+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Thatch is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    28

    Best Data Science Masters program

    Another thread is the catalyst for me starting this thread and in an effort to not take away from the OP's discussion I thought I'd start a new thread instead.

    I have been looking for some time for a masters course in Data Science. I have 20 years of experience in IT, working from a developer up to a Director of Software development during the dot com boom, back down to a developer, into e-learning, and knowledge management, all without a degree. I'm now finishing up an undergraduate in Computer Information Technology effectively to 'check a box' for a degree before I start a masters program that actually interests me.

    I am currently working through the Coursera Data Science program and have done a number of other DS courses online. Also, I have just managed to alter my job at work and am moving from knowledge management into data science as we build out some new capabilities. This is great as I am now working with some (actual) data scientists in other offices and I'm learning a lot in the process. My current coursework was instrumental in allowing this to happen (only one in the office that knows what the hell DS is basically). While I could just finish up my degree and get the cert from Coursera I have suffered from too little education for a long time in my career and I don't want to feel exposed to changes in my own job by not having a graduate degree in the field. Also, I am currently working as a contractor for the government and want to make the jump from contractor to GS and having the degree in place will be all but a requirement to pull that off. (it's possible just with a BS but much more assured with).

    So, all that said, I'd like to hear what DS masters program you all feel is the best one currently (or soon to be) available. I can not do live courses as I am located in Europe and difference in time zones will surely create conflict with stateside schedules. Being regionally accredited is a given and a program that stacks up will against some of the currently available online unaccredited coursework would be great. Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    addision is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    74

    Data Science

    Well since no one else has offered up an opinion I'll chime in. It sounds like you have been in the industry a while, what type of development did you do? What type of data structures are you working in right now?

    You mention you are contracting and would like to turn that into a GS position. Those that I know that work government don't appear to care about where you got your degree from. Of course if you have a top name like the Ivy league, or a top engineering school (i.e. Stanford) is another story as name recognition at that level always helps, for a cost. What are you willing to spend?

    Since you have already done some Coursera courses, I think a good program right now, especially for the money is the MS in CS from Georgia Tech. If you can apply and get in it is such a bargain and they have a data and software engineering concentration. Outside of that many online schools will offer data science as a concentration but few if any as a major itself. If you really want the skills as a hard core data scientist you would do well to have a curriculum along the lines of those you would find at an engineering school. Really mastering data structures and algorithms from a engineering point of view will do you well in the future.

    On the other hand if you don't want to waste the time on a DS engineering degree you need to find one that is going to improve the skills you think you are going to need. Ask the data scientists you work with now where they went to school, find out about when they graduated and then you can determine what their curriculum was. If you like what they are doing ask them what they feel you should be looking for.


    You mention that your the only one in the current office that is familiar with data science, is that because it is a small shop, small division, or that they haven't typically done a lot of data work?

    What type of data are you working on for DS. Everyone has a different interpretation of what DS can be, what is yours? Ground up new database software completely designed by your team (think of a new Hadoop), using common databases and just creating new structures and user applications (mysql, MS SQL, Oracle), would this be web work or something else? If you could give some insight I could give you a different opinion.

    Best of luck!

  3. #3
    Thatch is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    28
    Thanks for the input Addision. Yes, I have been in the industry for a while. Previous to my current position I was consulting work that had me doing a lot of specialized web development and single use application development. Most of this took the form of PHP/SQL/HTML type of work, but also included some android development and smaller code needs to tie capabilities together (think VB in excel or other office products). I was doing a lot of product testing and evaluations and building systems for use in data collection and then performing analysis and reporting on the results. I didn't think about it at the time, but I was already on my way towards a career in data science at the time. The contract for that work fell through with budget issues of the last 2-3 years and I found myself having to grab a job locally in knowledge management. While happy for the work, I have been looking into what I really want to do and realized how much I loved the problem solving and storytelling elements of the work with data. So, I independently started studying, taking on the Coursera DS track as well as doing courses in data journalism , R, Python and scraping. I also started up the undergrad degree program as the lack of degree always causes my times out of work to be longer than they need to be. My experience always ends up landing me a job, but it does take a while, and many doors are closed because of it. I chose the course I did as a path of least resistance while still being a regionally accredited state school with letter grade transcript, as I didn't find any online undergrad degrees in a specific area that interested me as much as the data science courses and graduate degree programs I was finding. So as I am making good progress, I am planning my next step.

