Digital Technology Instructor Interview: Vera Kalinichenko

Vera Kalinichenko is one of our new Data Science instructors and is a professional in the field. We are very excited to have her join our team!

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

Vera: I was born in a small town in the west of Ukraine. I participated in national mathematical competitions while I was in high school. I have graduated from VZMS (http://math-vzms.org/) which was an old USSR-style mathematics school for high school students. I was accepted into Kiev State University named after T. Shevchenko and spent two years there studying pure mathematics. In 1997 I came to the United States.

I went to UCLA for my undergraduate and graduate work. After UCLA, I worked for many years as a software engineer, building software for finance companies to trade bonds, options, and currencies. During 2012, when Big Data started to rise, I switched to the field of data science and have been doing data science since. Currently, I work as Principal Data Scientist at Atom Tickets, LLC. My personal goal is a constant search for knowledge since life is a puzzle.

 

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

Vera: Currently, I am working on a customer movie list personalization for Atom Tickets and a variety of others projects; from basic model tuning to experimentation with neural nets and deep-learning libraries from TensorFlow. I love opening a probability graduate book or any mathematics textbook and reading a few pages for inspiration. I strongly believe that discrete mathematics, combinatorics positively influence your creativity and help build elegant and simple models.

 

UCLAx: Could you tell us about your course, “Introduction to Data Science,” and what students can expect to take away from it?

Vera: My course is about developing a strong foundation in data science, familiarizing my students with data exploratory analysis, illustrating to my students the practical overview of several commonly used models in a wide range of fields. Data Science applications range from retail to finance, the medical field to engineering. I would like to prepare my students for their professional career as a data scientist/data analyst.

 

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

Vera: Mostly my students will not build gradient descent models from scratch at their workplaces, since there are so many libraries already written and available for use, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. However, I strongly believe that it is very important to understand the main concepts behind the most commonly used models. What really lies behind the models are basic optimization techniques. It is important to develop an intuition of how to build a model and know what techniques work in what use case. It really makes sense to spend time and develop that foundation if you are serious about data science. I think data science is a combination of art and science, that uses key ideas from mathematics, statistics, machine learning, and physics, so it is useful to review the basic statistics and linear algebra concepts, then just keep building on that foundation.

There is so much information available nowadays, you just need to allocate time and use books and lectures, read blogs and start developing code, and practice modeling. I think if a person wants to learn something, now is the best time to be living and achieving it. There is so much quality information available, you should use it as learning opportunity. The only commodities we need are time and perseverance.




June 2018 Digital Tech Newsletter

Spotlight: New programs

The certificate is a 4-course (16-unit) program that provides training and education for those who would like to pursue a career in data science. Courses cover data development and management, machine learning and natural language processing, exploratory data analysis, statistical models, data visualization, and inference. Additionally, the program includes hands-on training in real-life data science problems.

This program is available in standard or intensive formats. For more information, click here.

Grads of this certificate program will be granted UCLA alumni status. Many of our certificates, including Data Science, qualify for employer reimbursement. Please check with your employer.

 

The Python for Data Engineers specialization provides training and education for those who would like to specialize in big data analytics. Courses cover Python as a data analysis programming language, numerical computing, data analysis, unstructured data, statistical modeling, and data visualization. Additionally, the specialization includes hands-on training in design, analysis, and implementation of data-driven analytical strategy and tools to support business decision-making. This program has three required courses (12 academic units). For more information, click here.

 

Instructor Interview:

Vera Kalinichenko is one of our new Data Science instructors and is a professional in the field. We are very excited to have her join our team!

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

Vera: I was born in a small town in the west of Ukraine. I participated in national mathematical competitions while I was in high school. I have graduated from VZMS (http://math-vzms.org/) which was an old USSR-style mathematics school for high school students. I was accepted into Kiev State University named after T. Shevchenko and spent two years there studying pure mathematics. In 1997 I came to the United States.

