In 2018 I mentioned how I was taking steps towards a bigger plan. Well, this was it.
March 19, 2019
This month I got accepted to the Masters of Science, Computer Information Systems at Boston University. Today is the start of the first class. This is my experience.
First, I must start by confessing I haven’t told my wife I enrolled. I know, perhaps not the wisest of moves, but I have a plan. Actually, we have discussed the plan and agree it’s a good idea, yet the thought of taking significant time to study with two active young toddlers has caused a little tension. To address this, I have started the program without telling her, or anyone else other than the ones who wrote letters of recommendation.
My objective is to prove the program is not affecting our lives in any significant way before revealing it. I’m not sure how, but I get the feeling it’s going to backfire. Let’s hope I’m wrong 🙂
MET CS 625 Business Data Communication and Networks
This is the first 600-level course and, boy, talk about a heavy course load. Thank God I liked the subject.
In this course we covered how data moves between devices at what I would assume is a high level point of view. We’ve gone over the layer models used by networks today (OSI and Internet), the basic protocols (UDP, HTTP, etc) types of networks (LAN, MAN, WAN) as well as devices (cables, routers, switches, network adapters)… too many things to list.
Having worked mainly in the cloud, some concepts (like cable speeds and how data moves) was new and, honestly, really fascinating. But I really enjoyed finally understanding IP addresses down to the binary representations, routing and switches, the dynamics of encryption between devices over the internet… all stuff that had me double guessing when dealing with VPNs in Google Cloud or AWS, for example.
Yes, I had studied this for the certifications, but this time we really dived into these topics.
I am incredibly frustrated that I didn’t get a 100% in the quizes. I was still above the average and course median, but still in the 80’s. My final is in two days. Watch me break the 90%.
CS782 IT Strategy and Management
Finished May 3, 2020.
This course was great. I think I was able to tied many professional experience to the subjects discussed here. On the one hand I kept thinking, “if I had approached X, Y or Z situations with this knowledge, I would’ve gotten way different results…” Yet, hindsight is 20/20. But I do know that because of these experiences I was able to dig into the material here.
- How to approach competition.
- How to justify IT projects
- Impacts of IT in business operations.
- A bit of finance.
This. This is what I’ve been hungry for. Too bad that I had pressures from working at home, news from Corona virus, no schooling, etc. Once I finish this program I will keep my eye on this type of course.
CS555 Data Analysis and Visualization with R
This note I’m starting just as the course starts. With COVID-19 now creating all sorts of challenging, most schools are rushing to go online – ironic.
6 weeks later…
This course was not easy. The thing is that in order to visualize analysis, we must first analyze. In that sense, this course is half statistics and half using R to tackle these statistics. To paraphrase the the instructor, understanding the concepts is the hard part, R will flow after that.
Things that are covered in the course are simple and multiple linear and logistic regressions, comparing means (analysis of variance), and the such.
The instructor was Heather Marie Shappell and the facilitator Katherine Grzesik. I felt they both did a great job.
Here’s a R export plotting the ROC for an assignment.
CS688 Web Analytics and Mining
This course started with a Google Analytics component. Web Analytics, finally the “bonus” course were I was supposed to be familiar with all the concepts, at least that is what the title suggests. No. Not a bonus.
Yes, the Google Analytics section was familiar territory, but those were the first two modules. We quickly jumped into R , going into text analysis (bag of words, corpus, this type of thing), then into sentiment analysis, web scraping with R. Very high level, but enough to be a good introduction.
To be honest, this course would’ve been much easier to navigate had I been stronger with R.
We were introduced to a few visualization libraries, most of them which I had troubles on Windows (ggplot? no. GoogleVis? no. Who saved the day? Plotly).
I reached out to the professor to see if I could assist in developing the Google Analytics portion of the curriculum, but he mentioned this area may go away soon. I thought this was probably a good call because the industry and tools are changing so fast. He also mentioned the course may be migrated to Python, something I wish they would have done before I took this course.
The concepts we reviewed in R are very transferable, nonetheless.
I Couldn’t Keep Up Updating All Classes
The original idea of this post was to post a brief description of all classes. But, alas, I could not!
But there is one software I want to remember WEKA. It is a statistical analysis software, open-source, and it was simple but powerful for the different things I wanted to explore. I hope they keep it up because it was great.
Graduation – I Did It! COVID Ruined The Ceremony
I did it! I finally graduated and received my diploma.
Even before starting my first class I was looking forward to travelling to Boston, walking on a stage, and receiving my diploma in front of my kids.
This moment I had imagined many times. Being able to wave to my kids as I receive a diploma I really never thought I would. Me breaking that imaginary barrier I believe we all make for ourselves at some level when we attempt to do something no one in our immediate circle has done before.
This was a message an image I wanted to send to my kids. This is the part I wanted them to remember. But no. For now they’ll remember me studying at nights and in the mornings and the stress this caused in the family.
I can only say, this will be corrected. I will go to Boston University and tell my kids about this journey from afar.