This month we interviewed our instructor, Ray Han. Ray teaches a number of courses here at UCLA Extension; including Introduction to SQL, Relational Database Management, and Advanced Database Management Concepts.
UCLAx: Please tell us about yourself and how you got to where you currently are in your career?
Ray: I was born in the US. My dad was an aerospace scientist, and my mom was an elementary school teacher. So I was destined to succeed academically. I went to Yale for undergrad and studied applied math and computer science and I went to grad school in systems engineering at Stanford. I have also studied at Tsinghua,Peking, and Renmin Universities in China. I have worked at Honeywell, Oracle, and Arthur Andersen (Accenture). I can say I worked pretty hard but there were some lucky breaks along the line. The key is to never quit. Expect good things to happen if you try hard.
UCLAx: Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to share with us?
Ray: I am on the board of three startups. One of them Law Totem is already making money. In this role I helped them with building training software for lawyers preparing for the bar exam in China. There has been a venture DeveloBrain which was to help foreign students find jobs in the STEMs fields. However President Trump has made this very difficult. So I have temporarily directed people towards the Silicon Beach Innovation Lab. My focus is now on helping UCLA students connect. So if you are a perspectives STEMs person send me your resume.
UCLAx: Could you tell us about your course “Relational Database Management” and what students can expect to take away from it?
Ray: Notice that this class is called Relational Database Management and not Intro to Databases. By the end of class the students should be able to understand relational databases i.e. MS Access, MySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle pretty well. The class moves quickly so I would say by the end of the class the student should be good enough to be ready for an intro job in the field or something that requires 1-2 years of experience. In the final project we design an actual RDBMS. We cover ER diagraming, normalization, and SQL in depth. We learn Access and touch upon SQL Server and Oracle.
UCLAx: What advice can you give to our students trying to break into the Database Management field?
Ray: Start small then move up. If you are entirely new to the field try smaller databases and easier books. Try learning the small personal database Access first. We do this in my class. We then move to MS SQL Server and then to Oracle. I would start with an easy book. We use the lightweight book by Kroenke then build up to a more advanced book Silberschatz. Also, try to have friends in the class and in the field. Almost every CS person has some knowledge of databases. The small PC database MS Access comes with MS Office. Instead of using forms, etc., actually do the SQL. Also, it would be great if you could use Apporto, which allows you to work with SQL Server and Management Studio. In our class the student gets access to Apporto and they can work with many sample databases which can be attached. Nothing beats hands on experience. So play around with Access and Apporto.