I went to UCLA for my undergraduate and graduate work. After UCLA, I worked for many years as a software engineer, building software for finance companies to trade bonds, options, and currencies. During 2012, when Big Data started to rise, I switched to the field of data science and have been doing data science since. Currently, I work as Principal Data Scientist at Atom Tickets, LLC. My personal goal is a constant search for knowledge since life is a puzzle.

 

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

Vera: Currently, I am working on a customer movie list personalization for Atom Tickets and a variety of others projects; from basic model tuning to experimentation with neural nets and deep-learning libraries from TensorFlow. I love opening a probability graduate book or any mathematics textbook and reading a few pages for inspiration. I strongly believe that discrete mathematics, combinatorics positively influence your creativity and help build elegant and simple models.

 

UCLAx: Could you tell us about your course, “Introduction to Data Science,” and what students can expect to take away from it?

Vera: My course is about developing a strong foundation in data science, familiarizing my students with data exploratory analysis, illustrating to my students the practical overview of several commonly used models in a wide range of fields. Data Science applications range from retail to finance, the medical field to engineering. I would like to prepare my students for their professional career as a data scientist/data analyst.

 

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

Vera: Mostly my students will not build gradient descent models from scratch at their workplaces, since there are so many libraries already written and available for use, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. However, I strongly believe that it is very important to understand the main concepts behind the most commonly used models. What really lies behind the models are basic optimization techniques. It is important to develop an intuition of how to build a model and know what techniques work in what use case. It really makes sense to spend time and develop that foundation if you are serious about data science. I think data science is a combination of art and science, that uses key ideas from mathematics, statistics, machine learning, and physics, so it is useful to review the basic statistics and linear algebra concepts, then just keep building on that foundation.

There is so much information available nowadays, you just need to allocate time and use books and lectures, read blogs and start developing code, and practice modeling. I think if a person wants to learn something, now is the best time to be living and achieving it. There is so much quality information available, you should use it as learning opportunity. The only commodities we need are time and perseverance.

 

Summer Course Preview:

Introduction to Data Science

This course introduces students to the evolving domain of data science and to the food-chain of knowledge domains involved in its application. Students learn a wide range of challenges, questions, and problems that data science helps address in different domains, including social sciences, finance, health and fitness, and entertainment. The course addresses the key knowledge domains in data science, including data development and management, machine learning and natural language processing, statistical analysis, data visualization, and inference. The course also provides an exposure to some of the technologies involved in the application of data science, including Hadoop, NoSQL, and Python Programming language. The course includes case studies that require students to work on real-life data science problems.

Summer offerings: in-person, online, or in a hybrid format. 

 

Instructor Interview from Product Management:

Roy Firestone is the Sr. Director of Product for the global ad tech firm OpenX and teaches the course Tactical Product Management: Build it, Launch it, Grow it

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

Roy: I started computer programming at age 8 on one of the first home computers, the TRS-80 from Radio Shack. Computer information systems was a natural fit in undergrad. My first job was with Accenture in the technology practice in D.C., where I traveled around the world implementing software and training local staff in places like Rio de Janeiro, Bangkok, and Taipei. Through media companies like USA TODAY, I grew into advertising technology roles. My client-facing focus led to a career in product management, where I speak two languages: business and technology.

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

Roy: In my current role as Sr. Director of Product for the global ad tech firm OpenX, I am growing our digital video business by entering new markets like Connected TV.

UCLAx: Could you tell us about your course “Tactical Product Management: Build it, Launch it, Grow it,” and what students can expect to take away from it?

Roy: Tactical product management teaches how to shepherd digital products through the software development process. Product management roles and tasks differ from software engineering but are closely correlated. The objective is to make products successful through a combination of business and technical skills. It’s this unique combination of talents that define product management.

