MS in Data Science: self-paced, 10 months, under $10k

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by Seylan, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I took them separate, and I would recommend everyone do so, unless you have a compelling reason to take them together (like financial aid or an employer reimbursing window closing.) 690 is time consuming in that it is a lot of reading and a bunch of writing: reading an average of 6 articles a week, writing your 300 word response and then writing three other 300 word responses, plus the additional thought that goes into synthesizing and being ready to write. The presentation was also time consuming, since it takes research, probably writing a script or rehearsing what you want to say, creating the presentation, filming a few takes, etc.

    I wanted to dedicate all my time to 691, since it's really, really hard to estimate how much effort a certain project will take. I tried to front load some of that by building a proof of concept for my two leading ideas before I submitted the proposal (good thing too because I found one of them totally infeasible.) Even with a POC, I basically had to start from scratch and implement all the standard ML best practices that I didn't in my first test (SMOTE, train test split, feature selection, etc.)
  2. cklapka

    cklapka Member

    Thanks, the way the catalog states they can be taken at the same time seems almost as if it is an endorsement to do so. I am glad to have your insight so I can plan accordingly with the time comes.
    Dustin likes this.
  3. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Small update: for a while now I've seen the Passed "P" on my transcript (691 is a pass-fail course.)

    Officially my degree will be conferred May 31 and then mailed out sometime in July.
  4. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    My transcript was updated to reflect that my degree was officially awarded on May 22! I'll get the diploma in the mail in a couple months.
    felderga, Seylan, Graves and 5 others like this.
  5. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    For anyone wondering how the industry views the degree, I graduated from the program in December of 2021. I applied to one job internally (I was a data analyst and my company had a data scientist position open) in March. I then applied to 8 more data scientist jobs in April (1 more internal and 8 external). I received 2 offers in early June and started my new job as a data scientist for a new company in late June. Going here was one of the best career decisions of my life.

    As a side note to anyone in the program. When you start applying of jobs, use the course resources to help you prep for your technical interview. I used the notes and assignments from Fundamentals of Machine Learning and Applied Machine Learning as my primary interview prep tools and coasted through them.
    JBjunior, Vicki, cklapka and 3 others like this.
  6. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Done and done.

    Attached Files:

  7. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    Congratulations, Dustin! Huge accomplishment!
    cklapka, Dustin and JBjunior like this.
  8. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Well-Known Member

    You should be proud of yourself for this huge accomplishment, Dustin. I hope this degree brings you to the path that you envisioned for yourself.
    Congrats! :)
    cklapka and Dustin like this.
  9. addision

    addision Member

    That is awesome! Your degree should be well worth the money you spent and should pay for itself many times over.

    Dustin likes this.
  10. addision

    addision Member

    I just past the mid-point of the degree program. Four more classes to go!

    So I goofed on the order of my classes. I did not know what would be required throughout the degree program so I didn't know any better. It would be in your best interest to take the two code language courses early on (650, 575).

    The 650 course "Data Analytics in R" was a good course. R is used quite a bit in graduate research in the sciences and this course will get you up to speed fast. The greater percentage of jobs will use python and not R. While it is great to learn R, and you should take this class at least to get familiar with a different language, I would focus my attention on Python. I believe R will be used in a second course in the curriculum, so it is best not to skip it.

    The 575 course of "Principals of Python Programming" should be one of the first two classes that you take. The majority of the degree program is based on Python, so the earlier you get familiar with using the language the better off you will be.

    As I mentioned I did not know how many of the other courses were based on python. Since I was familiar with other languages I decided to take the 575 course with my capstone course at the end of my program. I did that believing I would take an easy course to go along with the capstone course. I did not know how rigorous the capstone may/may not be. I still believe 575 will not be difficult, but I do recommend that it should be taken early on to get the extra practice with the language. Python is used in nearly every course.

    Most of the coding coursework is under the umbrella of the python syntax, but based upon other python code libraries (Numpy, Pandas, Scikit-Learn etc.). You will write some native python code, but most of the code will be the functions and methods of the libraries you will load for data science. Excellent examples are given in the coursework and they DO NOT try to trip you up by teaching one thing and then asking completely unrelated questions on the assignments or tests. They know the course moves fast and teach what you need to learn.

    They added course 580 - "Data Manipulation" to the program. This course had so much work, but has been one of the best in the program. I have saved all my coursework a a reference for later on.

    I work full time and take two classes per term. I do not recommend you take a second course with 580 unless you have a lot of free time. The rigor of the material is not difficult, just the amount of work in each assignment. Each assignment had at least 15-30 code question sections that you needed to learn and write. That was for each assignment.

    Each semester is divided into two 7 week terms and as I mentioned I took two per 7 week term. I was in the habit of completing one course before I began the second. This was my mistake. By the time I got into the second course (580) I had a lot of regrets. This is the only class I received less than an "A" grade and I was happy for my "B+". I really could not believe I finished all the coursework. This is the only course that stressed me out!

    On that note...unless you need to complete the degree quickly to get a better job, do not take two courses per 7 week term. I want to get this done for my own reasons, but I get home at 5:30 -6:00 every night from a full time job and I am up until 1 am nearly every night. Now, I do this to myself to complete the degree fast. But I would recommend against it. Fortunately, my kids are grown and don't need my time like they did when they were younger (homework help, athletics and after school activities). I could not have done the full time program before they went to college. Not a chance!

    Let me discuss the instruction to this point. So far only one instructor has really taught. What I mean by this is that while the others clearly know the material, they don't teach. They read from the text of the book line by line in the video lectures, with very little additional information. Listening to this is pointless but required because you don't know if you will miss something important for the assignments.

    What is true of all courses these days is that you need to be a self learner, online and in-person. But If someone is going to teach a course they should give pointers from their experiences. They should stand in front of a white board and give alternate examples of accomplishing a task. If I want to hear the book read word for word I can just set my computer to read the book to me.

    The program provides great resources, more than at any other place I have taken courses (at least 6-7 different colleges/universities). There are an abundance of meaningful links to additional reading and learning materials provided with each course and you are encouraged to use the internet and other forums.

    I am looking to finish by the end of the year and I do recommend this program if it meets your needs.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2022
  11. bernieyeater

    bernieyeater Member

    I have a liberal arts degree from independent study. In researching various Masters in Computer science I settled on a software engineering certificate from the local community college. A one year program. I finish next May. What helped me make up my mind is I didn't think I would be successful in a master's program without basic coding skills.
    nomaduser and Johann like this.
  12. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    What's next? Ph.D or another Master?
  13. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Eventually I'd like to get my PhD but in the meantime I'm working on paying down my debt and working on my career. I'd like to start my PhD before 40.
  14. MaceWindu

    MaceWindu Active Member

    Way cool. :cool::)
  15. felderga

    felderga Active Member

    Just curious if anyone has any additional current feedback on the UT MSDS program thru edX? For $10K over 2 years I could afford to this challenge although it's been 30 years since I have done much with Calculus. I've done some python and R in my Master of Health Informatics program and I'm interested in gaining more knowledge in machine learning.
  16. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    I have heard great things about the MSDS through UT-Austin. They do require an assessment prior to admission regarding your coding, stats, math, etc. skills. I do not know much more beyond that though, so it may be worthwhile researching that component.
    Dustin likes this.
  17. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    UTA also works on the semester system. This means you apply by January with an application that requires 2 references for a September admission.

    I started at EU in January shortly after applying and was halfway done by September.
    JoshD likes this.
  18. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    Good point. Definitely need to decide if you want the cohort and lock step program or if you want a more flexible program.

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