What motivated you to pursue postgraduate study?
After completing my bachelor's degree in Hardware (Electronic and Mechanical) Engineering, I was looking for a change in career to Software (Computer) Engineering.
I believe that exposure to both hardware and software engineering would allow me to respond to the growing business demands.
What were you doing before applying for a postgraduate degree?
I was quite new to coding and hadn't touched MATLAB before enrolling on the course. To prepare myself for postgraduate study, I self-taught some popular Data Science languages such as Python and MATLAB using the course guidelines for preliminary study.
City's guidelines were very helpful to determine the mathematics and statistics requirements of this degree.
Were there any challenges affecting your decision to study a postgraduate degree? If so, how did you overcome them?
In terms of my career, I was concerned about being knowledgeable enough to pursue a master's degree. To handle this, I spent some time preparing myself to be eligible for this course.
Most importantly, I equipped myself with some useful introductory lectures offered by City, which were on the fundamentals of Data Science.
Why did you choose City?
I chose the MSc Data Science at City for its rich curriculum and hands-on projects. The core modules cover a wide range of topics from principles of Data Science to visual analytics, algorithmic techniques, machine learning and neural computing.
How are you funding your studies – did you secure any financial support?
I am a self-funded international student. Fortunately, I managed to work part-time remotely at home while studying online and was able to support my living expenses in the UK.
How are you finding studying in the UK – either in person or remotely?
I enjoyed being taught by professional lecturers and appreciated the supportive staff a lot.
Because most parts of the course were assessed by the final report and/or coding notebook, technically I was able to plan my own study schedule as early as I wished.
What does a typical week at university look like for you?
As a full-time student, I attended four modules every semester, which took two days of teaching every week. Other students, subject to their choice of electives, attended two to four days a week in the spring semester. For part-time students, attendance was required only one day per week.
It is quite demanding to thoroughly understand four learning materials every week as each took around three hours per week to study. Follow up studies were mandatory and every student would have to work hard to catch up with pre-lecture recordings and tutorial exercises before and after.
I was very pleased to connect with my classmates, whose backgrounds varied from the financial industry to medical practices. The study group component definitely motivated me to move forward.
What has been your favourite module or aspect of your course so far?
Principles of Data Science. I was fond of the integrated learning outcomes of this module and the knowledge I gained through the content covered in the lessons and lab exercises.
What knowledge and skills has your course helped you develop?
In general, I have developed my problem-solving and programming ability. The course introduced me to modern machine learning methods and techniques applied in large datasets.
Working from a visual analytics perspective was new to me and enabled me to expand my knowledge and go deep-dive in this area. In addition, I also explored Google Colab and Cloud platforms that are going to be helpful when I step into the industry after graduation.
What opportunities and experiences has City offered you so far?
Since my entire academic year has overlapped with the national lockdown periods, I couldn't attend any social activities on campus but I managed to attend some networking events with classmates in an online lounge.
Although I couldn't use a study place or ask for help on campus, I was academically supported by teaching assistants and librarians remotely.
Additionally, in terms of course administration, my programme officer kindly resolved a handful of enquiries and the advisors from the Corporate Relations & Employability Unit provided personalised CV reviews. City's Careers & Employability team also reviewed my CV and job application documents.
What are your career plans and how has City prepared you for them?
I am grateful that City has an online portal to find internship placements. Also, several supervisors in the programme took industry projects as our dissertation projects, which worked as a 3 months internship scheme.
I am now looking for positions available in this field such as data analyst, data scientist and potentially data engineering if internships are available. Through my master's at City I have acquired a range of skills to work on data-related problems and since the programme covers several applications of data science, I've been continuously inspired to develop my interests and to look further.
What advice would you give to someone considering a postgraduate degree?
I wish I had started a taught master's course earlier. I was afraid that I didn't know enough about the subject but I was wrong to limit my potential. I have found many colleagues who motivate me to work harder and eventually they lead me to do better. I think all students would say this but starting the journey earlier will give you a more dynamic spectrum of what you'd noticed before kick-off.