MDS Spotlight: Meet Connor Lee, MDS Okanagan – Class of 2020

Sep 09 / 2020

For Connor Lee, it was a strong self-interest in data collection and analysis and an unrelenting desire to improve his technical abilities that led him to an important realization.

Data science was the field he had been looking for.

“I gained an interest in improving my data collection and analysis techniques through teaching myself how to use Excel VBA,” explained Lee. “I realized that I could only do so much within that framework. I started to look into how I could further improve my skills and during this search, I found that data science was the field that employed the skills I was looking to develop.”

After almost five years working as a construction engineer, Lee, who graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Victoria, sought out to discover what program would provide him with the fast-paced learning environment he so craved.

After identifying a handful of programs, it became clear to Lee that UBCO’s MDS program was the top choice.

“The 10-month duration and the fact that it was an intensive program gave me confidence that the MDS-O Program would provide a better education than part-time programs with similar durations,” said Lee, adding that the close-knit feel of UBCO and the community of Kelowna were also important factors in selecting the MDS-O program.

“In the end, the only program I applied for was MDS Okanagan.”

To prepare for the program, Lee reviewed the fundamentals of Calculus and Statistics, and of programming in Python, but once he began his studies, Lee found nothing in the program was insurmountable.

Now that the program has come to an end, Lee is confident he now has the skills and knowledge to make an impact

 “The program provides a solid introduction to the fundamentals, including data analysis, machine learning, and cloud computing,” explained Lee. “It has also given me the opportunity to develop several high quality projects that can be included in my portfolio, such as my capstone project.”

And what would he tell others interested in applying to the MDS-O program?

“The UBC MDS Okanagan program provides a fast-paced learning environment that provides you with the skills to get started in a career in data science or machine learning.”

Connor’s Top 3 Tips on Succeeding in the MDS-O Program:

  1. Work hard to understand every aspect of what is being taught. Understanding what an algorithm can be used for, and when to use it is important, but understanding how the algorithm works will give you the ability to discern when it can’t be used.
  2. Make time for personal projects that relate to your interests, it will make you stand out that much more.
  3. Attend office hours and ask questions. The professors are excellent and taking advantage of their knowledge while in the program will only help you develop a more thorough understanding of the field.

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