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

Roy: When trying to break into Product Management, it’s important to focus on accomplishments that align with this dynamic and exciting field. If you haven’t had a product role yet, revisit your resume and view it through a product lens. What turned you on to the product in the first place?  Were you a power user who helped design and launch a new system?  Were you the go-to resource for figuring out complex tech solutions?  Be ready to tell stories that are relevant to product management. If you are transitioning from software engineering, try using less engineering jargon and acronyms and highlight your experience using language from the product life cycle.

 

News:

-June 21st SBi-Lab Meet-up: Data Science and Entrepreneurship, for more information please email us at DT@uclaextension.edu

-Summer Quarter will begin on June 25th. You can enroll now!




Digital Technology Instructor Interview: Kelvin McKisick

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?

Kelvin:

  • 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

 




May 2018 Digital Tech Newsletter

Spotlight:

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?

Kelvin:

  • 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

News:

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 DT@uclaextension.edu.

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




Digital Technology Instructor Interview: Ali El-Annan

This month we had the pleasure of interviewing one of our new Data Science instructors, Ali El-Annan.

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

Ali: I could probably say it all started with a Lego set as a child when I had that “I want to be an engineer” moment. But I’ll pick up from when I graduated from UC Berkeley with an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degree. I was determined to build satellites, shuttles or go work for NASA. Destiny being as such, I ended up going into financial services post-Cal, and later worked at a technology company rather than go back to finance. It was great — I contributed across roles, from portfolio management to quantitative research to analytics, and beyond. It was challenging at times, rewarding at others. I’ve built skills across domains and networks across the globe. Currently, I work on a variety of data science, analytics, and technology efforts at a financial services firm.

To close it out with that Lego set and my core ambitions, I am blessed to have grown up in a house where my Mom always encouraged active citizenship and participation in the community, the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, and to always be open to learning new things. As such, I’m happy to be able to instruct at UCLA Extension and be part of the community.

 

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

Ali: Absolutely. There are a few ventures I’m pursuing. One is a very creative project (my first in the non-technical sphere). A few others are projects with fellow Cal Alumni that we (hope) can make the world a better place. I’m also independently learning some interesting “Internet of Things” technologies and tools for use with 3D printing and design.

 

UCLAx: Could you tell us about your course “Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization,” and what students can expect to take away from it?

Ali: I’d love to talk about the Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization course, which is part of the suite of Data Science courses UCLA Extension offers. Students will be able to approach existing challenges, frame and define new problems, and solve them using both the skills and tools they will learn through the course. It will be challenging, as we will use a lot of tools to give broad and deep exposure to all things data, to all things visualization, and tie them together. We will trace back and forth through the problem with data and visualization solutions. Effectively, students can leverage these skills for their entrepreneurial interests/starting a company, by using them at an existing company or institution, or for their own academic learnings.

 

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

Ali: Learn core concepts across domains (i.e., mathematics, computer science, design, etc.), learn different approaches (i.e., be able to solve the same problem using different techniques, or understand the available options and their trade-offs), and be ready to pivot (i.e., know the field will continue to grow, so grow with it and perhaps even contribute to it). Practice, exercise, and build intuition around what you are learning. Be aware of trends, but be careful about chasing them and have a diverse portfolio of skills. The field of Data Science can arguably be said to have existed from the beginnings of math and computer science, but essentially the improvements in computational capabilities have created a platform for amassing, processing, and understanding mass amounts of data by individuals with a computer and some skills. Practice, practice, practice. If you have a problem you want to solve, be patient with yourself, but try and solve it using the tools and skills you learn so that you can continuously improve. Create portfolios of your work, and be creative in gaining experience (i.e., seek an internship or work on a project with a non-profit). Attend networking events, technical talks, participate in competitions and find companies that — although they may be riskier from a career perspective — might give you the exposure you seek. Another route could also be to provide consulting services while you build your experience. There are many paths to success, and you’ve already started the most important part — learning and growing.




