ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – In just a few months, the University of Central Florida will begin offering a master's degree in a new and growing field. 

What You Need To Know

  • UCF to soon offer master's degree in computer vision

  • It's a new and growing field

  • The technology is already being used in things like facial recognition software

​Students in the computer vision program will be taught how to give computers the power to see and recognize what’s happening in images they capture, something that’s already being used in everything from backup cameras to facial recognition software.​ 

“In your social media apps like Instagram or Snapchat, you have all those filters right and things like that? Really, it’s computer vision that has made things like that possible,” said Kevin Duarte, a fourth-year PhD candidate at UCF studying computer vision. 

In class, Duarte and his classmates spend time teaching computers how to track the action happening in different video images and how to react to it. It's a new field that’s constantly evolving. 

“We’re able to do things with computers that really have never been done before and with newer technologies, we’re able to do things much better than before and sometimes, better than what humans can do,” Duarte said. 

“It’s being currently employed but it’s going to be employed more and more, and that’s the key point. That boom - we want to be a part of creating the workforce for that boom,” said Dr. Niels Da Vitoria Lobo, an associate professor of computer science at UCF. 

Dr. Da Vitoria Lobo, the degree coordinator at UCF, said a lot of companies already rely on the computer vision technology. The field itself is now growing and improving so rapidly, UCF is creating a master's degree for it on top of their PhD program. 

Classes give students hands-on experience in teaching computers to recognize salsa dancing or map-out when a new image comes into frame–skills that can translate into careers in motion detection technology and self-driving cars. 

Dr. Da Vitoria Lobo said this will draw in top students from around the country and he expects big companies to follow. 

“In the future, you can see a lot of computer vision companies relocating to an area like central Florida so that they can recruit from the personnel we will be creating,” Da Vitoria Lobo said.  

Laureen Martinez with Orlando Economic Partnership said this can bring excellent growth potential to the area. 

“When higher education and industry partner by identifying a talent need and creating the programs necessary to build that expertise, it is a win for the Orlando region. This new degree program offered at UCF will elevate our capabilities in this technology, attract talent interested in this field and will further grow our economy by creating new jobs and attracting companies looking for qualified employees," Martinez said. 

Jobs in computer vision can pay anywhere from $115,000 to $200,000, Dr. Da Vitoria Lobo said, and the field is expected to become more prominent in the years and decades to come. 

Duarte said he’s excited to work in a career that will put him on the frontlines of an evolving field, finding new ways to push developing technology further and into the hands of millions.

“That’s one thing I really like about this is we get to solve these problems which don’t really have solutions, right?" Duarte said. "Nobody in the world has come up with perfect solutions to any of these problems. So being able to not solve them but get closer to finding a better solution that really interests me."

UCF will become the first public university in the country to offer a master’s program in computer vision. The only other university in the nation doing so is Carnegie Mellon.