I finished!


I've completed Stanford's Mining Massive Data Sets Graduate Certificate program! I finished the last class in December and recently received the official certificate in the mail.

The program requires completing four classes,

  • CS276: Information Retrieval and Web Search
  • CS224w: Social and Information Network Analysis
  • CS246: Mining Massive Data Sets
  • CS229: Machine Learning

All four classes were really good and had a healthy balance between theory and practice. Compared to other graduate engineering courses that I've taken, these classes were fairly difficult. The math proof homework questions were particularly challenging. At first I found them frustrating but eventually came to enjoy the challenge.

I originally started out pursuing the Data Mining and Applications Graduate Certificate program offered by the Stanford Statistics Department. I took two classes under that program

STATS202 was a good class to start with but much, much easier than the other classes that I took. STATS315A was much harder and very math focused. The transition from STATS202 was hard and with work responsibilities looming I decided to audit STATS315A. Eventually, I decided that I wanted a more applied focus and switched to the Mining Massive Data Sets program. For my goals, that was the right decision but it's important to note that the Data Mining and Applications program is also very good for more focus on math and theory.

In both programs, I didn't experience any problems being a remote student. Videos of the classes were consistently available shortly after they occurred on campus. Remote and local students used the same processes for submitting assignments, collaborating on-line (Piazza), etc. The Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) provided outstanding support throughout the program.

Many institutions now offer on-line "data science" certificate or degree programs. However, I think the Stanford MMDS program continues to be one of the best options given the topics covered, high-quality education, and convenience.

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