Johns Hopkins Data Science Specialization Top Performers

Editor’s note: The Johns Hopkins Data Science Specialization is the largest data science program in the world.  Brian, Roger, and myself  conceived the program at the beginning of January 2014 , then built, recorded, and launched the classes starting in April 2014 with the help of Ira.  Since April 2014 we have enrolled 1.76 million student and awarded 71,589 Signature Track verified certificates. The first capstone class ran in October - just 7 months after the first classes launched and 4 months after all classes were running. Despite this incredibly short time frame 917 students finished all 9 classes and enrolled in the Capstone Course. 478 successfully completed the course.

When we first announced the the Data Science Specialization, we said that the top performers would be profiled here on Simply Statistics. Well, that time has come, and we’ve got a very impressive group of participants that we want to highlight. These folks have successfully completed all nine MOOCs in the specialization and earned top marks in our first capstone session with SwiftKey. We had the pleasure of meeting some of them last week in a video conference, and we were struck by their insights and expertise. Check them out below.

Sasa Bogdanovic

Sasa-Bogdanovic

 

 

 

 

Sasa Bogdanovic is passionate about everything data. For the last 6 years, he’s been working in the iGaming industry, providing data products (integrations, data warehouse architectures and models, business intelligence tools, analyst reports and visualizations) for clients, helping them make better, data-driven, business decisions.

Why did you take the JHU Data Science Specialization?

Although I’ve been working with data for many years, I wanted to take a different perspective and learn more about data science concepts and get insights into the whole pipeline from acquiring data to developing final data products. I also wanted to learn more about statistical models and machine learning.

What are you most proud of doing as part of the JHU Data Science Specialization?

I am very happy to have discovered the data science field. It is a whole new world that I find fascinating and inspiring to explore. I am looking forward to my new career in data science. This will allow me to combine all my previous knowledge and experience with my new insights and methods. I am very proud of every single quiz, assignment and project. For sure, the capstone project was a culmination, and I am very proud and happy to have succeeded to make a solid data product and to be a one of the top performers in the group. For this I am very grateful to the instructors, community TAs, all other peers for their contributions in the forums, and Coursera for putting it all together and making it possible.

How are you planning on using your Data Science Specialization Certificate?

I have already put the certificate in motion. My company is preparing new projects, and I expect the certificate to add weight to our proposals.

Alejandro Morales Gallardo

 

Alejandro

 

 

 

 

I’m a trained physicist with strong coding skills. I have a passion for dissecting datasets to find the hidden stories in data and produce insights through creative visualizations. A hackathon and open-data aficionado, I have an interest in using data (and science) to improve our lives.

Why did you take the JHU Data Science Specialization?

I wanted to close a gap in my skills and transition into to becoming a full blown Data Scientist by learning key concepts and practices in the field. Learning R, an industry relevant language, while creating a portfolio to showcase my abilities in the entire data science pipeline seemed very attractive.

What are you most proud of doing as part of the JHU Data Science Specialization?

I’m most proud of the Predictive Text App I developed. With the Capstone Project, it was extremely rewarding to be able to tackle a brand new data type and learn about text mining and natural language processing while building a fun and attractive data product. I was particularly proud that the accuracy of my app was not that far off from SwiftKey smartphone app. I’m also proud of being a top performer!

How are you planning on using your Data Science Specialization Certificate?

I want to apply my new set of skills to develop other products, analyze new datasets and keep growing my portfolio. It is also helpful to have Verified Certificates to show prospective employers.

Nitin Gupta

 

NitinGupta

 

 

 

 

Nitin is an independent trader and quant strategist with over 13 years of multi-faceted experience in the investment management industry. In the past he worked for a leading investment management firm where he built automated trading and risk management systems and gained complete life-cycle expertise in creating systematic investment products. He has a background in computer science with a strong interest in machine learning and its applications in quantitative modeling.

Why did you take the JHU Data Science Specialization?