    Agreed that government positions have a checkbox approach to degrees in general, assuming they are regionally accredited. Since I am already in and working with the government that is probably even more so true in my situation. That said, I've gone for so long without a degree and had to explain away that fact while standing on a couple decades of experience, I'd like to have a name I could personally be proud of. Bob's house of taxidermy and big data degrees just won't cut it, even if Bob is accredited. My preference would always be a state school, but there are exceptions to everything. Further, I don't know that I will stay with the government long-term. I love living overseas and given the chance to do so in this new field I would certainly consider it. Most of the DS jobs in the government are in the Washington DC area and that is not a place I want to return to. So, I want whatever I do to serve me in both the business and government worlds.

    I had forgotten about the Georgia Tech program. You are right, that is a deal and a half. I lamented that I couldn't join it before because of my lack of an undergrad degree. I didn't know they had any concentrations though. I'll have to revisit that one.

    It is a good suggestion to ask those in the other offices where they got their degrees. I have been reticent to do so as I didn't want to draw any more attention to perceived lack of qualifications as we are trying to build out capabilities in this office, thinking it might negatively affect the offices chances to take on these tasks, and of course mine from being able to perform the role. Perhaps that's not the right tact to take, but I have spent most of my career being the 'Yeah, I can do that" guy (then figuring out how to do it). The chance to do that here while I build out my skills will be both a great opportunity to learn, but also that perfect step into that job market without having to figure out how to get 'that first data science job'. Make no mistake I have told the folks in this office exactly what my experience is and is not and that this is a current and active area of study for me, it's just that outside organizations can sometimes cause problems and claim ownership of certain capabilities for any number of reasons and giving the wrong person too much ammo is just inviting being shot at. So I'll have a think on it and figure out how best to precede.

    The data is generally copious unstructured text from various sources, so lots of classification work. The lack of others with this background is simply do to this being a new direction for the organization. The organization has been creating data for decades, but not doing anything cumulative with it until now.

    Thanks again for your input.

  4. #4
    nyvrem is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    514
    Have you tried looking towards distance programs from the UK ? Just read you're based in Europe and time difference might be an issue.

    I know RDI and Hertfordshire has MS programs in CS and Info Sys. Not data science though.

  5. #5
    addision is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    74

    nyvrem

    Sounds like you have done what I have done most of my career, get the job and then figure out how to get it done. I'm with ya.

    Ok, so it doesn't look as if your going to build a new version of MS SQL so you should be able to go with a multitude of options. If you can wing it I would still recommend going the engineering direction, unless you want to be and application expert (say Oracle) then look for a CS degree that will focus more on the use of data than creating the system.

    Like I tell my kids, get the greatest amount of training you can, you can always choose not to use it. I said training in this case because you already have degrees and your looking to specialize.

    I agree with you regarding some level of name recognition. I was in your position and decided to go to TESC for a degree with all the units I had accumulated just so I could get a descent job. I still get razzed about it in some interviews, but it being a state school helps.

    It's been difficult to realize that being a jack of all trades isn't as profitable as being a specialist and my ADD fights me every step of the way. That's why I recommend going the engineering route. The applications you will use will change, but if you understand the system they are built on and the logic of how they are created you can translate that to many other opportunities. Everything going forward from that point should be easier to grasp.

    Let us know what you decide. I also agree with Thatch that you should look at the U.K. and European options. Since it appears you are over there it would be easy to explain how you were able to attend one of their programs, and the cost could be quite a bit lower.

  6. #6
    addision is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    74

    Switched names

    Sorry guys, switched up your names using cut and paste and it wouldn't let me edit it.

  7. #7
    Warpnow is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    36
    I think Data Science programs are designed for newcomers to the field in that they provide an even handed and equal introduction to computing, statistics, and data analysis.

    However, with your experience, I don't think you need an even handed view. A bachelors in comp sci + experience, you'll have the computing down. You'll be in classes with people who are learning to program for the first time and trying to grasp recursion, and the foundations of relational databases.

    I think you'd benefit far more from a Masters Degree in Statistics, to complement your Comp Sci Degree. Just a thought. Comp Sci Undergrad and a masters in statistics would look quite good I would think.

