MDS Spotlight: Meet Ruben De la Garza Macias, MDS Vancouver, Class of 2022

It was during his time as a SaaS implementation consultant that made Rubén De la Garza Macías realize how much he loved analyzing and working with data.

“I was also able to see how powerful it can be to automate processes to clean, gather summarized statistics and relevant patterns from data, especially when it is big,” said De la Garza Macias.

De la Garza Macias wanted a more structured approach to gaining the data science skills needed to move his career in this new direction. 

This led De la Garza Macias to the UBC Master of Data Science (MDS) program. 

“The MDS program is one the highest rated data science programs in Canada,” he noted. “It is a program that prepares you to work in data science as soon as you finish.”

As well, De la Garza Macias was really impressed with the knowledge students gain in 10-months. 

Ruben Master of Data Science Vancouver

“Before coming to MDS, I had little to no programming skills, and did not know much about machine learning and data science in general. Now I feel like I am very competent and prepared since we covered the most relevant topics in the area,” he added.

An added bonus for De la Garza Macias was all the friendships and connections he made with his peers. 

“I learned a lot from my peers who had previous programming experience. They sort of ‘trained’ me with additional problems and resources that we did not necessarily cover in class. My statistic friends also helped me understand the complex statistical topics in different ways. From my side, I could provide some business sense when they needed an opinion.”

In addition to learning from his fellow cohort, De la Garza Macias was appreciative of the opportunity of working real data during labs and the capstone project.

“The fact that we are using real data helps us prepare for the real world,” he said. “Being able to work on a business problem with no clear path to the solution was a very interesting task. Along with my peers, our mentor, and capstone partner, we were able to get to a good solution and give something helpful to the company.”

With the program now complete, De la Garza Macias is seeking data science roles where he hopes to event start his own data science consulting practice.

“This program helped me transform my career. I am now ready to get into the tech world, I feel like a competent data scientist.” 

Ruben’s Top 3 Tips on Succeeding in the MDS Program:

  1. Work as a group with your peers: One of the most important things in the program are the friendships and connections you make. If you can find a group of people with similar interests as you, work collaboratively with them. This will help you learn from them, and they will learn from you. Additionally, you will all work the labs and projects faster than if you were doing them on your own.
  2. Attend the lectures: Professors spend a lot of time preparing each one of the lectures that they give. Because of this, most of the lectures are beautifully crafted, and you can easily follow each one of the topics being presented (sometimes there’s a lot!), so listening to the professor helps understand the material better. Also, you can ask questions and listen to other people’s questions as well, which reinforces your learning. Most of the time, you do not need to study as hard if you attended the lectures.
  3. Use your rest time wisely: Since I did not have a lot of experience in the area, courses at the beginning (first 2 blocks) were a little overwhelming. I used some of my free time to practice and study a bit more (mainly because I really enjoyed it) and used the rest of it to rest. In blocks 3 and 4 I used some of my free time to work on some side projects and started practicing for data science interviews using different resources online. Finally, in the last 2 blocks, I used some of the free time to work on my resume and start applying for jobs. This formula made me feel like I was making the most of my time in the program, always keeping in mind to also give yourself time to actually rest!

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