Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Occupation: Technical intern, educational technologies at SAS
Education: B.A. in English with concentration in language, writing and rhetoric from North Carolina State University
Tell us about yourself.
I currently work for SAS as a technical support analyst intern in educational technologies. I started working there in September 2015 and have fallen in love with the analytics culture that is core to SAS. Before SAS, I worked at Citrix in sales and previously as an analytics intern. I received my B.A. in English from North Carolina State University. When not working on coursework, you can usually find me playing with my puppy and fiancee or working on some abstract soccer analytics project.
What initially attracted you to the data science field?
I was initially attracted to the field of analytics, and when applying for graduate school I found out about the field of data science. To me, it seemed like the next level of technology. What analytics was to statistics, data science is to analytics. It’s the new frontier of data exploration and it is tantalizing.
Why did you decide to pursue a Master of Science in Data Science?
Since I don’t come from the typical background of a data scientist (computer science or statistics), I wanted to make sure that I provided myself the educational background and toolkit that a master’s degree would provide. As a world-class university, Southern Methodist University was an easy choice for a master’s in data science.
What skills and tools that the program covers do you think are most appealing?
I don’t have a particular skill or tool that I find most appealing, but rather the program as a whole as extremely appealing. Anyone can go out there in the world and figure out how to use a variety of programming languages and automaton techniques. However, this program ensures that you have the statistical and programming knowledge to understand the complexity of certain situations at a fundamental level. For example, one can learn how to code a basic proc in SAS, but in the DataScience@SMU program we learn the fundamentals of how that proc works and the statistical inference that can be drawn.
How are you able to apply what you are learning into your current position?
The program is definitely both helping in my current position and helping prepare me for new roles. I am able to help customers who are having difficulties with SAS because I am familiar with certain concepts that are covered in class. Additionally, this program is providing me the preparation necessary to reach my dream of becoming a data scientist in the soccer industry.
How has the online learning experience been?
Tremendous, so far! My online classes during undergrad pale in comparison to SMU’s online platform. This program makes it amazingly easy to marry work and school together.
What has surprised you most about the online learning environment?
The intimate nature of a class setting in a brick-and-mortar campus is not lost in this environment. Our live class sessions are engaging and provide for human-to-human interaction.
What do you hope to accomplish with a Master of Science in Data Science?
My goal is to become a data scientist in the soccer industry and help change U.S. soccer for the better.