Tell us a little bit about your life before you enrolled in the Big Data program at SFU.
I did my undergraduate degree in Computing Science at Bejing Normal University in China. I wanted to study abroad, so I moved to Vancouver in 2013 and enrolled in the course-based M.Sc. degree at SFU’s School of Computing Science. I was very curious about big data because I knew it was a growing field that had a lot to offer. I had an interest in data mining and database management, and I had done a full-time 8-month Co-op as a web developer with SFU’s Beedie School of Business. SFU has a good reputation and very good instructors in Computing Science, so applying for the Professional Master’s Program in Big Data was a natural choice for me.
What do you consider the greatest strength of the program?
I think the Co-op program is one of the greatest strengths of the program. The Co-op program not only allows us to gain real-world experience in big data and related areas, but also helps immensely with resume writing and job hunting in general. I found the Co-op info sessions very useful.
What is the most important thing you have learned in the program so far?
The ability to analyze the implementation of big data systems in detail. In our Big Data Systems class, we analyze case studies in depth, and try to think from the designer's perspective. I think this skill is important because it prepares us for solving real world problems related to big data systems.
What types of jobs are you looking for?
I am interested in a developer role that involves processing, analyzing, and visualizing big data. I like to think of big data as an ocean. Working in a developer role is like weaving a fishing net where the quality of the net determines the quality and quantity of the fish you can harvest. You have to be able to operate various ships (big data systems) and apply data-mining techniques to find valuable fish. I would like to start as a sailor and eventually progress to being the captain of the ship.
What are some of your other interests and hobbies?
I used to be very active in soccer and basketball during my undergrad years. Now, I am very busy with my studies and other projects, but I enjoy going hiking every once in a while. I like visiting the many parks Vancouver has to offer.
What would you tell potential students looking at SFU’s Big Data program?
There are lots of benefits to being a part of this program. You will learn a lot. The Co-op will help you pay for part of the fees and prepare you for the world of work. You will be more marketable with this degree. If you are interested in data science, this program will be a great fit. The small cohort size allows for a higher level of student service than one might find in other programs. I definitely recommend this program to anyone interested.