In this post, I will share my personal review of MSc in Machine Learning & AI at upGrad. If you are really in a dilemma that whether to enroll in online degree courses or not? whether these courses help you in the transition to the data science domain? then you should read this post till the end.
About my Professional Experience
Before discussing the course let me tell you about my journey in data science and machine learning. I worked in a public sector bank in India from 2011 to 2020 and I have joined the bank as a software engineer also known as Specialist Officer or IT Officer in India. For the first four years, I worked in developing software modules, web design, and handling of databases. From 2015, I was involved in database management, designing databases, writing complex and optimized queries, etc. After working in database domains for around 1-year emergence of big data analytics arises as the amount of data in databases increased abruptly in many applications and it was really tough to handle such a huge amount of data using traditional database management tools. So, I researched big data analytics and completed some of the big data courses related to Hadoop, spark, pig, etc. in the IBM cognitive science platform which provides free courses with certificates in the big data domain. During this phase, I also came to know some of the concepts in machine learning and the deep learning domain and I planned to use machine learning for predictive analytics in one of the applications in our bank. But for that, I need to understand the basics of machine learning and deep learning in detail.
My Journey of ML & AI
I have started my learning in machine learning domain by enrolling in different courses in online platforms but no course has given me in-depth understanding of basics of machine learning. So that time I was very depressed in terms of learning experience because every other course was giving tone of information and hands-on but not in any organized manner.
Acquaintance with upGrad
In 2019, I came to know about upGrad courses and their online degree in machine learning but I was not sure whether it will also work or not as my experience of online courses was not satisfactory. Apart from that there were also many online platforms and companies were claiming to give online degrees in machine learning which created lots of confusion and dilemma about which course to choose because I was seriously looking for such a course which not only give information and hands-on but also guide me in building my career path in the data science domain. Around the middle of the year 2019, I came to know that one of my college friend who was working in a multinational bank enrolled in MSC in AI and ML through upGrad, this increased my curiosity to know about the course, quality of teaching, and how he was managing the study along with his regular work schedule. After communicating with him, I feel very much inclined towards this course as he said everything positive about this course but still, I had some doubts. So, I visited upGrad website and explore the course structure, degree and about their faculties and the most appealing thing which I really liked in it was their degree, the degree which they were offering was direct from the university which is equivalent to a regular offline degree and this program consists of dual degree i.e., 11 months PGD from IIIT Bangalore and 7 months Msc from Liverpool John Moore’s University, U.K. So if you really want to build your profile by tagging a foreign university degree then you can surely go for this course.
Final Decision to Enroll in Msc in ML & AI
After lots of research and exploration, I contacted with upGrad’s admission counselor who answered all my doubts and I finally decided to enroll in MSc in AI & ML program. My course started in October 2019. For getting admission to the program I have given an online test comprised of python programming questions and aptitude-related MCQs to check your general aptitude and programming skills. The test was average not too tough nor too easy.
After clearing the exam, the session was started with preparatory modules which consist of basic python programming, statistics, pandas, and data wrangling modules taught by faculties of IIIT Bangalore. After completing preparatory modules my confidence also deepens in the program because of the quality of teaching with a unique way of presentation, video lecture, quizzes, and in-video questions.
Different Components of the Program
Below in the post, I will discuss different components of the program along with my experience.
a) Fees Structure:
The fee for any degree program in Upgrad is high but remember it’s not a regular online course it’s a real degree program from reputed colleges of India and abroad and according to its quality and placement assistance, it’s worth it.
b) Learning Platform:
The learning platform is very important in any online program because you have to study the course in the platform only and if its not well structured, organized and user friendly you will not be comfortable in completing the course. My personal experience with the platform is quite fascinating.