I was fortunate to have done the first Machine Learning course taught by Prof. Andrew Ng at the launch of Coursera in 2012, which really piqued my interest in the topic. The next course I did on Coursera was Prof. Roger Peng’s Computing For Data Analysis which introduced me to R. I realized that R was ideally suited for the quantitative modeling work I was doing. When I learned about the range of topics that the JHU DSS would cover - from the best practices in tidying and transforming data to modeling, analysis and visualization - I did not hesitate to sign up. Learning how to do all of this in an ecosystem built around R has been a huge plus.

What are you most proud of doing as part of the JHU Data Science Specialization?

I am quite pleased with the web apps I built which utilize the concepts learned during the track. One of my apps visualizes and compares historical stock performance with other stocks and market benchmarks after querying the data directly from web resources. Another one showcases a predictive typing engine that dynamically predicts the next few words to use and append, as the user types a sentence. The process of building these apps provided a fantastic learning experience. Also, for the first time I built something that even my near and dear ones could use and appreciate, which is terrific.

How are you planning on using your Data Science Specialization Certificate?

The broad skill set developed through this specialization could be applied across multiple domains. My current focus is on building robust quantitative models for systematic trading strategies that could learn and adapt to changing market environments. This would involve the application of machine learning techniques among other skills learned during the specialization. Using R and Shiny to interactively analyze the results would be tremendously useful.

Marc Kreyer

 

Marc Kreyer

 

 

 

 

Marc Kreyer is an expert business analyst and software engineer with extensive experience in financial services in Austria and Liechtenstein. He successfully finishes complex projects by not only using broad IT knowledge but also outstanding comprehension of business needs. Marc loves combining his programming and database skills with his affinity for mathematics to transform data into insight.

Why did you take the JHU Data Science Specialization?

There are many data science MOOCs, but usually they are independent 4-6 week courses. The JHU Data Science Specialization was the first offering of a series of courses that build upon each other.

What are you most proud of doing as part of the JHU Data Science Specialization?

Creating a working text prediction app without any prior NLP knowledge and only minimal assistance from instructors.

How are you planning on using your Data Science Specialization Certificate?

Knowledge and experience are the most valuable things gained from the Data Science Specialization. As they can’t be easily shown to future employers, the certificate can be a good indicator for them. Unfortunately there is neither an issue data nor a verification link on the certificate, therefore it will be interesting to see how valuable it really will be.

Hsing Liu

 

Paul_HsingLiu

I studied in the U.S. for a number of years, and received my M.S. in mathematics from NYU before returning to my home country, Taiwan. I’m most interested in how people think and learn, and education in general. This year I’m starting a new career as an iOS app engineer.

Why did you take the JHU Data Science Specialization?

In my brief past job as an instructional designer, I read a lot about the new wave of online education, and was especially intrigued by how Khan Academy’s data science division is using data to help students learn. It occurred to me that to leverage my math background and make a bigger impact in education (or otherwise), data science could be an exciting direction to take.

What are you most proud of doing as part of the JHU Data Science Specialization?

It may sound boring, but I’m proud of having done my best for each course in the track, going beyond the bare requirements when I’m able. The parts of the Specialization fit into a coherent picture of the discipline, and I’m glad to have put in the effort to connect the dots and gained a new perspective.

How are you planning on using your Data Science Specialization Certificate?

I’m listing the certificate on my resume and LinkedIn, and I expect to be applying what I’ve learned once my company’s e-commence app launch.

Yichen Liu

 

Yichen Liu is a business analyst at Toyota Western Australia where he is responsible for business intelligence development, data analytics and business improvement. His prior experience includes working as a sessional lecturer and tutor at Curtin University in finance and econometrics units.

Why did you take the JHU Data Science Specialization?

Recognising the trend that the world is more data-driven than before, I felt it was necessary to gain further understanding in data analysis to tackle both current and future challenges at work.

What are you most proud of doing as part of the JHU Data Science Specialization?

The most proud thing as part of the program is that I have gained some basic knowledge in a totally new area, natural language processing. Though its connection with my current working area is limited, I see the future of data analysis to be more unstructured-data-drive and am willing to develop more knowledge in this area.

How are you planning on using your Data Science Specialization Certificate?

I see the certificate as a stepping stone into the data science world, and would like to conduct more advanced studies in data science especially for unstructured data analysis.

