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University vs. College for career in data / biz analytics / business tech / information system..

  • Last Updated:
  • May 10th, 2017 12:41 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 18, 2017
19 posts
1 upvote
ryan10075 wrote:
Apr 19th, 2017 8:18 pm
Like above, you'll need a blend of knowledge of everything.

If you want to pursue in non-machine learning data science you should take a Statistics degree. You just need R and Python (plus a few packages like panda) as programming and it's very simple, comparing to those CS stuff. You don't need to know what a pointer is, what is thread vs process or how to use valgrind to do analysis. For machine-learning data science a Computer Science degree may be better.

Or even get into a data science boot camp (though I think you may not be eligible because you are non-resident & non-citizen).
Thanks - may I ask what is the difference between machine learning and non-machine learning data science? Is the knowledge of machine learning required in current workscope of data scientist in corporation, or it is a future trend?
Jr. Member
Nov 26, 2015
181 posts
54 upvotes
Montréal
tzhang35 wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 5:42 am
Thanks - may I ask what is the difference between machine learning and non-machine learning data science? Is the knowledge of machine learning required in current workscope of data scientist in corporation, or it is a future trend?
It's two spectrum of jobs but it is not really required now especially in Canada (more in the USA) but it would be a future trend. It is not easy to learn either.
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2013
4159 posts
594 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
tzhang35 wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 4:18 am
Yes I've learned from multiple sources that colleges are more practical and even heard university graduates coming back to colleges to get more training.. But since my work exp. is not in IT field so I cannot exactly tell whether it is more hands-on from looking at the webpages and course list. But I've seen the college courses teaches you the programming language whereas the name of university courses uses more words like "Algorithms" "systems" or "engineering".

On the other hand, I think you need university degrees to get a job in the big-name companies in Canada, but generally speaking the chances of finding this type of job for immigrants is lower due to lack of local experience and adaptability to the workplace, and university costs more time..

that's why I'm very entangled about the choice of college or university..
Algorithms courses teach you the theoretical background of algorithms- that is what they are. Each programming languages uses them differently but that's to be learned on your own time.

e.g. What recursion is, what each of the different sorting methods are, defining an object, etc.

When I took CPSC in UBC we were using an odd programming language in Year 1 that no one else used aside from Waterloo, but it was meant as a teaching language. Then we moved onto C++, Phyton, and Java- but the instructors taught is near 0 of them- only were assigned projects where we were required to learn them.

You have to enjoy learning and doing programming as a hobby to do well in CPSC. Actually, IMO that's a given for most routes of university studies. If you don't like what you're getting yourself into, it's not worth your while. If you don't like it and just are looking for work and a good future for yourself and/or your family, or are just looking to build up assets, I'd look to the trades. More money, more job opportunities, more work security.

The story about the uni grads going back to college is with almost all uni. students back in BC, and a lot in other provinces as well. They realize though after getting the theoretical background, they do not have practical skills employers (or themselves) want. College programs are usually more job-focused while universities are looking to give students personal fulfillment (especially if you come from a foreign culture where higher education is like a religion). Schools like UBC know that and know they can keep making money from selling "personal fulfillment".

Even if they don't go to college after, they usually go for some sort of graduate studies more practical and job-catered, like CPA, CFA, CFP, etc.

In the end whatever you go to school for just becomes one phrase on your resume, per degree/diploma. Experience and the lengthy list of credentials are what they are after.

In my personal case, my undergrad studies was on a Math and Economics degree (though I have 2 years of the UBC CPSC in there, as well as almost 2 years of the BCOMM ones). Later on I went off to NAIT (main technical college of Alberta north of Calgary). I just use what I learned in university to understand things in my everyday life and the financial and technical literacy for my investing decisions and those I make for my own business. I have the odd employer/customer that will ask about my university education but most don't care for it.
Sr. Member
Dec 24, 2007
684 posts
56 upvotes
GTA
I personally know lots of Ryerson and Seneca graduates get employed at government and big companies. I don't think you need UofT Queens Waterloo to get into "big name" company here. It's a mis-conception to think big company employs "big name" graduate. However in the bank corporation ladder, you do need a master degree at certain level of the title, but that's something you worry at a later time. Your goal now is to bridge, and if you need promotion later, you can use your undergraduate degree to apply for a 1-year MBA; lots of part-time options there.
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 18, 2017
19 posts
1 upvote
pandorazw wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 10:22 am
I personally know lots of Ryerson and Seneca graduates get employed at government and big companies. I don't think you need UofT Queens Waterloo to get into "big name" company here. It's a mis-conception to think big company employs "big name" graduate. However in the bank corporation ladder, you do need a master degree at certain level of the title, but that's something you worry at a later time. Your goal now is to bridge, and if you need promotion later, you can use your undergraduate degree to apply for a 1-year MBA; lots of part-time options there.
Thanks for your advice - That's also what I thought. To break into the Canadian workplace first and worried about career advancement later..

