• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

‘I Was Always a Fan of Online Studying’

‘I Was Always a Fan of Online Studying’

© Pixabay

Students of the first cohort of the HSE’s online Master of Data Science are now completing their first semester. Offered entirely online on Coursera, the programme attracts students from all over the world. HSE News Service spoke with two international students about what drew them to the programme, the courses they have taken so far, and what their online student community is like.

The online Master of Data Science includes three tracks: Data Scientist, Machine Learning Engineer, and Researcher in Data Science.

The programme has a hands-on, project-based focus and helps students become experts in data science.

Graduates will be prepared to enter or continue working in fields such as analytics, data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence, research, and academia. 

The degree features introductory courses in math for data science, programming, and algorithms, so students without a computer science bachelor’s degree can master the fundamentals of computer science as they complete the programme.

While originally from Sweden, Kalle Bylin currently lives in Colombia, where he is working as a product engineer for Modyo. The company aims to simplify and improve the digital experiences of millions of people around the world. Kalle’s role is to leverage insights from data to make people’s digital lives easier.

Kalle Bylin

I fell in love with Data Science while finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Online courses and projects opened up a path into this career but I was hungry for more. I discovered HSE a few years back through the Advanced Machine Learning Specialization offered on Coursera.

Back then I decided to audit a few of HSE courses and was impressed by the content.

Most online courses are quite basic and I wanted to go deeper. Last year I decided that I wanted a more in-depth and rigorous understanding to go beyond what I had been able to teach myself. I started to compare different programmes and schools but due to my Bachelor’s in Business Administration the only viable option was to move back to my home country.

At that point, I discovered the Master of Data Science degree on Coursera for students of all backgrounds. I remembered my previous experience with HSE and was immediately interested. I also looked into the programmes by the Imperial College of London, University of Michigan and University of Computer Science in Data Science.

In the end, I found the programme offered by HSE to be more aligned with my needs and interests. Value for money was also important in my decision.  HSE opened up an opportunity by offering high quality content in a way that allowed me to continue my life where I am.

Having enrolled in this programme before COVID-19 was a huge advantage. I even received e-mails from other schools I had considered mentioning that they had to postpone the launch of their programmes. In the meantime, our courses kept going as usual. I strongly believe that human contact is very important, but I would still recommend the experience of learning online. The backgrounds and experiences of my fellow classmates are much more diverse than when I got my bachelor’s degree on campus. This has positively affected the whole programme.

I am close to finishing the first semester and soon I’ll have to choose my track. I still haven’t decided but will probably choose between the  Engineer or Researcher in Data Science tracks. I even asked if it would be possible to do both sequentially.

I’m excited about what’s ahead and looking forward to the project block of the programme.

Up until now I’ve had several programming courses like Data Structures & Algorithms and rigorous Mathematics. I have found these math courses to be particularly interesting, especially when taught by instructors like Vladimir Podolsky. The projects made me suffer but have helped open my eyes to new opportunities.

I can say that these first months of studies have not been easy. The courses have been challenging and this is what I wanted from a Master’s programme. I was tired of the superficial projects in most online courses. This programme has forced me to research and read from different sources, which has definitely helped me build a foundation I did not have before.

The time I spend on the course varies from week to week according to the topics, but what I really enjoy is the mix between self-paced lectures on Coursera and the live webinars with instructors and teaching assistants every couple of weeks. This way I can organize my time and study on my own terms while still getting to interact with course staff directly.

As we go deeper into the programme, I feel that the community grows closer together. We constantly interact with each other through Slack. At first it was just about finding help, but at this point we have started to bond and I believe that I will be able to graduate with a new set of friends and a wider social network.

Garagashli Niyazi Jamil is from from Azerbaijan. He holds both bachelor and master’s degree in Advertising but has never worked in this field. Ever since he was in school, he was fascinated with computers. He is now working as a database administrator and is eager to branch out into data science.

Garagashli Niyazi Jamil

Something I carried over from my studies was the interest in what data can tell us about something or someone. In the context of advertising, the task is to cater to the target audience and know it through data. Now, as a database administrator, I’m working on the technical side of data more than I do on the meaning of it. I do reporting too, but it does not satisfy my appetite for data science. So little by little I have started to branch my knowledge out of the narrow and boring scope of Oracle databases.

I did a track in DataCamp and a few courses here and there on Coursera. Overall, I enjoyed the experience but such courses often felt lacklustre in terms of fundamentals of the actual science behind all the fancy Python libraries.

That’s how I knew I wanted to study in a more rigorous format.

Because I’ve already tried a few courses through Coursera, my search also started on that platform. One of the options Coursera suggested was HSE’s programme. To be honest, I didn’t consider choosing HSE from the get-go because I hadn’t heard much about it at the time. Most of the other, American, universities were out of reach due to their prohibitive cost and entry requirements in terms of educational background. In the end, I had a very limited options and I started to research them in depth.

So, HSE came about to be an absolute best option for me: both in terms of reputation and in terms of pricing.

The admission process was nicely organized and I had no issues whatsoever. I did study for the entrance exam and I can’t say that it was quite as easy. I was impressed by how the examination process itself was conducted. It should be mentioned, however, that in my opinion despite having no maths prerequisites, the programme seems to be designed with people with a math background in mind.