Johann Posch

PictureJohannPosch

After graduating form Vienna University of Technology with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence I joined Microsoft. There I worked as a developer on various products but the majority of the time as a Windows OS developer. After venturing into start-ups for a few years I joined GE Research to work on the Predix Big Data Platform and recently I joined on the Industrial Data Science team.

Why did you take the JHU Data Science Specialization?

Ever since I wrote my masters thesis in Neural Networks I have been intrigued with machine learning. I see data science as a field where great advances will happen over the next decade and as an opportunity to positively impact millions of lives. I like how JHU structured the course series.

What are you most proud of doing as part of the JHU Data Science Specialization?

Being able to complete the JHU Data Science Specialization in 6 months and to get an distinction on every one of the courses was a great success. However, the best moment was probably the way my capstone project (next word prediction) turned out. The model could be trained in incremental steps and how it was able to provide meaningful options in real time.

How are you planning on using your Data Science Specialization Certificate?

The course covered the concepts and tools needed to successfully address data science problems. It gave me the confidence and knowledge to apply for data science position. I am now working in the field at GE Research. I am grateful to all who made this Specialization happen!

Jason Wilkinson

 

JasonWilkinson

 

 

 

 

Jason Wilkinson is a trader of commodity futures and other financial securities at a small proprietary trading firm in New York City. He and his wife, Katie, and dog, Charlie, can frequently be seen at the Jersey shore. And no, it’s nothing like the tv show, aside from the fist pumping.

Why did you take the JHU Data Science Specialization?

The JHU Data Science Specialization helped me to prepare as I begin working on a Masters of Computer Science specializing in Machine Learning at Georgia Tech and also in researching algorithmic trading ideas. I also hope to find ways of using what I’ve learned in philanthropic endeavors, applying data science for social good.

What are you most proud of doing as part of the JHU Data Science Specialization?

I’m most proud of going from knowing zero R code to being able to apply it in the capstone and other projects in such a short amount of time.

How are you planning on using your Data Science Specialization Certificate?

The knowledge gained in pursuing the specialization certificate alone was worth the time put into it. A certificate is just a piece of paper. It’s what you can do with the knowledge gained that counts.

Uli Zellbeck

 

Uli

 

I studied economics in Berlin with focus on econometrics and business informatics. I am currently working as a Business Intelligence / Data Warehouse Developer in an e-commerce company. I am interested in recommender systems and machine learning.

Why did you take the JHU Data Science Specialization?

I wanted to learn about Data Science because it provides a different approach on solving business problems with data. I chose the JHU Data Science Specialization on Coursera because it promised a wide range of topics and I like the idea of online courses. Also, I had experience with R and I wanted to deepen my knowledge with this tool.

What are you most proud of doing as part of the JHU Data Science Specialization?

There are two things. I successfully took all nine courses in 4 months and the capstone project was really hard work.

How are you planning on using your Data Science Specialization Certificate?

I might get the chance to develop a Data Science department at my company. I like to use the certificate as basis to get a deeper knowledge in the many parts of Data Science.

Fred Zheng Zhenhao

 

ZHENG Zhenhao

 

 

 

 

By the time I enrolled in the JHU data science specialization, I was an undergraduate student in The Hong Kong Polytechnic university. Before that, I read some data mining books, feel excited about the content, but I never get to implement any of the algorithms because I barely have any programming skill. After taking this series of courses, now I am able to analyze the web content which is related to my research using R.

Why did you take the JHU Data Science Specialization?

I took this series of courses as a challenge to me. I would like to see whether my interest can support me through 9 courses and 1 capstone project. And I do want to learn more in this field. This specialization is different from other data mining or machine learning class in that it covers the entire process including the Git, R, R-Markdown, shiny etc, and I think these are necessary skills too.

What are you most proud of doing as part of the JHU Data Science Specialization?

Getting my word prediction app to respond in 0.05 seconds is already exiting, and one of the reviewer says “congratulations your engine came up with the most correct prediction among those I reviewed: 3 out of 5, including one that stumped every one else : “child might stick her finger or a foreign object into an electrical (outlet)”. I guess that’s the part I am most proud of.

How are you planning on using your Data Science Specialization Certificate?

It definitely goes in my CV for future job hunting.