    Columbia has an online degree in statistics: Quantitative Graduate Programs
    So does Penn State: Penn State Online | Master of Applied Statistics
    and A&M: Graduate Distance Learning Programs in Statistics at Texas A&M

  8. Advertisement

  9. #8
    japhy4529 is offline House Bassist
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    1,772
    Tom
    B.S., Behavioral Science - Bellevue University 2010
    A.S., Liberal Studies - Excelsior College 2009

  10. #9
    Thatch is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    28
    Thanks for the input folks.

    I'm with you on the ADD Addision. Interest in everything makes for a very wide knowledge base, but not always a lot of depth. This is one of the things that interests me about Data Science. It allows me to be develop a specialization in being curious. I have always been very good at representing technology to company leaders and with that I'd like to find a program that might allow me to explore that a bit more. I had just stumbled onto UMUC's masters program and saw that they have a dual Master program of the MS in Data Analytics and an MBA . That one is potentially interesting. (although I really hate UMUC's name ... silly I know, but damn it's an obnoxious name). I'll dig into it a bit more and take a look. The delivery of the program is important as well, and that is often rather hard to get a real feel for from these programs.

    Thanks for the links Japhy, I had just happened to find a few of those. I stumbled onto this list earlier today...

    https://www.kdnuggets.com/education/online.html

    It's particularly helpful and lists bricks and mortar programs, US, EU and online programs. I thought I'd share it here in case others are looking for similar information.

  11. #10
    japhy4529 is offline House Bassist
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    1,772
    This site may prove to be helpful in your search: Master's in Data Science | Your Guide to Data Science Graduate Programs
    Tom
    B.S., Behavioral Science - Bellevue University 2010
    A.S., Liberal Studies - Excelsior College 2009

  12. #11
    Thatch is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    28
    Thanks Japhy. I saw that some time ago but had forgotten about it.

    On top of my other studies, I am currently working through the data analysis path at sliderule which is a nice listing of freely available resources for learning data analysis. It can be found here.... Data Analysis Learning Path | SlideRule It's great in that it gives a good list of resources to study the various areas of the field but also the ability to keep track of your progress along the way.

    Another similar site (and the one I first thought japhy posted because of the similar names) is The Open Source Data Science Masters by datasciencemasters . It has a similar listing of freely available training courses, only lacking a tracking mechanism. I'm doing my best to run through all of this available training as well as going through a number of books on both R and Python. I think I'm getting there with the skills but want the degree for all that conveys, knowledge, credentials and salary.

    Thanks again for all the input. Hopefully this thread can benefit others that might be looking to do the same.

  13. #12
    DataWave47 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    1
    I'm currently enrolled in SNHU's M.S. Data Analytics program. All of the professors are seasoned professionals which adds great value to the program. Academically it's a large amount of reading but they do a great job with the curriculum. Feel free to PM me with any questions you may have about the program.

    DSU also recently announced an M.S. Analytics program. They are widely recognized as one of the leaders in online IT education so I would definitely consider them.
    M.S. Data Analytics (expected 2016)
    B.S. Information Systems Security (2013)

  14. #13
    eugene002 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    1
    Hey DataWave,

    Just wondering what are the softwares that the SNHU data analytics program uses? SAS, R? are there any statistical programming in Python.? I am in a close call between SNHU and DSU; SNHU curriculum seem meatier, but I am wanting to find out how programming intensive this program is.

    Regards,
    Eugene

Similar Threads

  1. Northwestern MS in Predictive Analysis vs UC Berkeley's MS Data Science
    By devgupt in forum IT and Computer-Related Degrees
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-30-2014, 01:41 AM
  2. Information Systems vs Data Science vs Business Analytics
    By Warpnow in forum IT and Computer-Related Degrees
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-01-2014, 10:15 AM
  3. Data Mining Masters Online
    By Pugman in forum IT and Computer-Related Degrees
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-05-2006, 05:53 AM
  4. PhD program in Medical Science or Health Science
    By bo79 in forum Nursing and medical-related degrees
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 01-14-2006, 05:38 PM
  5. ICCP: Data resource managament, data comms, and systems development
    By TexasBlack6 in forum IT and Computer-Related Degrees
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 05-05-2004, 01:18 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197