How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
My name is John Gordon. My story is originally from Pennsylvania. I served the military for twelve years. Near the end of my military career, I got a lot of computer training, ended up as a system administrator. And, I studied computer science at Weaver State University. When I got out of the military. After that, I started consulting with some Non-profit organizations in Salt Lake City. I also worked with some government agencies and some commercial businesses. I've been in the industry for thirty years. Pretty much everything that I've done has been related to data in some way. I have been a database administrator and, a developer and data analyst, which is largely what I do today, senior data analyst with a national property management company. The MSBA program is kind of a logical progression of work that I've done and looking forward to applying the skills that I am learning there in my future work as well.

What were various specializations and courses in your curriculum? Which specialization and courses were your favorites and why? What was the average time per week that you spent in classes, in doing assignments and exam preparations?

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
for : Master of Science - MS, Business Analytics, University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
The courses in the MSBA program are kind of heavily weighted in data analysis, modeling and statistics. We have used R programming language in projects so far. I mean, I'm in my first semester, so, so far, that's what we've been working with. Interesting thing, one of the things that i really like is that they used data camp as kind of a filler for any areas that you might feel some weakness in. I've worked with R before, but not at the depths, especially on statistical areas that we use it in the classes. So the data camp course, in conjunction with the course work has been very useful. With my development background, I am particularly interested in using R to conduct data analysis and to see you know what, what I can use that for and the new algorithms that I'm learning us well. The time commitment, I guess, for a full time student, would be about ten hours of week in class. And of course, general would be to double that time for your studying and preparing projects and for tests and such. I think that the tests and the projects so far been very fair and very informative and interesting and match up with the coursework and the goals of the courses that I've been in so far.

What prompted you to pick this program? What other programs or Universities did you consider? What did you like about the program?

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
for : Master of Science - MS, Business Analytics, University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
I enrolled in the MSBA program at the University of Utah for a number of reasons. One of the things that I did was to review the research interests of the faculty, some of the backgrounds they have. I'm also interested in attending primarily in-class. There's a lot of online programs available today and and while those are very beneficial, my personal preference is to be in a classroom, being able to interact with the professors and the other students. And so and I'm finding that to be very helpful, coming back to school, you know, after being out for a while. I also like the fact that the University of Utah Business School is very supportive of veteran students. As a veteran, you know, there's experience that we have in the University of Utah. It has great veteran support center and the business school has veteran ambassador. It is the role that I'm filling right now as well. I did look at other schools, and I'm largely committed to being in Utah so pretty much all the other schools would have been online and while many of them are very, very good, and you can find very easily. Find a list of those, it's a couple of simple searches. I did find that University of Utah's program is rated in the top ten in the country. And so that was a very important thing for me as well. Because it demonstrates that even though it's a fairly young program, they're making great progress and building a really good curriculum.

What major challenges did you face in this program? Can you discuss some accomplishments, some challenges that you overcame and felt proud of?

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
for : Master of Science - MS, Business Analytics, University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
Major challenges for me, I'd say the largest one is the math. The math requirements are statistics, some of your algebra. I have not had a math class in twenty years, probably. So I've had to do some additional work to, you know, strengthen that part of my knowledge over the summer,prior to starting the program, I took an online statistics course, which helped. Frankly, I wish I had done a little more of that and a little deeper into some of the other math needed for some of the analytics, but as I go along, I think, being able to keep up with the courses and do some extra study is what I'm most proud of. Because I'm, you know, I don't feel like I'm falling behind or anything. I like the fact that the structure of the curriculum is such that some of the courses overlap and others, you finish, a five week course or ten week course. So far it hasn't felt overwhelming even with you know what i would call a weakness in math, preparedness for it. But I think you know it's something that you can, keep on top of, during the course.

What was the quality of program faculty? How available were the professors in your program?

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
for : Master of Science - MS, Business Analytics, University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
The faculty at the Eccles business school, are fantastic to work with. All of them that I have interacted with so far have been very willing to help, answer questions, they stay as long as people have questions when a class ends every time. I do think it's important that graduate students realize that this is different than being an undergraduate. There is an expectation that you'll be prepared and to keep in mind also that the faculty have, you know, one hundred students, or a fairly large number of students, and so it's important to communicate not only with faculty but your fellow students. A lot of the work that we do is in teams, and so we we get to interact with other students who are in various career areas, and the level of intellect is really quite fantastic. And I've actually gone and spoken with professors one on one, talk to them about not only the class, but the career and the IT field and all that. And it's been a great experience, which is a huge part of being in a program like this.

How did the program prepare you for your career? Think about career fairs, networking events, resume & interview help, classes and alumni support.

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
for : Master of Science - MS, Business Analytics, University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
Since I'm in the program currently, I can't really say what the impact has been on my career so far. But with my experience in the IT field, I feel like everything that I'm learning, everything in the curriculum will be applicable, to my work. It'll also give me new areas in which to focus beyond what I have already done. And I think that the classes and there are other events and there's a tech club in the business school. There's job fairs and info sessions, that even though you're already in the program, that you can attend and interact with other students. And so all of these things, along with there's, also a capstone three semester series that helps you work on your resume. And all of the elements that you might need help with finding a job, in applying these skills in a position in the industry.

