Data Science Masters

November 21, 2019

Student Profile: Andréia Sodré Nichols    

Name: Andréia Sodré Nichols           

Job Title: Data Scientist

Company: Microsoft

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I currently work as a Data Scientist at Microsoft. I’m originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I moved to the U.S. four years ago. I have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Administration, focusing on behavior and decision making. I like using data to understand consumer behavior, so transitioning to Data Science felt very natural.

Why did you choose the M.S. in Data Science program at the UW?

I chose the MSDS program at the UW because it allows me to study while having a full-time job and it has a very strong curriculum in statistics, which is the area I’m most interested in improving my skills.

There is this concept of “antifragility” from Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which states that something is antifragile (the opposite of fragile) if it improves when exposed to shock or stressors. I believe this program will help increase my career antifragility.

You are halfway through your first quarter in the program. What has it been like so far?

Challenging and exciting! I’m currently taking Data556: Introduction to Statistics and Probability. We have covered a lot of topics already and homework requires a lot of work. I spend more time doing homework than in the classroom (the recommended 10-15 hours/week of self-study is an accurate estimate). We also have guest speakers every week and I have enjoyed learning from their experiences.

Can you talk about balancing grad school, a full-time job and your personal life as a part-time student?

Balance is hard! I struggled at the start of my first quarter but now I’m finding my balance. It’s all about setting priorities (which can shift from week to week) and taking care of your health. I use my weekends to get my life back on track and catch up. My personal life is the area that suffers the most, but I have a very supportive husband and I try to keep him involved as much as possible. I also try to make time to see my friends a few times a month. My main strategy right now is time-tracking, so I can get more insight into how I’m actually spending my time.

Do you have any tips for future part-time students?

Get good at time management, be kind to yourself, have a growth mindset and remember why you are doing this (actually write it down).