April 2018 Digital Tech Newsletter

Spotlight:

Mobile Application Development Specialization

The Mobile Application Development specialization is designed to help students learn strategies to overcome mobile development challenges including memory and processor limitations, network access, and battery power limitations. Students will learn to program applications for mobile devices, including Apple iPad, iPhone, and Google Android. The specialization requires a minimum of three courses totaling twelve units.

Required courses:

For more information about this specialization, please contact us at 310-825-4100 or DT@uclaextension.edu

 

Instructor Interview:

This month we had the pleasure of interviewing one of our new Data Science instructors, Ali El-Annan.

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

Ali: I could probably say it all started with a Lego set as a child when I had that “I want to be an engineer” moment. But I’ll pick up from when I graduated from UC Berkeley with an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degree. I was determined to build satellites, shuttles or go work for NASA. Destiny being as such, I ended up going into financial services post-Cal, and later worked at a technology company rather than go back to finance. It was great — I contributed across roles, from portfolio management to quantitative research to analytics, and beyond. It was challenging at times, rewarding at others. I’ve built skills across domains and networks across the globe. Currently, I work on a variety of data science, analytics, and technology efforts at a financial services firm.

To close it out with that Lego set and my core ambitions, I am blessed to have grown up in a house where my Mom always encouraged active citizenship and participation in the community, the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, and to always be open to learning new things. As such, I’m happy to be able to instruct at UCLA Extension and be part of the community.

 

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

Ali: Absolutely. There are a few ventures I’m pursuing. One is a very creative project (my first in the non-technical sphere). A few others are projects with fellow Cal Alumni that we (hope) can make the world a better place. I’m also independently learning some interesting “Internet of Things” technologies and tools for use with 3D printing and design.

 

UCLAx: Could you tell us about your course “Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization,” and what students can expect to take away from it?

Ali: I’d love to talk about the Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization course, which is part of the suite of Data Science courses UCLA Extension offers. Students will be able to approach existing challenges, frame and define new problems, and solve them using both the skills and tools they will learn through the course. It will be challenging, as we will use a lot of tools to give broad and deep exposure to all things data, to all things visualization, and tie them together. We will trace back and forth through the problem with data and visualization solutions. Effectively, students can leverage these skills for their entrepreneurial interests/starting a company, by using them at an existing company or institution, or for their own academic learnings.

 

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

Ali: Learn core concepts across domains (i.e., mathematics, computer science, design, etc.), learn different approaches (i.e., be able to solve the same problem using different techniques, or understand the available options and their trade-offs), and be ready to pivot (i.e., know the field will continue to grow, so grow with it and perhaps even contribute to it). Practice, exercise, and build intuition around what you are learning. Be aware of trends, but be careful about chasing them and have a diverse portfolio of skills. The field of Data Science can arguably be said to have existed from the beginnings of math and computer science, but essentially the improvements in computational capabilities have created a platform for amassing, processing, and understanding mass amounts of data by individuals with a computer and some skills. Practice, practice, practice. If you have a problem you want to solve, be patient with yourself, but try and solve it using the tools and skills you learn so that you can continuously improve. Create portfolios of your work, and be creative in gaining experience (i.e., seek an internship or work on a project with a non-profit). Attend networking events, technical talks, participate in competitions and find companies that — although they may be riskier from a career perspective — might give you the exposure you seek. Another route could also be to provide consulting services while you build your experience. There are many paths to success, and you’ve already started the most important part — learning and growing.

 

Other UCLA Extension Programs:

Product Management Specialization

From startups to large corporations, develop the skills to be an adaptive, analytical, and responsive product manager working within the agile framework to design, develop, and deploy great products. Learn how to promote consensus, collaboration, and understanding among cross-functional business units and users. Explore the cutting-edge landscape of product management: emerging tools, trends, platforms, and best practices (and when to break them). Work with a variety of top industry professionals of different backgrounds and learn about their failures and successes. Whether you are coming from a design, technical, creative, or business background, discover your personal path into mastering digital and software product management.