What was the approximate cost per semester that you pay? What ways did you acquire a funding or scholarship or grant, if any?

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
for : Master of Science - MS, Business Analytics, University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
So, as for fees, I'm a resident of the state of Utah, so i pay in-state tuition. Schedule fees is on University of Utah website, which is easy to search for the tuition schedules. So it is kind of dependent on where you're coming from. If you're from out of state or international student, there're all different prices. And with regards to scholarships, there are scholarships available through the university, through the School of Business. I received a merit scholarship, and also I am a graduate assistant, and my position is a veteran ambassador for the School of Business, which also has a scholarship attached to it as well.

What kind of jobs, companies and salaries students typically get after they graduate from your program?

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
for : Master of Science - MS, Business Analytics, University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
Data analytics is a growing field and all through business. A lot of people think about companies like Facebook or Google and like those are the big names that we all hear about and there are certainly jobs available in those places. One of things I think that people should keep in mind is that even not so well known companies, smaller companies, even large ones, you may not think that they need data analytics, but everything from retail to nonprofit organizations do. Now I work at a property management company, a lot of people would probably not expect, data analytics to be a big deal, but that company has, we have an IT department of about eighty five people. There's a data science group, completely separate, there's also data analytics reporting and visualization team. And the salaries are really quite good. In our capstone discussions in the program so far, I've heard the average salaries of seventy thousand dollars a year, and I've seen and, I'm aware of salaries larger than that in the industry with these skills. So I think that, you know, the pay is very good and it's important to remember that, you know, the companies that exist out there that need the skills are growing all the time. And it may be very worthwhile to look at companies that you might not expect that need those skills and you can find some pretty solid, well paying jobs in all sorts of industries.

What strategies helped you get into this program? What exams and kind of scores are needed? What things did you highlight in your application package or interview responses?

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
for : Master of Science - MS, Business Analytics, University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
Strategies for getting into the program. I remember talking with the program coordinator very early on, and a piece of advice that he gave me was to be yourself. In addition to your, your resume and transcripts of your undergraduate work and those kind of things, I think where you can shine the most is in the essays. A couple of essays that you write based in our program and there's also a video essay. I found that being very open, honest and detailed about my background and and my goals for the future were very helpful, and highlighting the skills that I feel that I already have and the skills that I'm looking for from the program. And I think that was a very good advice, because one of the things that helps is when you're honest and personable, , people respond to that. And as I said earlier, that this program is very centered around teamwork and project work with other students, and so that's an element that no credits as is expected. I think a lot of times we think of applications for a graduate school program or something is supposed to be very formal. But it's a very personable group of people that I'm in school with, , even professors and the staff. And so, that was a really good advice and I think that that helped a lot.

What are the responsibilities and decisions that you handle at work? What are your working hours like?

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
for : Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
I'm a senior data analyst, just a little bit of a nebulous term to some degree. I manage a team of database professionals and we do data migrations and develop methods of translating data into insights. I'm very fortunate with the company that I work with, they're very supportive of continued education. So I've been able to shift my hours. I work a forty hour week, but I'm able to shift my hours a little bit, to help with this process of going through school. The program is all in the evenings, but I am able to leave a little bit early and be able to get some study time, in working as a Graduate Assistant. And that's been very helpful.

What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) do you use at work? Do you prefer certain tools more than the others? Why?

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
for : Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
We use Microsoft products largely throughout the organization. We use SQL servers or database back end, which includes immigration services and analysis services, reporting services, the tools that are built into the SQL server enterprise package. We use Visual Studio and C#, R, Python, Power BI and Tableau for visualizations. All the tools have pros and cons. There's things that R gives us that were more difficult in C#, for example. I don't know that i would say that I have a favorite, it's like a toolbox, each task and job needs, something different. So if I need to do statistical work, I'm probably going to go into R. If I have to build an ETL pipeline, I'm working in SSIS, which is the SQL Server Integration Services. So it's really dependent on the on the task at hand.

What was the hiring process like for your job? What were the roles of people who interviewed you? What questions were asked and how did you answer them?

Asked by Jeff Musk

John Gordon

Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
English, Literature & Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts - BA, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
for : Data Analyst / Database Developer / IT & Business Consultant, Self-Employed
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 17 2018
The hiring process for my particular position, was maybe a little unorthodox. I started with the company as a consultant. I worked for about six months in a consulting role. So the discussions about doing the project work was largely surrounding the actual tasks that they needed done. Not so much an interview, like a traditional interview for a W2 kind of job. But the people that were involved in that were the vice president of technology, some of the managers involved in the areas in which they needed work done. The questions were largely about my experience and my ability to handle the tasks that they had, you know, a need for that time, which included some white board, case study kind of things. They asked specific questions about my knowledge of some of the tools they use, the Microsoft Suite products, SQL servers, those kind of things. And the answers were just on honest, based on my experience. And i think that that works well, because, if you do get hired, whether as a consultant or as an employee, it's pretty quick to determine when someone is struggling with something. And one of the things that for me personally was important was the environment, the environment which I was going to work in and the people that were involved. Because in my experience, that's on a day to day basis what kind of makes it or breaks it for me and so that worked out really well in my case.

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