Georgia Tech’s online Masters in Analytics (OMSA) has been getting a lot of buzz lately (no pun intended).
In May of 2022, I graduated from Georgia Tech’s Online Analytics Program (OMSA) with a GPA of around 3.5.
Here’s me with my degree! (and my GT sweater)
In this blog post, I’ll share my real experiences with the program – both the good and the bad.
While there is a ton more below, the tdlr is that Georgia Tech’s Online Master’s of Analytics was career-changing and worth every penny I invested into that degree.
A Little About Me
I attended OMSA from 2020-2022, right after finishing my degree in industrial engineering from The University of Central Florida (I didn’t even take a break!!).
I applied while doing an internship program at a company called Lockheed Martin, where I was playing around with analytics and some coding.
I still remember getting that Georgia Tech acceptance email.
Read more about my background here.
Why I Went To Georgia Tech And Did A Masters In Analytics (OMSA)
There were three primary reasons I chose to attend Georgia Tech for my master’s in analytics.
Georgia Tech’s brand name carries a lot of weight in any STEM-related discipline, and data science and machine learning are no different.
When employers see that you’ve graduated from Georgia Tech, they know you’ve been rigorously trained by some of the best professors in the world.
Georgia Tech has strong industry and academic partnerships, and at the time of applying, I had yet to decide if I wanted to continue and get my Ph.D. (Spoiler: I decided not to get a Ph.D.).
Secondly, and this is probably one of the reasons you’re reading this, I had difficulty getting interviews for data science roles.
I had applied to HUNDREDS of jobs but wasn’t getting any bites.
I decided that a Masters’s degree would give me the extra boost I needed to stand out from the competition.
(I got an interview and job offer in my first semester at Georgia Tech).
Lastly, I only had a little money after graduating from college.
Georgia Tech’s relatively low tuition prices made it an affordable and obvious option for me.
My Experience At Georgia Tech Doing A Masters In Analytics
To break down my experiences, I’ll go over what I loved, what I thought could have been better, and what I didn’t like.
What I loved
Seriously, with how the classes were set up, you could do your homework, tests, and lectures any time of the day.
Since everything is recorded and video-based, you do this masters when you want, on your time.
Being a night owl, this was great for me, as it allowed me to watch a couple of lectures before bed or take a test at 1:00 in the morning.
One of my biggest complaints during undergrad was attending a lecture (nobody wanted to participate in) at 8:00 AM!!
Secondly, you could pick multiple paths within the degree with different difficulty levels.
I did the computational data analytics path, which was known to be the hardest.
Finally, the school spirit and the pedigree of the other students.
There was just something inside Georgia Tech that was kind of… inspiring?
Being around some of the brightest minds motivated me every single day to be a bit better.
In nearly every lecture, professors spoke about how lucky everyone was to be here learning with some of the brightest minds in the world.
What Could Have Been Better
I often found the lecture materials to be outdated and not particularly helpful.
By the end of my degree, I relied heavily on YouTube for educational content.
It can be challenging to keep up with the latest trends in any field, but it would have been helpful if the lectures had been more current and less math-heavy.
Many lectures felt slightly dry and unengaging.
It would have helped if some of the classes were more code based instead of power points.
Overall, I wasn’t thrilled with the quality of the lecture materials and found myself turning to other sources for information most of the time.
What I Disliked
When I started at Georgia Tech, I was excited to learn about the different theories and concepts behind analytics and data science.
While they hammered those topics (to the ground), I quickly realized there needed more emphasis on practical applications.
For example, we spent a lot of time learning about algorithms and statistical applications but only a little time implementing them.
As a result, when working as a full-time data scientist, there needed to be more clarity between what I learned and what I was doing.
Also, I was surprised that there wasn’t more emphasis on MLOPS and data pipelines.
These are essential skills for many analytical jobs, but they were barely mentioned in my classes.
Overall, I loved learning at Georgia Tech, but I wish there had been more focus on practical applications and MLOPS (Machine Learning Operations).
Why I Picked OMSA over OMSCS at Georgia Tech
I picked OMSA over OMSCS (Online Masters of Computer Science) because… I made the wrong choice.
While everything worked out, the analytics degree lacked computing fundamentals, which are the core of most higher-end data science and machine learning jobs.
The market agrees; OMSA’s graduation salary in 2021 was around $103,835 (Source), while OMSCS has a 2021 median salary of about $120,000+.
If I could go back, I’d choose OMSCS over OMSA, as my goal was to be a machine learning engineer emphasizing production infrastructure.
I just self-taught myself servers and MLOPS, and I’m doing fine today.
If my end goal was to work purely in statistics as a data scientist or data analyst, I think the analytics master’s would have been perfect.
Is Georgia Tech’s Online Masters In Analytics Worth Your Time And Money?
Georgia Techs Online Masters In Analytics Is worth every single penny I spent.
Not only did it give me a career change after just one semester, but it also elevated my career to new heights.
I did the program while working full-time, taking two classes a semester and finishing in two years.
The degree paid off way before graduation, and with a $10,000 price tag (that your employer will probably pay for), I wonder why everyone isn’t trying to get in.
Tips For Starting Georgia Techs Online Masters In Analytics
- Join the slack group.
- Go to office hours if you don’t understand concepts (or use YouTube).
- Extend code from projects (like a web app) for pseudo work experience (put on resume).
- Don’t take simulation or the database class over the summer……
- Take two classes a semester. Yes, it’s a lot of work, and yes, it’s worth it.
My Stats When Applying To Georgia Tech Online Master in Analytics
- 3.5 Industrial Engineering GPA
- 2 Year Co-Op at Fortune 500 Company
Yeah, that’s it.
I was in my final semester of undergrad when I was applying, so all I had was my internship and my GPA.
Luckily, Georgia Tech decided to give me a chance, and I didn’t waste it.
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