Throughout their course of study, students will:

  • Discern if their product idea is viable in the market
  • Learn frameworks to conduct market research and analysis
  • Study how products monetize and scale
  • Gain mastery of the product management process and lifecycle
  • Learn how to design products for maximum usability
  • Develop the skills to be an adaptive, analytical, and responsive product manager

Students must successfully complete both of the following courses to complete the specialization:

  1. MGMT 837.7, Strategic Product Management: Discover, Define, Design
  2. MGMT 837.8, Tactical Product Management: Build It, Launch It, Grow It

For more information about this specialization, please contact Tina Chang (310) 206-2485, tchang@unex.ucla.edu.

 

Updates:      

-Spring Quarter begins the week of April 2, 2018.

-Join us on Thursday, April 19th at 6:30 pm for our monthly SBiLab meet-up. For more details, please email us at DT@uclaextension.edu

-Enrollment for Summer Quarter will begin April 30th.

-You can follow us on Facebook @UCLAxDigitalTech or connect with us on LinkedIn @UCLAx Digital Technology.




Digital Technology Instructor Interview: Eric Kellener

This month we interviewed Eric Kellener. He is a professional management consultant and has been teaching with us for the last year.

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

Erik: I’ve had the good fortune to know what area I was interested in from an early age. I was one of those kids working with computers since I was 11 years old. I continued the path and studied Computer Science in both Undergraduate and Graduate school. To date, I’ve spent the first 1/3 of my career writing software, another 1/3 in building and leading engineering teams, and the recent 1/3 focusing on developing the next generation of great technology leaders.

 

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

Erik: For the past 6 years, I’ve been building a consulting practice focused on helping companies scale their teams and organizations through the lens of technology leadership. I generally serve as a consulting CTO, a business coach, mentor and target team and leadership development. http://www.kellener.com

 

UCLAx: Could you tell us about your course “Introduction to SQL” and what students can expect to take away from it?

Erik: This is a fairly new experience for me, especially as an online-course instructor. When designing the content, I honestly struggled on how to effectively measure a student’s grasp of the curriculum (e.g. quizzes and tests) with an online format. After speaking with number of colleagues, I landed on an approach that is heavily weighted on solving real-world, practical problems, as opposed to measuring their accuracy of technical structures and syntax (Google and Stackoverflow are great for that). In other words, examples and problems would be framed as “You have been asked by the Human Resources team to develop an employee report that shows […]; write a solution to accomplish this.“  I think of these problems as mazes which have many successful paths to the exit.

 

UCLAX: What advice can you give to our students trying to break into the Database Management field?

Erik:

  • Get practical experience as soon as possible. Build a database backend for a friend’s website. Volunteer to help out your IT team in building an asset-tracking system. The more you keep close to the domain, the quicker you’ll gain momentum in your learning.
  • Don’t specialize early on. Learn about the tools and technologies available and used by the industry. Familiarize yourself with the database technology landscape, from MongoDB, to MySQL, to Oracle, to Neo4j. When working with my clients on hiring, I almost always recommend they hire generalists with a high capacity to learn and adapt.
  • Find someone who can be a mentor. Pair with someone who has the skills or experiences you want to develop — this applies to most things in life.



March 2018 Digital Tech Newsletter

Spotlight: New Data Science Practicum

This project-based Data Science Practicum provides students with the opportunity to gain real-world experience working with our industry partners. Each practicum cohort is sponsored by a company or organization. This collaboration allows students to work with partner companies/organizations to gain analytics experience and reconcile mathematical theory with business practice. Student groups — supervised by a UCLA Extension practicum instructor — work with the practicum company/organization to identify, define, scope, and analyze a business problem. Students will work in groups to solve real-world data analysis problems and communicate their results. Innovation and clarity of presentation will be key elements of evaluation.

It is assumed that students participating in this practicum have a thorough knowledge of basic machine learning concepts (classification, clustering, regression, dimensionality reduction, etc.) and are proficient in R or Python. Students will be working on a real-world data science project from Day 1 of this Data Science Practicum. Very little time will be spent on lectures or introducing new machine learning concepts or explaining basic constructs of programming languages.

