One hundred Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) students joined the I School community October 22–25 for an on-campus immersion program, an opportunity for our online degree students to gain on-the-ground perspectives from faculty and industry leaders, meet with data science professionals, and soak up more of the I School culture.
Our Fall 2017 MIDS Immersion participants included students from many points in the program, from their first to their final term. They came to the Bay Area from far and wide, including Austin, TX; New York, NY; and more than eight different countries. They span a diverse background of work experience and industries. We hosted a civil engineer, an entrepreneurial wunderkind and a pediatric pulmonologist and gaming enthusiast.
All about Immersion
Day one began with a welcome reception and dinner for students, faculty, and staff in the University Club at California Memorial Stadium. They were welcomed by the Cal Band, and had the chance to enjoy panoramic views of the Bay Area, an insider’s view of the stadium’s Kabam field, a serenade by the University of California Men’s Octet, a visit from Oski, and plenty of Cal spirit!
Day two was dedicated to Data Dialogs: an annual conference with data science experts from academia, industry, and nonprofits in an intimate and stimulating environment. The conference encouraged conversations on issues ranging from new technologies and visualization tools to the policy and ethics of big data. This years highlights included a keynote address from Fernando Pérez the creator of IPython and co-founder of Project Jupyter; Alberto Cairo, on his Visual Trumpery tour; Hoda Eydgahi on the “full stack” data scientists at Stitch Fix; Pulitzer-winning journalist from ProPublica T. Christian Miller; MIDS alum Sharon Lin; MIDS faculty member D. Alex Hughes; and more.
Day three was a grown-up field trip to San Francisco! Following breakfast and a MIDS faculty panel on Deep Learning, students boarded buses for tech company visits across the bay. Students had an opportunity to learn about data science “in the wild” at Dropbox, Workday, Airbnb, and Autodesk. The night ended with a MIDS community meet-up at the Autodesk Gallery (named a top destination by Wired magazine!).
Participants spent the final day on campus with a session on leadership communication, led by UC Berkeley lecturer Doy Charnsupharindr; an I School community lunch; and, finally a town hall with Dean AnnaLee Saxenian all about the MIDS program.
All about MIDS
MIDS prepares students to be data-savvy professionals and managers in both private and nonprofit organizations. It is distinguished by its disciplinary breadth. Unlike existing programs that focus on advanced mathematics and modeling alone, the curriculum provides students with insights from social science and policy research, as well as statistics, computer science, and engineering.
The MIDS class encompasses a diverse mix of background, age, experience, and geography! They range in age from 21 to 60 years old (with the average student at 32 years old), join us from across the US, as well as 15 other countries, and currently include 26% women. They come to the program with an average of 7 years of professional work experience from industries such as computer software, consulting, finance, healthcare, government, and research. Upon graduation, the median salary is $119,000, and graduates are currently applying their skills as a variety of notable organizations, including Airbnb, Deloitte, Amazon, Capital One, Instagram, Nest, and Google. Learn more about the class and MIDS on the program website: datascience@berkeley.