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Specialisation studies

Big Data Analytics

Prepare yourself for undertaking research at the cutting edge of creating intelligent services


Due to the ongoing pandemic we aim to enable students to study the programme at distance. We will provide lecture streams for our students, at least during the autumn term and are monitoring the situation for the spring term as well. Note, that we ask students to actively participate during lectures and therefore request that they have a working system, including a microphone and possibly a camera.

Today the same amount of information is created by computers and users around the world in 48 hours, as was created from the beginning of humanity until year 2003. Software encompasses an increasing amount of industries, and as Internet of Things (IoT) solutions become more common, big data analytics must be used to process the data they generate. To find patterns in and being able to handle this enormous amount of data opens for better and more precise fact-based decision-making. Companies and organisations have already realized the opportunities this brings and there is a continuously growing demand of trained big data analytics developers today.

Big Data Analytics specialisation studies gives you an in-depth understanding of how to make use of data in order to create insights. The intended student for these specialisation studies is someone with a programming background who wants to understand how to employ machine learning methods in a business environment. The program is arranged so that you rapidly gain a broad understanding of the essential concepts of big data analytics; descriptive and predictive modelling, as well as optimization. The program emphasizes the importance of understanding how to build analytical solutions with production level code.

As a student you will be involved in projects connected to real-world problems that includes elements of both group work and individual achievements. The focus on real-world problems emphasizes disruptive problem solving through analytics service development. Communication and business acumen is emphasized both through data visualization and traditional pitching.

Are you looking for our Master's degree programme in Big Data Analytics? Read more here.

Course information





Application period:

Teaching language:



600 €

Free for those who are laid-off or unemployed. For others: 600€ (VAT 0€).


Arcada University of Applied Sciences

Entry requirements:

NOTE! For application, you must have permanent residence in Finland.

Other information

Educational level:

Master (EQF7)

Programme Co-ordinator:

Magnus Westerlund, Programme Director, Department of Business Management and Analytics

Required skills:

An engineering degree or other formal science degree that the UAS otherwise deem sufficient. Prior work experience in software engineering.

Target groups:

Who should apply? The intended student for the program is someone with work experience in the field of software development with programming-related tasks and who aims to attain competences in Big Data Analytics. Specialisation studies will be held at a master's degree level.


Apply by latest 6.8.2020

Apply now!

Study alongside work

The specialisation studies in Big Data Analytics are tailored so that you can attend them alongside full-time employment. During each course you will attend approximately six afternoon lectures at Arcada University of Applied Sciences in Arabianranta, Helsinki, mainly Thursdays and Fridays between 13-18 every other week. The rest of your studies are conducted independently.

These specialisation studies offer you

1. Research at the cutting edge of creating intelligent services, working alongside scholars and industry in their area.

2. Grounding in the scope and theories of machine learning and the challenges of analytics service design.

3. Develop detailed knowledge and understanding of how these disciplines blend together in tackling the real problems that face organisations.

4. Development of these disciplines in your organisation, be it in a theoretical, empirical or policy-oriented manner.

A word with one of our former students

Salvatore della Vecchia

Salvatore della Vecchia

Data Scientist at 720 Degrees Oy, Helsinki, former student of BDA at Arcada

What made you apply to the specialisations studies in BDA at Arcada?

It was my boss who found out about these studies and suggested I’d attend. It’s a good opportunity for our company. From our current projects it’s clear that there is a high demand for skilled professionals who has the latest knowledge in extracting analysis and insights from data. We provide business intelligence and know just how much big data analytics has developed these last few years, so this was a great way to gain the latest skills.

How would you describe your studies?

One thing I really appreciate is that the education isn’t just theoretical, but we get to work with real data sets. I’m just about to start the last course where we work with actual data from a real company, which is both really interesting and the best way to learn. I appreciate Arcada’s approach to education, that it’s important to study the theory, but equally important to get to do real programming and utilize what you’ve learned. This was something that I missed at my university in Italy, where the studies were mainly theoretical.