For the Spring 2018 cohort, students accepted into the practicum will be working on a real-world project to collect/scrape big data in real-time for all the regions in the U.S. and other countries, such as China. The data will be cleaned, standardized, and properly aggregated, measured, managed to become real-time indicators of various economic activities at the local and national levels. In countries like China, economic statistics are not available in real-time, available with significant delay, or not trustworthy. This project will focus on how to turn the collected big data into useful indicators to be comparable to the official economic statistics issued by government agencies, in retrospect. The indicators will be similar to GDP, payroll employment, housing prices, etc.

For students without previous experience in data science, we recommend completing our Data Science specialization. The Data Science specialization can be completed in as little as 10 weeks in our 10-Week Data Science Camp. 

The Spring 2018 Practicum will run from April 2 – June 9, 2018
Meeting schedule:

Mondays, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Wednesdays, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Saturdays, 10 am – 1 pm

Please click here for more information or to enroll in the practicum.

Instructor Interview:

This month we interviewed Eric Kellener. He is a professional management consultant and has been teaching with us for the last year.

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

Erik: I’ve had the good fortune to know what area I was interested in from an early age. I was one of those kids working with computers since I was 11 years old. I continued the path and studied Computer Science in both Undergraduate and Graduate school. To date, I’ve spent the first 1/3 of my career writing software, another 1/3 in building and leading engineering teams, and the recent 1/3 focusing on developing the next generation of great technology leaders.

 

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

Erik: For the past 6 years, I’ve been building a consulting practice focused on helping companies scale their teams and organizations through the lens of technology leadership. I generally serve as a consulting CTO, a business coach, mentor and target team and leadership development. http://www.kellener.com

 

UCLAx: Could you tell us about your course “Introduction to SQL” and what students can expect to take away from it?

Erik: This is a fairly new experience for me, especially as an online-course instructor. When designing the content, I honestly struggled on how to effectively measure a student’s grasp of the curriculum (e.g. quizzes and tests) with an online format. After speaking with number of colleagues, I landed on an approach that is heavily weighted on solving real-world, practical problems, as opposed to measuring their accuracy of technical structures and syntax (Google and Stackoverflow are great for that). In other words, examples and problems would be framed as “You have been asked by the Human Resources team to develop an employee report that shows […]; write a solution to accomplish this.“  I think of these problems as mazes which have many successful paths to the exit.

 

UCLAX: What advice can you give to our students trying to break into the Database Management field?

Erik:

  • Get practical experience as soon as possible. Build a database backend for a friend’s website. Volunteer to help out your IT team in building an asset-tracking system. The more you keep close to the domain, the quicker you’ll gain momentum in your learning.
  • Don’t specialize early on. Learn about the tools and technologies available and used by the industry. Familiarize yourself with the database technology landscape, from MongoDB, to MySQL, to Oracle, to Neo4j. When working with my clients on hiring, I almost always recommend they hire generalists with a high capacity to learn and adapt.
  • Find someone who can be a mentor. Pair with someone who has the skills or experiences you want to develop — this applies to most things in life.

 

Spring Course Preview:

We are now offering a great new course for Data Science students!

Data Science Using SAS

Data Science using SAS is a unique and focused class to better prepare you for high-demand Data Science Analyst level positions. After completing this class, students will be able to analyze data in order to answer critical business questions. Students will also be able to apply data cleaning techniques to ensure integrity.

The core topics covered in this class include SAS Enterprise Guide, Base, and Advanced Certification exam preparation, as well as SQL for data manipulation and data cleaning. These are all essential topics across all big data industries. There are also advanced topics on data and visual analysis and clinical data, and CDISC standards for the pharmaceutical and medical industries.