We’re now in the final stretch of the first semester. Two more courses, six more weeks and we’re done. I’m excited to attend webinars on how to choose a specialization. Starting with the next semester, specialization will play a role in what courses will be available to me. I have high hopes for that next semester.

This semester, Math courses have certainly been a challenge. Without additional learning resources kindly provided by members of our student community on Slack, I would have probably failed each and every math course I have had so far. 

I truly love the communication between students and how bouncing ideas off each other enriches the whole learning process for us.

I may be a single most active Slack user in this community. It’s a shame that out of 100 students only a handful are active, but even so, almost 6 month deep, I feel like I’ve made some lasting connections.

Personally, I much prefer the programming part of the curriculum. I'd like to highlight the awesomeness of courses like Python Advanced or Algorithms and Data Structure I. And, in particular, some of the instructors in these courses like Gleb Pogudin and Yury Gorishniy. Their presentations and webinars are extremely good. 

I was always a fan of online studying. If I had to choose between studying full time somewhere and working, I would choose work every single time.

With online education, I don’t have to compromise—I’m working AND studying.  

Still, it’s not that easy and I’ve only managed to cope with the course load because I have a lesser workload at the moment.

I’d love to see each and every university continue with online education as an option going forward regardless of the pandemic. Even without the degrees on the line, education itself is crucial for the betterment of all people—and thus, it should be readily available for everyone.

Read more about the programme

See also:

Applications to Speak at eSTARS 2021 Conference Accepted Until November 15

HSE University and Coursera are bringing together the world’s leading researchers, professionals, education and technology leaders, and business community representatives for the fourth international research conference eLearning Stakeholders and Researchers Summit 2021 (eSTARS). This topic of this year’s summit, which will run from December 1–2, 2021,is ‘Digital Transformation: Global Challenges to the Education System’.

Master of Computer Vision: New Online Programme on Coursera

In September 2021, HSE University’s Faculty of Informatics, Mathematics and Computer Science at HSE Nizhny Novgorod launched the new applied degree programme Master of Computer Vision. Developed in collaboration with leading experts in the field of computer vision - Huawei, Itseez3D, Intel, Harman, and Xperience.ai – the programme is available on the Coursera platform and open to applicants from all over the world. Andrey Savchenko, Academic Supervisor of the new programme, talked to The HSE Look about how it came to be and what are its advantages.

HSE Faculty of Computer Science Launches Digital Literacy Course on Coursera

A new Digital Literacy course created as part of the university-wide Data Culture project has been launched on Coursera. The syllabus includes ten modules developed by experts in relevant fields. Eleven authors worked on this English-taught course.

European Values: From the Discovery of America to the First World War

The English-language course ‘Europe and the World, ca. 1500 to 1914’ has launched on Coursera. Its author, Andrey Iserov, Deputy Dean for International Affairs at the HSE Faculty of Humanities, examines a historical span of four centuries during which European states reached the peak of their economic, military, and political power. Students of the course will learn how the independence of Hispanic America by the mid-1820s influenced China, what caused the religious schism in Western Christianity in the 16th century, and how European colonial policy developed.

‘I'm Excited about the Impact Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Have on Our Life’

HSE University’s online Master of Data Science programme trains specialists in contemporary data analysis, machine learning development, and research. The applications are accepted until July 19. Students of the programme hail from over 30 countries including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, India, the USA, Canada, China, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, and Switzerland. Mehmet Namli (UAE) and Alexander Olekhnovich (Russia) spoke about how they decided to become part of the global data scientist community and shared their impressions of studying remotely at HSE University.

HSE University’s Online Master of Business Analytics Offers New Opportunities

The English-taught fully online Master of Business Analytics is offered by HSE University on Coursera in partnership with the AICPA Association. The first cohort will start their classes in September 2021. The programme aims to train a new generation of finance leaders. Working together with AICPA Association allows HSE University to significantly expand the range of educational options available to students.

HSE University Launches New Master’s Programmes on Coursera

HSE Master’s programmes in four new specializations are now available on Coursera in the fields of business analysis, finance, and computer science. Each specialization consists of a series of courses and a practice-oriented final project, says the HSE eLearning Office.

Data Science and Business Analytics Students Score the Highest on University of London Exams

Four students of the HSE University and University of London Double Degree Programme in Data Science and Business Analytics received the highest scores on London exams at the end of 2019/2020 academic year. Yunying Pei, Vasily Kireenko, Vladimir Zobov, and Ilya Zisman performed brilliantly in the statistics, business, and management tests.

HSE Launches Master of Finance Programme on Coursera with CFA-Based Curriculum

The HSE Banking Institute is launching a new Master of Finance programme on Coursera. The online programme is English-taught and based on the CFA certification requirements. Professor Vasily Solodkov, the director of the Banking Institute and the academic supervisor of the programme is discussing the programme features.

‘Success of Data Science Professionals Depends on Training’

Jingtao Xu, a second-year student from China, is pursuing his Bachelor’s in Data Science and Business Analytics, a double degree programme between HSE University and the University of London. In an interview with HSE News Service, he describes the hard and soft skills he has gained at HSE, as well as the ups and downs of studying online. He also told us about his favourite places in Moscow.