"I’m surprised by the recentness of the knowledge that I gained"
Marc Pont is an alumnus of the master's programme in Data Science for Decision Making. He sat down to discuss the programme's curriculum and the atmosphere at the department, as well as the job search that followed.
Marc: "In the past, I studied to be a math teacher. The educational system was changing and that didn’t feel right to me, so I quit and investigated what I would like. I planned the whole trajectory: I looked into both bachelor’s and master’s programmes, and at how they could prepare me for the kind of job I wanted. I was very interested in working with decision support systems."
On the curriculum
“I recently started to work as a Decision Support Specialist and Data Scientist at Yunify, an e-Health company. I feel that my studies at DKE prepared me well for that. For many techniques from Machine Learning and AI, you get explanations about how we can make sure they are working well. By thinking so much about things like uncertainty, instability and error values, I learned to be alert at whether I’m doing the right thing. It’s a perfect match for the job I have now.”
“I also appreciated that the professors could point out both business and academic challenges, thus showing the link between corporate reality and my academic training. The communication with teaching staff was extremely open: I always got swift replies to questions, by e-mail or by simply visiting their office.”
“Looking back, I’m surprised by the recentness of the knowledge that I gained. When I’m talking to people in the same field, I noticed I sometimes talk about things they aren’t yet aware of.”
On the atmosphere
“Studying in Maastricht was amazing. When I first came to the Open Day, I immediately got talking with a small group of people about their interests and their background. DKE students are a very open-minded group. It took me little to no effort to connect to others. The diversity in the group makes it easy to talk to people.”
“In the beginning of my studies, I visited a number of events organized by MSV Incognito, DKE’s study association. But I also connected to my fellow students during regular study days. After you spend one or two days working on a common assignment, you quickly realize that you feel comfortable taking on a challenge together as a group.”
DKE students are a very open-minded group.
On finding a job
“The job search was... unexpected? I had a number of strange interviews, such as a spontaneous interview at a barbeque that a CEO happened to attend. There actually is a lot of work available in the area. It can be difficult to find, however, because companies don’t know how to present themselves or what sort of employee they are looking for. Once they realize the skills you have and how those can help the company, employers will go to great lengths to try and hire you.”
“A classical programmer thinks from the perspective of the code they need to write, and shapes the data accordingly. We’ve learned to think using data as a starting point. Because of that, we are much closer to business processes. When companies understand that, they are eager to have us on board.”
Once they realize the skills you have and how those can help the company, employers will go to great lengths to try and hire you.