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.




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.