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Computational Social Science (CSS) is a sub-category of the social sciences that relies on computational methods and/or big data to address larger societal issues of inequality, healthcare, education, democracy and more. CSS skills and knowledge are of particular interest to the biggest tech firms – i.e. Facebook, Google, Apple – they recruit for CSS skills to understand their users and leverage their data. We aim to build a new brand of computational social scientists at the LSE via:
i) creating an awareness of LSE talent in computational social science and big data analytics. Big tech firms tend to recruit directly from the emerging field of CSS (e.g. PhD in CSS as a requirement), but also look for broader analytical skills. Though CSS does not exist as a degree programme at the LSE, many technical social scientists qualify for these jobs. We aim to target top tech companies that have little or no presence at the LSE. Our mandate includes an effort to promote and encourage diversity and inclusion in CSS.
ii) focusing on generating tech career opportunities for final-year undergrads and postgraduates. Traditionally, tech companies do not recruit directly from the LSE – students are recommended instead to go to other institutions for recruitment and networking opportunities. We intend to carve our recognition for LSE students interested and working in CSS.
iii) enabling informal networking and collaboration opportunities within the LSE. CSS is a new field, and the LSE is definitely expanding on its capabilities – evidenced by the LSE SEDS centre and the upcoming Master’s programmes in Data Science. We aim to create an environment where students from different disciplines can share their research, co-network, and work on jointly CSS and big data projects.
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