How has it been to study alongside work?

Of course the studies are intense and you have to be prepared to work hard, but it’s worth it. The content has been great. I’ve especially enjoyed going through visual analytics techniques and advanced data mining – something that is hard to find a place to study, since not many are using these advanced techniques yet. To sum it up, yes, I would definitely recommend these studies to others!

Programme contents

This programme will cover the following subjects.

  • Introduction to Analytics, 5 ECTS
  • Machine Learning for Predictive Problems, 5 ECTS
  • Visual Analytics, 5 ECTS
  • Machine Learning for Descriptive Problems, 5 ECTS
  • Big Data Analytics, 5 ECTS
  • Analytical Service Development, 5 ECTS

The curriculum consists of six courses (5 ECTS credits each) that focus on how to program intelligent services using analytical and machine learning methods.

Date Module
Autumn 2020 Introduction to Analytics
Autumn 2020 Machine Learning for Predictive Problems
Winter 2020-2021 Visual Analytics
Spring 2021 Machine Learning for Descriptive Problems
Spring 2021 Big Data Analytics
Spring 2021 Analytical Service Development

For more information about these modules see the curriculum below.

The curriculum

The curriculum consists of six courses (5 ECTS credits each) that focus on how to program intelligent services using analytical and machine learning methods. Each of the courses are thought through solving programming problems were the students can make use of Arcada’s Nvidia-sponsored Big Data Lab. The lab enables students to learn how to make use of GPU-accelerated models for processing big data.

During each course you will attend approximately six afternoon lectures at Arcada University of Applied Sciences in Arabianranta, Helsinki, mainly Thursdays and Fridays between 13-18 every other week. The rest of your studies are conducted independently.

Module 1

Introduction to analytics

In this course, you will be introduced to the concepts and methods in information analytics, with a special focus on the notion of optimization as the basis of prescriptive analytics and for creating the learning machine. You will be introduced to the process of problem solving in analytics from data understanding and preprocessing, through modelling choices and implementation until the interpretation, visualization and utilization of the analysis. We will look at typical real-life applications of information analytics from various domains (marketing, finance, and others depending also on the student’s backgrounds and interests). The course will provide hands-on lectures to performing the steps of modelling and analysis.

Module 2

Machine learning for predictive problems

You learn a practical approach for predicting with Machine Learning with all the steps starting from data acquisition and preparation, search for optimal parameters, to comparison of different methods and evaluation of results. You can employ a linear model for regression and classification, train neural networks, build data features with deep learning, represent and process natural text with numerical methods.

Module 3

Visual analytics

You learn how to lead in turbulent times through data-driven management. You also learn to understand how to become an agent of change for transforming data into insights. People are often visual beings and therefore the focus of the course is on reducing information, through algorithms, that can then be visualized. You develop an understanding of visual analytical methods as a communication medium for business intelligence.

Module 4

Machine learning for descriptive problems

You learn to efficiently handle massive datasets and extract hidden knowledge from data. You understand how to employ classification and clustering algorithms on three different types of data: text, streaming and graph. You acquire knowledge of methods and programming tools for processing big data on distributed/cloud systems.

Module 5

Big data analytics

You are given an overview of machine learning and how to utilize big data. The methods for descriptive and predictive modelling are introduced for small data, and you are then given an explanation for how similar models can be modified to work with big data. You will be introduced to the analytical process; big data tooling, data-related requirement handling, domain knowledge, modelling and verification of results.

Module 6

Analytical service development

You develop an understanding for planning the analytical process; data-related requirement handling, domain knowledge/modelling expertise and verification of results. Each student completes an industry cap-stone project as part of the course.

Need more information?
Ask us anything!


Magnus Westerlund, D.Sc.

Programme Director Department of Business Management and Analytics

+358 294 282 540


Anton Akusok

Lecturer, researcher


Leonardo Espinosa Leal

Lecturer, researcher

For more information about the application process, please contact


Stig Blomqvist

Further Education Planner Arcada Further Education

+358 294 282 501