This is a fast-paced class and requires some computer programming experience in any language, or knowledge of SAS programming. You will be expected to participate in class discussions and question and answer sessions. Your class exercises will be written in SAS, a powerful statistical programing language used across all industries.

Spring offering: #361096

4/28 – 5/27 This class will meet in person on 4 Saturdays for 6 hours each day. In addition, there will be 9 hours of online office hours for student exercises on 3 Sundays.

 

News:

-Spring Quarter begins the week of April 2, 2018.

-The deadline for Applications for the Coding Bootcamp Scholarship has been extended to March 21, 2018. Follow the link for more information: https://ucla.box.com/s/juh3eqm33eclxbmcucv3pxii376xpbww

-You can follow us on Facebook @UCLAxDigitalTech or connect with us on LinkedIn @UCLAx Digital Technology.




Digital Technology Instructor Interview: Ray Han

Instructor Interview

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.




February 2018 Digital Tech Newsletter

Spotlight

Database Management Certificate

The Database Management Certificate is a 32-unit program designed for information technology professionals who would like to become involved in the development and support of database management systems. The Certificate provides training in creating and maintaining databases based on fundamentals of relational database, and Structured Query Language (SQL). Additionally, the certificate includes courses in Microsoft SQL Server administration and reporting services.

Required Courses:

 

Instructor Interview

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. 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. Outside of my involvement in the startup world, my focus is now on helping UCLA students connect, and I think the Silicon Beach Innovation Lab is a great way for people to connect and get more involved in STEM fields and the larger tech world.

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. 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.

 

Spring Course Preview

Relational Database Management

Understanding client-relational database design is vital to system design and implementation. Learn relational database technology, data modeling, SQL, data normalization, and the translation of logical designs to physical storage structures. Additional topics include indexes; storage management; transactions; database integrity; concurrency control; recovery; client/server relational database management; and introduction to query optimization.

Spring availability:
Online from 4/4/18 – 6/6/18 with Ronald Landers, ID# 359662
In-person from 4/4/18 – 6/6/18 with Ray Han in Woodland Hills, ID# 359677
In-person from 4/5/19 – 6/7/18 with Mickey Pujji in Westwood, ID# 359666

 

Advanced Database Management Concepts

Designed for individuals with a basic understanding of data modeling, logical database design, and relational database management systems, this course introduces important considerations in database application development and various technologies that, when combined with recent developments in relational database technology, have made possible database publishing on the Internet. Topics include review of EER modeling, object-oriented concepts and modeling, introduction to data warehousing, client/server and Internet database environments, introduction to OLAP, enterprise database application development, distributed and object-oriented database processing, and an introduction to Sun Microsystems J2EE and Enterprise JavaBean (EJB) technologies.

Spring availability:
Online from 4/2/18 – 6/4/18 with Ray Han, ID# 359679

 

Network Communication with TCP/IP

Learn network communications, from the basics of network topologies, OSI layering, and Ethernet to networking hardware and packet-switching fundamentals. The course focuses on TCP/IP and its plethora of protocols and services. Topics also include IP addressing, routing, switching, reliable data transfer, and congestion management. Students study many TCP/IP services, including DNS, DHCP, and VPN. Instruction also reviews network security as well as application layer protocols (such as HTTP, FTP, and email) and client/server network applications. The course provides hands-on examples using Windows, Linux, and Solaris. Students also learn how networks and TCP/IP work, and how to work TCP/IP.

Spring availability:
Online from 4/2/18 – 6/4/18 with Irfan Ahmed, ID# 359681
In-person from 4/5/18 – 6/7/18 with Fred Zerez, ID# 359680

 

Reminders

-Spring enrollment will open on February 5. Spring quarter beings the week of April 2, 2018.

Save up to 10% during early enrollment with code EARLY*

*Discount code available on most courses at least 30 days before course start date. Discounts cannot be combined. Code is case sensitive.

-You can follow us on Facebook @UCLAxDigitalTech or connect with us on LinkedIn @UCLAx Digital Technology.