Education: B.S. in marketing and professional golf management at New Mexico State University
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, with my wife of 14 years who is a successful small business owner. I enjoy spending time outdoors on the bike and going to the beach.
What initially attracted you to the data science field?
I’ve spent the past 11 years providing research and analytics to stakeholders in the golf industry. During this time, I’ve found a passion for helping others gain new insights from data. The data science field was attractive to me as it allowed me to build upon my knowledge of statistics and take my talents at extracting insights from information to a new level. As I continued to explore the field of data science, it became clear to me that big data is going to revolutionize our society. The opportunity to be a part of a transformational field that will make the world a better place is exciting to me!
Why did you decide to pursue a Master of Science in Data Science?
The Master of Science in Data Science degree was a perfect match to my future goal of progressing into a data scientist role. I place a high value on education, and I wanted a degree that would complement the depth of my work experience.
Why did you choose DataScience@SMU?
I chose DataScience@SMU for the curriculum, faculty and students. I found the curriculum to be an ideal match for my career goal of progressing into a data scientist role. Having a multidisciplinary approach to the curriculum was important to me, as the best data scientists are well-rounded with skills in coding, statistics and data visualization. When I examined the SMU program, I found a faculty made up of well-regarded experts in computer science, statistics and visualization of data. Additionally, the students are highly talented and come from some of America’s best companies and undergraduate institutions.
Which skills and tools that the program covers do you find most appealing? Why?
The program provides excellent breadth and depth on skills and tools required for a data scientist. So far, I’ve learned a total of 30 different programming languages and data analytics packages. The machine learning, classification, clustering and recommender system skills I’ve acquired have been nothing short of outstanding.
One of the great things I’ve found from the DataScience@SMU program is a passion I have for programming. I entered the SMU program with a limited base of knowledge around programming. Thus, I was apprehensive about the programming elements of the curriculum. As I’ve progressed through the DataScience@SMU program, my programming skills have grown exponentially. This growth is evident in my projects as my best work has involved programming complex data mining analyses.
How are you able to apply what you are learning to your current position?
The DataScience@SMU program has prepared me to think about innovative ways to use data. I’ve acquired new talents leveraging the latest analytics tools to develop predictive models and visualizations that communicate new intelligence harnessing data. These talents have allowed me to effectively communicate key findings to help the organization make better business decisions.
What surprised you most about the online learning environment?
The greatest surprise for me was the relationships that I’ve developed with my classmates and professors. I was initially apprehensive about my ability to form relationships through an online learning platform. This concern was completely unwarranted. What I’ve found is that I have developed stronger relationships with my classmates and professors than I would in an on-site environment! I speak with my classmates almost every day about our coursework, and this collaborative environment has significantly enhanced my learning.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
The knowledge you will gain from the DataScience@SMU program can put your talents into an entirely different stratum. The SMU Master of Science in Data Science is in a completely different class than other programs, so I’m certain it will give you an advantage to achieve your future career goals in data science.
Looking back, I see no other way that I could have advanced to the point I have without the SMU program. This development has taken significant effort, but I love the field of data science. So, this effort hasn’t been hard work to me, but it has been work that I love to do because I feel I’m spending my time doing great work. If you think you might love working in a data science role, the best advice I can give you is to get started at SMU and enjoy the journey!