Christopher Walker

Orange, California

What initially attracted you to the Master of Information and Data Science?

There are plenty of online resources available for aspiring data scientists, but they miss many important concepts. MIDS courses on ethics and applications of data science help to encourage a more balanced approach. The best data scientists are not simply technicians. They are data storytellers who build tools for responsible decision-making. The MIDS curriculum promotes all of the skills they will need, not just the sexy technology.

What surprised you the most about the program once you started taking classes?

My fellow classmates came from remarkably diverse backgrounds. We are constantly learning from one another. We don't just benefit from the MIDS classroom experience, we also benefit from sharing our backgrounds, stories, and skills with one another.

What has been your favorite class thus far in the MIDS program? Why?

I particularly loved Machine Learning. The course material fit well with my love for math and programming, and our instructors came from impressive industry backgrounds. I came away with a passion for the subject matter, and a much deeper understanding of how machine learning is done in the wild.

Is there a particular industry - healthcare, retail, defense and security, etc. - where you see data science making a large impact over the next 10 years?

I have worked in K–12 education for my entire career, and I believe that education needs data science leaders. Educators are increasingly aware of how they can use data to improve learning outcomes. It's up to us as data scientists to provide them with higher-quality data for making better decisions. I see it as an opportunity to not just improve test scores, but to change the world for the better.