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Curious about the world of data

Silvan Buff is studying data science in the practice-integrated bachelor's degree (PiBS) at the School of Engineering. Thanks to the PiBS model, he was able to start his studies straight away and is gaining the work experience required for this on a part-time basis while studying. The advantage of this is that he can apply the knowledge he has acquired during his studies directly in the company.

After graduating from high school, Silvan Buff began his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and information technology at ETH Zurich. However, he soon lacked sufficient reference to practice, which is why he considered a change to a university of applied sciences. When he discovered the Data Science study at the ZHAW School of Engineering, the decision was made quickly: "As a high school graduate, I didn't have the necessary work experience," says Silvan Buff, "but the PiBS program enabled me to start studying at the FH directly ». He opted for the PiBS part-time model and is now working alongside his studies in the IT and data management team at the electrical engineering manufacturer Feller AG in Horgen. The company is the market leader in the field of electrical switches and sockets. Silvan's tasks are directly related to his studies: "I'm currently working in the field of data warehousing and data engineering. This involves bringing together and processing data from different sources so that it can then be used, for example, for sales promotions," explains the data science student. "We are also considering using our data to create and optimize planning tools that electricians can use in their work," says Silvan Buff.

"Due to digitization and the increasing importance of data, more and more experts are being sought to generate added value from data. You learn the necessary skills at the ZHAW."

Data Science student Silvan Buff

Studies provide orientation for the professional future

Silvan Buff has been interested in big data, artificial intelligence and the technology of companies like Google for a long time. He cites the future orientation of the entire industry and the opportunity to "gain new insights based on data" as the driving force behind his studies. He is also fascinated by creating models and then seeing whether what the model describes actually happens. In addition, he adds with a smile, "there is no risk of my job being taken over by a robot so quickly."

What Silvan Buff particularly likes about his studies so far is that, in addition to the basics in mathematics and programming, the focus is on current technologies in data engineering, machine learning and artificial intelligence. The possible applications in the different sectors of the economy are shown: "It also helps you to find your way around and to see the purpose behind your studies," emphasizes Silvan Buff. Where he would later like to end up professionally is still open to him. «After my studies, I would first like to gain more work experience with my current employer, because here I experience every day how I can use the knowledge I gained during my studies in a meaningful way.» He doesn't yet know whether he'll be doing a master's degree afterwards. After that, however, he would like to go into the Big Data area, maybe even to a large tech giant abroad.