Without a computer science background and limited coding experience, I expected UBC Master of Data Science (MDS) program to be challenging to say the least. However, it wasn't the first time I was stepping outside of my comfort zone. When I was 16, I relocated to South Africa to attend the African Leadership Academy where I had to study in a different language. Few years later, I started my career in finance without a finance background.
It has been 3 months, 12 courses, 24 quizzes, 48 assignments, 96 hours of in-class assignments ,144 hours of lectures, lots of sleepless nights and totally worth it. I like the block schedule for the immersion in 4 subjects every month. We have good instructors that care about their students, are open to feedback and are easily accessible. Presentations and group projects are great learning opportunities and the diversity of the cohort allows for interesting discussions.
Among other things, I’ve learnt to wrangle data with R and python, make effective plots, use recursion and dynamic programming, query a database using SQL, automate data science workflows, implement supervised machine learning models such as random forests, Naïve Bayes and K-Nearest Neighbors. WOW!
My first computer science class: Algorithms and data structures has been the most challenging so far but one I’m the proudest of. On the second assignment, I used recursion to draw a Sierpinski triangle of depth 6.
On the last assignment, I resized an image using dynamic programing for seam carving.
The learnings have totally outweighed all the challenges. I’m enjoying being shaped into an accomplished data scientist. I’m looking forward to more growth !