Good to know that big companies also employ graduates from non-big name schools..But I believe recruitment is also case-by-case exercise and requires a lot networking..
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 18, 2017
19 posts
1 upvote
FirstGear wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 7:59 am
Algorithms courses teach you the theoretical background of algorithms- that is what they are. Each programming languages uses them differently but that's to be learned on your own time.

e.g. What recursion is, what each of the different sorting methods are, defining an object, etc.

When I took CPSC in UBC we were using an odd programming language in Year 1 that no one else used aside from Waterloo, but it was meant as a teaching language. Then we moved onto C++, Phyton, and Java- but the instructors taught is near 0 of them- only were assigned projects where we were required to learn them.

You have to enjoy learning and doing programming as a hobby to do well in CPSC. Actually, IMO that's a given for most routes of university studies. If you don't like what you're getting yourself into, it's not worth your while. If you don't like it and just are looking for work and a good future for yourself and/or your family, or are just looking to build up assets, I'd look to the trades. More money, more job opportunities, more work security.

The story about the uni grads going back to college is with almost all uni. students back in BC, and a lot in other provinces as well. They realize though after getting the theoretical background, they do not have practical skills employers (or themselves) want. College programs are usually more job-focused while universities are looking to give students personal fulfillment (especially if you come from a foreign culture where higher education is like a religion). Schools like UBC know that and know they can keep making money from selling "personal fulfillment".

Even if they don't go to college after, they usually go for some sort of graduate studies more practical and job-catered, like CPA, CFA, CFP, etc.

In the end whatever you go to school for just becomes one phrase on your resume, per degree/diploma. Experience and the lengthy list of credentials are what they are after.

In my personal case, my undergrad studies was on a Math and Economics degree (though I have 2 years of the UBC CPSC in there, as well as almost 2 years of the BCOMM ones). Later on I went off to NAIT (main technical college of Alberta north of Calgary). I just use what I learned in university to understand things in my everyday life and the financial and technical literacy for my investing decisions and those I make for my own business. I have the odd employer/customer that will ask about my university education but most don't care for it.
Thanks for your sharing. Would I be too old for entry position if I graduate from University degree at 30+.. I do enjoy some basic programming and problem-solving at my current position as financial analyst, but I am also worried about the age discrimination in IT field especially for programmers..
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Nov 19, 2014
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motime wrote:
Apr 19th, 2017 7:19 pm
UBC has an excellent CS department. I would put them right behind Waterloo and U of T.
It's quite a far ways behind. I'm very familiar with the HR people at the top tech companies. Waterloo is definitely top-notch. Then a signifigant drop-off. Then UofT is comparable is an average US state school (nowhere near Berkeley, maybe a bit below Penn State but above Pitt). UBC is third.

You can easily tell the difference by the #s they hire out of Waterloo versus UBC and how many companies bother to make the full trip to Waterloo
I'm At The W, But I Can't Meet You In The Lobby, Girl I Gotta Watch My Back, Cuz I'm Not Just Anybody, I Seen Em' Stand In Line, Just To Get Beside Her, That's When We Disappear, You Need GPS To Find Her, Oh That Was Your Girl? I Thought I Recognized Her."
Member
Dec 2, 2007
482 posts
37 upvotes
Toronto
I would avoid computer field if I were you. It is has been really bad now. Jobs are hard to find and they are usually low wages. You should try different career path.

Avoid IT at all cost!!!!!
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User avatar
Jul 22, 2006
20605 posts
1914 upvotes
University of Waterloo..
Ultra competitive but it's #1 in Canada for CS .....

Big plus, the region is booming with tech startups looking for talent
tzhang35 wrote:
Apr 24th, 2017 3:56 am
Thanks for your sharing. Would I be too old for entry position if I graduate from University degree at 30+.. I do enjoy some basic programming and problem-solving at my current position as financial analyst, but I am also worried about the age discrimination in IT field especially for programmers..
You are already going to stand out in coop .. Just do your best and get good coop feedback :)
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2013
4159 posts
594 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
tzhang35 wrote:
Apr 24th, 2017 3:56 am
Thanks for your sharing. Would I be too old for entry position if I graduate from University degree at 30+.. I do enjoy some basic programming and problem-solving at my current position as financial analyst, but I am also worried about the age discrimination in IT field especially for programmers..
Usually they don't like it as they see someone with a shorter career growth timeline, or for some jobs, someone having less time for work and having more family and other commitments. Some positions like people in their young 20s starting out.

