Masters in Predictive Analytics versus Online Certificates

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by Defenserocks28, Sep 10, 2014.

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  1. Defenserocks28

    Defenserocks28 New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I’m new to this site, but in the couple days I’ve been on here, this place seems like a fantastic place for advice!

    I stumbled upon a message board discussion dealing with Master Analytics degrees from such universities as UC Berkeley (MS in Data Science) and Northwestern University’s Masters in Predictive Analytics. The costs of these programs is quite considerable (50k to 60k), and to be blunt, from reading student reviews, the actual education portion of the programs do not seem anywhere worth the cost. It appears you are paying mainly for the name on the diploma. However, with that said, I believe the NU degree clearly states it is from the school of continuing studies and I’m not sure of its’ reputation.

    I know there are tons of certificates available online through sites like Coursera (data science specialization through John Hopkins), certificates in Predictive Analytics from UCI, data mining from UCSD etc.

    Thus, my question is as follows, those in the industry, or who have taken a master’s degree in something like predictive analytics, what are your thoughts on a degree from these master’s programs (or similar ones like NCSU) versus a lot of specialization certificates? I’m still somewhat unsure of my ultimate career goals (I’m currently a senior forecast analyst) but know I would like them to be centered in deep dive analytics and utilizing programs like R, SAS, etc. Would I be better served to get certificates in predictive analytics, R, etc and then get a masters in full blown statistics program (like the one at Penn State? Penn State Online | Master of Applied Statistics)

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. lawsonry

    lawsonry New Member

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    I work in higher education research and am a computer scientist. I can say with 100% certainty that, where I work (the community college system in California), you can have a Master's in English and a BA in Sociology and as long as you are *producing* predictive models and showing off what you do (i.e., adding value to your institution), no one gives a crap about whether you studied here or did what there.

    Case in point, I have a background in English and Sociology, 8 years in the Marines (infantry and intelligence -- yes, both), and am a senior research programmer at my college. No one cares about my MA in English, they only care about what I can produce.

    In the real world, a degree title is just to get you past the hiring managers, but if your resume is strong with the necessities of the position (like mine was), you can have a degree in Dirt Studies and get hired as a "predictive modeller."

    It's not about what you learned, it's about what you can do. REMEMBER THAT. And good luck!
     
  3. msganti

    msganti Member

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    Agree with lawsonry 100%. IMHO, IT is such a field where "what you can do" matters more than your degrees and certs. Degrees and certs may provide a starting point, but not much beyond that.

    If I were you, I'd start with a CS/IT degree, find a job of my interest and THEN probably would do a cert that'd augment what I am doing.
     
  4. major56

    major56 Active Member

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    Semper Fi brother! :usa2:
     

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