MDS Spotlight: Meet Rain Shen, MDS Okanagan, Class of 2021
As a quality assurance coordinator with a major manufacturing company specializing in geosynthetic and medical products, Rain Shen often poured through historical data that was not easy to decipher, nor easy to process.
“I realized I needed to learn new data analytical techniques to analyze large amount of data,” said Shen. “I found myself becoming really interested in data analysis. I was amazed how the data can help solve complex problems in the real world.”
To gain the techniques she so desired, Shen began to investigate data science programs with curriculum that covered a broad range of topics, and one that would allow her to quickly return to the workforce.
“I found the MDS Okanagan program had a 10-month accelerated format, which was perfect for me as I did not want to leave work for too long,” explained Shen. “I also asked for advice from friends working in the IT industry and found out the curriculum within the MDS program covered a broad range of data science topics, which would be very useful for a real data analyst in the industry.”
And while she also looked at other data science programs, including Simon Fraser University’s Master of Science in Big Data and the Master of Data Analytics program in Western Ontario University, UBC’s reputation and the opportunity to learn in immersive environment led Shen to the Okanagan Valley, the UBCO campus and its Master of Data Science program.
“The MDS Okanagan program also has an intimate class size, which brings more interactions and connections between professors and students,” added Shen.
Now that the program has come to an end, Shen looks back at her time in the program as an incredibly rewarding experience.
“I really appreciated the intensive curriculum that the program provided. One thing I realized is the curriculum flows naturally from fundamental skills to advanced knowledges,” she said. “The design of the curriculum fits well for the learning curve and gives the students good chance to gain foundational skills.”
Shen also discovered the MDS-O program prepared her well for a return to the job market.
“The labs were very practical, where we could directly apply the knowledge and techniques we learned. As data science covers many different topics such as machine learning, cloud computing, optimization, and data visualization etc., the program provided me opportunities to connect these dots together during the capstone project,” explained Shen. “It required us to utilize what we learned in a more comprehensive way. Now I am more familiar with the workflow of building strategies within a team and the way to efficiently communicate with the clients.”
So, what would Shen tell prospective students looking at the MDS-O program?
“If you are looking for a program that provides a compact and immersive curriculum for developing data science skills and learning techniques to step into the data science area, UBC MDS Okanagan program should be your first choice. The accelerated 10-month learning period will equip you well to get started in a career in data science.”
Rain’s Top 3 Tips on Succeeding in the MDS-O Program:
1. Go through the course content after the lectures. As the curriculum is intensive, most lectures are compact and require extra time to digest.
2. Ask questions frequently. You will encounter problems when doing the assignments. Sometimes you may spend a lot of times and still stuck in a single problem, so take the advantages of TAs during the lab and office hours by asking questions.
3. Take time to relax. The program requires a lot of effort, so spending some time to take your mind off the program is important.