May 2018 Digital Tech Newsletter


Coding for Beginners Using Games

Learn to code using Minecraft, the wildly popular video game. In this course, you will build mods that can build cities, turn water into gold, or even create multi-player games. Your imagination is the limit as code gives you the superpower to do anything. In the process, you will see how code is used to automate processes much as in real life, and develop real coding skills. No coding experience required.

This is a 2-week course, which meets 4 days a week, with options in the morning (9 am to 12 noon) or afternoon (from 1:30 – 4:30pm). For more information and schedule options, please click here.

Instructor Interview:

This month we interview one of our new instructors, Kelvin McKisick. Kelvin has been working in the programming and data science fields for more than two decades.

UCLAx: Please tell us about yourself and how you got to where you currently are in your career.

Kelvin: My story starts with the television show Mission Impossible, which portrayed an elite group of operatives carrying out highly sensitive missions for the government. In that group was an African-American actor who played the character Barney Collier, and was the gadget maker. In the show he owned an electronics company, and in every episode he was tasked with creating some gadget vital to the mission. Each mission, Barney would be asked if he could complete his part, to which he would reply, “Sure Jim, I will have it ready.”

That impressed me because outside of my immediate family, who were all construction contractors, I had not seen a strong, confident, black man who knew what he was doing. So in my teens I started playing with electronics … Radio Shack was my second home. I learned more about electronics in high school, where I first used a TRS-80 computer. From there I decided I wanted to be an electronics engineer, so off to college I went. After college I started working at a bio-medical company doing hardware designs, then I went to another company to do electronic music design and development. From there I moved away from hardware and started working in the software field.

Today, I own my own electronics company, doing hardware and software development.

UCLAx: Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to share with us?

Kelvin: Early in my career I worked at an electronic music company, doing hardware and software design and development. From there I moved on to pure business and enterprise software development. Now I am going back to my hardware roots, designing electronic guitar effects pedals and rack-mounted sound processors.

UCLAx: Could you tell us about your course, Relation Database Management, and what students can expect to take away from it?

Kelvin: This course is designed to help the student learn about relational database technology, and how to use techniques such as data modeling and data normalization to design database structures. Then they will learn the process of translating their data model to a logical model, and from there to physical storage structures. Students will learn the topics of indexes, storage management, transactions, database integrity, concurrency control, data recovery, client/server relational database management, and introduction to SQL query optimization.

The students can expect to take away:

  1. The knowledge to create basic data and process models
  2. Better understanding of how to use existing database resources
  3. A greater grasp of how to develop and implement relatively complex database designs
  4. An understanding of how to be an effective member of a database development team
  5. The knowledge to create a basic relational database model based on the data and process models

UCLAx: What advice can you give our students trying to break into the data science field?


  • Learn coding and statistical basics as early as possible
  • Learn to work with new sources and types of data
  • Check out community sites such as Kaggle and join competitions. This is probably as close as you will get to real-job tasks.
  • Continue to keep up-to-date with the latest in machine-learning
  • Learn how to use R programming language and tools such as Power BI
  • Wake up every day and know that something new is in store with Big Data


Interesting Finds:

Games Change How We Think


Digital Badges Now Available!

UCLA Extension can now issue you a digital badge to show completion of your program. You can show off your achievement on social media by sharing your badge to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Click the link to review a video on how to receive and accept badges issued to you.

Events: On Thursday, June 7th, join us at 6pm for our next UCLAx SBi-Lab meet-up! For more information, please email us at

Summer Enrollment: Enrollment for the Summer Quarter opened on April 30th. To see our course and certificate offerings, click here.