2013/2014$114,146$150,000$80,00041
2012/2013$109,500$165,000$95,00026
2011/2012$105,000$140,000$86,00019
2010/2011$107,000$125,000$80,00012
2009/2010$97,000$110,000$80,0006

Graduation Employment and Further Graduate School Enrollment Rates Reported by Alumni
Academic Year#Respondents#Employed/Graduate School 3 Months%Employed Within 3 Months
2014/2015656397%
2013/20144343100%
2012/20132626100%
2011/20121919100%
2010/2011181794.4%
2009/201066

100%

2008/200988100%

Alumni Testimonials

"The VLIS program gives a great background in how large data is analyzed, processed and maintained in industry. This unique skill set is in very high demand as more companies move toward large data solutions. I was able to find the perfect job where I can apply my skills in machine learning and large data processing everyday. The personal attention and guidance of the professors, as well as, the collaboration with other students make this a truly remarkable program." Mikhail Dhruv, Class of 2011, now at Meebo.

"Since the VLIS program is still young and small, you get close attention from the program directors and get to work with them closely. You could even contribute to shaping the direction of the program, especially the summer practicum. The curriculum is designed to let you study various aspects of very large information systems with flexibility to allow some freedom in your concentration. The courses have helped me understand the issues involving large information systems and the practicum is giving me hands-on experience dealing with such large information system using what I've learned in the courses." Keisuke Ito, Class of 2006, now at Vocollect.

"The VLIS program gives excellent education opportunity that are customized to the needs of each student. I was able to learn various aspects of data mining which will be useful for my further study. Collaborating with great students and professors, and making connections with them were one of the best experiences I had in VLIS." U Kang, current CMU Ph.D. student.

"For me the best thing about the degree has been its flexibility. It has allowed me to approach Big Data from many different perspectives. From the system design perspective I got better at collecting and collecting the data in robust, scalable ways. From the Machine Learning perspective I got better at refining the raw, massive data into little gems of real, useful insights. From the Human-Computer Interaction perspective I got better at how to visualize the data in a way in which I would be able to better understand it and communicate it to real people. The degree is challenging, and there are more opportunities waiting for you all over CMU than you will probably be able to follow. No matter how you look at it or what your particular interests are, this degree probably has something for you." Daniel Langdon

"It has been a great pleasure to attend CMU VLIS program. Here I got the opportunities to meet/work with professors who are passionate in their research areas and are willing share their knowledge with the students; I also enjoyed the challenging courses covering machine learning, distributed systems, etc. Thank you VLIS and I will never forget my days here." Kai Liu, Class of 2012, now with Amazon

"The VLIS program has given me the opportunity to understand how large information systems work in the real world. To begin with, the degree covers topics from the fundamentals of systems hardware, to algorithms for distributed systems, and even industry-accepted practices for software engineering. VLIS then pushes you that extra step - to actually apply these new skills in a real-world project." Robert "Marty" McGuire, Class of 2009, now at CMU's CyLab

"The VLIS program is an excellent introduction to a variety of subjects that are becoming increasingly important in the industry. Classes in databases, distributed systems, machine learning, security, and more provide the right amount of overview for a student to become conversant on many subjects. The capstone project gives the opportunity for a deep dive that provides the kind of hands-on, practical experience with advanced technologies and techniques that companies look for in their top candidates. Attending the VLIS program significantly increased my understanding of complex systems through a combination of external speakers, classes, and projects. It definitely had a very positive effect on my career." Dmitriy Ryaboy, Class of 2009, now at Twitter.

"The VLIS program is highly tailored to the individual needs of its students. I was given personal guidance but also the freedom to choose the coursework that mattered most to me. There was a focus on improving skills that would be relevant in industry and the advisors always showed a keen interest in the students' professional placement." Evan Stade, Class of 2008, now at Google

"The VLIS program gives scientific curriculum and challenging projects that cover core topics in the IT world. We are able to attain research experience and professional training in VLIS. The skills gained here attract employers from different industries and make it possible for us to contribute our efforts in these diverse positions. Collaborating with smart brains on interesting projects also make the study here a fortune for my whole life." Huanian Zheng, Class of 2010, now at Baidu