Also, some people see the younger as minds they can "easily mold into what they like". For entry level positions they like people like this.
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Aug 3, 2014
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picard12 wrote:
Apr 24th, 2017 2:47 pm
I would avoid computer field if I were you. It is has been really bad now. Jobs are hard to find and they are usually low wages. You should try different career path.

Avoid IT at all cost!!!!!
You should learn the difference between CS and IT first.
Sr. Member
Sep 29, 2008
603 posts
67 upvotes
Mississauga
Corner3 wrote:
Apr 24th, 2017 11:34 am
It's quite a far ways behind. I'm very familiar with the HR people at the top tech companies. Waterloo is definitely top-notch. Then a signifigant drop-off. Then UofT is comparable is an average US state school (nowhere near Berkeley, maybe a bit below Penn State but above Pitt). UBC is third.

You can easily tell the difference by the #s they hire out of Waterloo versus UBC and how many companies bother to make the full trip to Waterloo
At the end of the day if you are competent and follow the prescribed guidelines then you will land placements and offers at top tech companies, regardless of the school you go to, especially in Canada. Going to Waterloo definitely gives a big leg up as they have the best industry connections, but as long as you have a half decent side projects, and good interview practice, you will do fine from any school.
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Nov 19, 2014
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motime wrote:
Apr 25th, 2017 1:00 am
At the end of the day if you are competent and follow the prescribed guidelines then you will land placements and offers at top tech companies, regardless of the school you go to, especially in Canada. Going to Waterloo definitely gives a big leg up as they have the best industry connections, but as long as you have a half decent side projects, and good interview practice, you will do fine from any school.
That's true. I wasn't arguing the point that you can't get a good job out of any computer science program in Canada. I was pointing out that misconception that Waterloo was even with UofT and UBC was close. There's a big discrepancy between Waterloo's Computer Science program and everyone else in the country. You can drop-out of college and land a programming job at a good company if you have great projects and can do a whiteboard interview (which, many CS grads don't have or can't do).

I'll even go further to say that, if you haven't been programming pre-college, you're probably better off not going to Waterloo. At UofT or UBC, there will be some non-CS people in the 100 level classes and people from other majors. There will be a % of people from Engineering who party too hard and flunk out. People who thought they wanted to do computer science, but quickly switch majors. Big schools like UBC or UofT will always have this % of people that smaller schools lack, which will help keep you afloat .

People who go to Waterloo tend to be pretty certain they want to do STEM. The percentage of people in your programming classes who already know how to program will be high. Students who go there have a high interest in their majors, otherwise they wouldn't move out to Waterloo. No one chooses Waterloo because they want to party or maximize their college lifestyle. There are definitely people who go to UBC or UofT for that.
I'm At The W, But I Can't Meet You In The Lobby, Girl I Gotta Watch My Back, Cuz I'm Not Just Anybody, I Seen Em' Stand In Line, Just To Get Beside Her, That's When We Disappear, You Need GPS To Find Her, Oh That Was Your Girl? I Thought I Recognized Her."
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 18, 2017
19 posts
1 upvote
george__ wrote:
Apr 24th, 2017 6:51 pm
University of Waterloo..
Ultra competitive but it's #1 in Canada for CS .....

Big plus, the region is booming with tech startups looking for talent



You are already going to stand out in coop .. Just do your best and get good coop feedback :)

Thanks - but to be clear I didn't get into the computer science program of uwaterloo, but rather the MSc Management Science. what would you think of the program of management science in Waterloo for an immigrant with business background trying to break into the field of business analytics / data science?

from what I learned from the school and alunmi that program would be more quantatitive focused (i.e. maths and stat) and has less training in computer science..and coop opportunity is uncertain as admission to coop program is based on the average grade of the first semester..
Last edited by tzhang35 on Apr 25th, 2017 6:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 18, 2017
19 posts
1 upvote
Corner3 wrote:
Apr 24th, 2017 11:34 am
It's quite a far ways behind. I'm very familiar with the HR people at the top tech companies. Waterloo is definitely top-notch. Then a signifigant drop-off. Then UofT is comparable is an average US state school (nowhere near Berkeley, maybe a bit below Penn State but above Pitt). UBC is third.

You can easily tell the difference by the #s they hire out of Waterloo versus UBC and how many companies bother to make the full trip to Waterloo
Thanks for your sharing - what do you think of the Management Science master's program at uwaterloo? Any prospect in getting to data science or business analytics?
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