What have you been up to since completing the program?
I got married, I went on a weeklong trip to Guatemala, and I just changed jobs. So a lot has happened. I also have a lot more free time now, which means I can spend a bit more time on pastimes like playing soccer and cooking. But as a self-proclaimed lifelong learner, I also have plans on continuing my education in data science via online courses, books, personal projects, and of course through my work at LinkedIn.
How has the program prepared you for your future career path?
The program has helped me tremendously. I have applied what I learned in the program in a number of ways in the work I did at Autodesk over the past two years. Additionally, I took full advantage of the MIDS network when I was considering my options for my next career move. I should also mention that although the MIDS program is a relatively young program, it has already provided me with a lot of exposure, as several top companies I have interacted with over the past year are aware of and think very highly of the program and its graduates.
What was your favorite course and why?
This is a tough question, so I am going to take the easy way out and give you my favorite three, in no particular order: “Research Design and Applications for Data and Analysis (RDADA),” because it was the most engaging and thought-provoking; “Field Experiments,” because it was the most eye-opening; and “Machine Learning,” because it was probably the most fun course out of them all.
What is the most valuable thing you learned while in the program?
The importance of approaching a problem from all possible angles. Data science problems are often viewed as purely technical challenges that can be solved with applying some fancy algorithms and the latest technology available. But I learned that it is important to pause and really consider the problem, the approach, the legal and ethical considerations, the organizational impact, and communication during the various stages of a project.
What one piece of advice would you give to prospective or current MIDS students?
Focus on the big picture. Data science is an ever-evolving field, and so are the problems and the technologies associated with it. What's important is understanding how one can apply data to solving multi-faceted problems that can have huge organizational impact.