Letters From Learners: Samarth Trivedi

It can be tricky to take up online programs. Especially when you are enrolling for long-term programs or programs that are directly going to impact your career. Hence, I will base my arguments based on the career impact that online education has.

I started the PG Diploma in Data Science program in Dec 2018 and will be completing it this month.

What I have experienced is that as an organisation, upGrad has done everything possible to give you the best experience in terms of videos, extra material for self-study, online discussion forums, and mentors who can guide you remotely if you hit a roadblock, who are readily available through whatsapp/emails.

It’s up to us to make the best of what has been provided. There can be a downside to online studies as you can be entirely on your own and may miss group studies – that we are so accustomed to, since our college days. To mitigate that, I ensure that I engaged with like-minded people and that helps you when you are studying and not able to understand certain concepts. While they do have Discussion Forums to provide a way around, who doesn’t like a friend teaching you during the crunch hours before the exams, helping you pass with flying colours.

As far as the  “online” aspect is concerned, I enrolled because I am a working professional, attending full-time programs that are in-house. It is very tough but upGrad surpassed my expectations and did a really good job in providing material and industry experts who can keep you engaged for hours together.

You will have assignments every weekend for 1 year which will keep you occupied. The biggest advantage that I felt was if I am busy at work I can budget my time by an hour or 2 – before or after the work – or if I am free at work I can continue with my learning as your material would be recorded videos and programming consoles that they provide on the platform itself. Hence, budgeting time is very easy for online programs.

Career Impact: I started the program in Dec 2018 and as of 2020 April I have been able to transition myself into a Data Science role, of course, I am no expert, there have been several people who helped me steer clear of pitfalls. Also, I was able to transition because of good colleagues and seniors. However this program helped me a great deal in terms of acquiring the knowledge, understanding tools, and having a base set through the formal education you’re receiving.

The best advantage of online programs is that you can sit and study whenever you want. You just have to ensure that you complete it before the deadlines which are pretty strict. There are inhouse programs as well which are really good but it depends on what your bandwidth is, if you can afford 9–10 hours on weekends that’d suffice. Good luck!

How to manage online learning effectively?

Every coin has two faces. On the one hand, when online learning offers flexibility, convenience, the ability to multitask, etc., it also comes with various possible distractions, social isolation, and lack of communication skills. To get finer results from this platform, it is imperative to play it effectively. Treating an online class as an actual physical class would help maintain discipline and dedication throughout the course. Set a reminder within yourself. Unlike a physical class wherein professors and classmates would remind us about the upcoming assignments, online course reminders are limited to emails. Flexibility to attend should not be considered as liberty not to attend. Use and improve your time management skills to be at the brow. When used for classes, the Internet comes with many possible distractions. Eliminating those and keeping yourself focused will enhance the learning.

What made Data Science so famous?

Data is stored for almost everything we do. From pictures on our phones or pictures by satellite of various planets. A massive amount of data is generated daily. This demand for data drives the demand for data science. Through the use of huge data and its analysis, the needs of our daily lives are swiftly addressed. With the help of various formulae and phenomena in data science, decision making, testing of these decisions, defining trends, identifying opportunities, target audience, etc., can be indisputably expedited. The data science field is among one of the highest-paying jobs, the reason being a limited supply of data science professionals compared to its demand causing a hype about its popularity.

How does online learning impact your career?

The perception regarding online learning is still dubious. The conventional viewpoint does not brace online learning while the situation's needs say otherwise. Whether to resort to online learning depends on its demand and value. Many prestigious universities have started following the path of digital learning either directly or through the use of some third-party platform. As per research, 40% of recruiters hold the view that online education is valuable. The study also showed that 58% of employers believe that online education is vital in determining higher remuneration.

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