Online learning has proven to be a great option for today’s multi-tasking students, especially those that need a more accessible, flexible, and affordable way to earn their degrees. Online education is also widely endorsed by faculty. In fact, nearly half the educators surveyed for a 21st Century Campus Report shared that quality distance and virtual learning courses are essential in today’s higher education arena.

The CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS), one of the top providers of online degree and certificate programs in the nation, offers programs that meet the needs of adults who are looking for a seamless way to finish or transition into a bachelor’s degree, earn a master’s degree or certificate in a specialized field, advance in the workplace, or change careers.

CUNY SPS recently asked their students to share the stories of their educational experiences. For anyone working to leverage a current career, Youqing Xiang is a great example of someone who knows how to parlay existing business knowledge into more marketable skills for career advancement. Here, she shares her experience about pursuing a master’s degree.

 

Meet Youqing Xiang

 

From the Markets to a Master’s

I have been actively involved in the stock market and managing my own investment accounts for ten years. I read all kinds of numbers, but I mainly rely on my intuition to make crucial decisions. I’ve learned that emotions can conflict with intuition, which may cause problems, especially in the middle of a volatile market. That’s why my goal is to bring more math and computer science strategies and techniques into stock analysis, and the initial reason why I chose the MS in Data Analytics online degree program at CUNY SPS.

Before I joined the Data Analytics program, I spent one semester taking two online undergraduate courses at CUNY SPS and had a very positive experience. In addition, I am a stay-at-home mom and need to take care of my son. So, when I decided to apply for a master’s degree program in data analytics, I only considered quality online schools with low tuition. CUNY SPS was the only school I found that covered these two crucial requirements and I luckily got into the program.

Online Learning Fits into My Busy Life

Online learning was a totally new and exciting experience for me. First, the course schedules are very flexible and convenient because you never have to be in a specific place at a specific time for class. All study materials are on Blackboard, including videos, links, files, etc. Even live meetings are available on Blackboard shortly after they’re recorded. I never have to worry about missing classes and I am able to study based on my own schedule.

Second, I have a lot of opportunities to interact intellectually with my classmates, which was the biggest surprise for me. If I ask questions on Blackboard, there is always a good chance that one of my fellow classmates will answer, even before the professors jump in. We work on projects and collaborate as a group, which is very similar to the traditional classroom experience and the online courses are still as challenging as an on-campus course. 

Classes That Fit My Schedule and Furthered My Knowledge

I have enjoyed all the classes I’ve taken so far. Every class is unique and I learn different skills from each one. However, if I had to choose, I would say that DATA 605 (Fundamentals of Computational Mathematics) and DATA 606 (Statistics and Probability for Data Analytics) are my favorite courses because they taught me math and statistics from a programming perspective, which made the topics more interesting and easier to learn.

We work on all kinds of projects in class and, for most of the classes, we have the opportunity to do a final project based on our own interests and ideas. Last semester, I did Twitter (TWTR) stock analysis as my final project. After that project, I realized how much I learned from the program and how the knowledge/skills I gained changed the way I look at the stock market. In fact, I would tell any entering data analytics student that programming skills are very important. And the free workshops in the Bridge Program really helped me prepare for the degree.

After CUNY SPS I Am Ready for My Future

I learned that there are four key success factors for a data analyst: computer programming and mathematical skills, domain knowledge, communication, and teamwork. CUNY SPS has prepared me in all of these areas. I am very interested in stock analysis and I am hoping to become a stock analyst in the near future.

 

For more information on enrolling at CUNY SPS and read other inspiring stories from CUNY SPS students, click here