They provide the learners with different types of badges based on different tasks which encourages learners on the way to learning. The faculties are mostly active and very quick in solving doubts in the discussion forum. Apart from that their discussion forum is open means any learner can post their doubts and any one of them can answer it. The platform contains the recorded lectures which works well for working professionals as they can study anytime after their working hours or in weekends.
c) Course Content
The course content is delivered by one of the reputed universities of the country, IIIT-Bangalore, and Liverpool John Moore’s University, U.K. The course content is well organized and structured and some of the practical sessionals are also delivered by collaborated industry professionals of reputed companies such as Flipkart, Amazon, Gramener etc. This part of the program is very effective because in that way we understand how the companies are using different technologies currently.
The program content has practice questions, coding questions, quizzes in between the modules, and graded questions for finally passing the modules.
Every module has a deadline date to complete the module on time else your marks will get reduced in terms of penalty which is in my point of view is the best part as this will teach you how to manage your time effectively and efficiently.
I can say that UpGrad, IIITB and LJMU have done a great job of organizing the content in such a systematic and structured way.
d) Assignments/Case Studies
This is the most important part of this program. The assignments help to understand and apply theoretical knowledge in building real-world industry projects. But in my point of view, Case Studies have an edge over assignment the reason for this is that case studies are projects that are to be completed in a team or group of learners. By working in collaboration with others really help you in developing your ability to work in a team. The best part is that case study marks are divided into project submissions and viva interviews with industrial experts. The viva interview with industrial experts is a game-changer as it gets the feeling of a real project to an offline degree. The industrial experts ask the approach you have used in solving the project and what’s the business objective you have solved.
g) Live Sessions/Coaching/Industry Experts
In this program, they provide one coach for particularly 10-15 learners as a group so that learners don’t hesitate much to communicate during the class, also the coaches are well placed on top industries in order to get the idea about how the course is used in the industry and how you can focus on the content accordingly. This is held once every 2 weeks (like Saturday or Sunday), this is really very well to clear your doubts on time and regularly. This goes around one and a half hours of coaching.
Also, there will be some sessions regarding guidelines about the case studies and assignments which help the learners to stay on track while working on them with respect to domain knowledge. This one has a duration of 2 hours session. Apart from that, there is a 2-hour revision session before the final exam so that you will revise all the course content and get a general idea that you have learned previously.
h) Final Exams/Scores Evaluation
This is the core of this program and its really challenging one !
There are graded questions in the modules provided, assignments and case studies have the highest weightage of marks, engagement in discussion forum also has some importance, and your final exam has important weightage in the final marks.
The final term exams held thrice throughout the program. These exams are basically designed and conducted by IIITB, so it’s not an easy task to pass. The questions consist of moderate to a higher level which needs your focus and clear understanding of the concept.
All the scores including graded questions, assignments, group case studies, peer-to-peer interactions, and then the final exam marks are published on the platform which only you can see. Apart from that these individual components finally lead to your CGPA which is calculated out of 4 points. Finally, the overall CGPA is displayed when all the sub-evaluation is done. This whole journey will give you the feeling that you are doing an offline degree.
I really hats off the effort here by UpGrad and IIITB.
k) Student Mentors
Apart from this all, you will be assigned to a student mentor which will handle all non-technical issues. This is also the best part of this course as it is really important because when you have some issues you need some official person who can answer your doubts and helps you in the entire journey. Apart from that, there are career mentors too who will guide you in building your path in your chosen domain which is the USP of this program. In my case, my career mentor really helped me in shaping my profile, resume and also helped me in cracking interviews.
l) Placement Assistance
The main curiosity you have while enrolling in any course is that what type of placement assistance is there in the course. And I must say in this part too UPGRAD leads against its competitors. Upgrad’s efforts in this component is phenomenal, they provide linkedin profile building sessions, resume building sessions, workshops on interview preparation all free of cost with the course. Apart from that, I got more than 10 interview calls in some of the good companies as well as startups arranged by Upgrad’s placement manager. So, I must say what else you want ?
So, this was my experience with the course and I have tried to highlight each and every point which is important for you to understand before enrolling in the course.
In the end, I must say if you really want to make your career in ML and AI domain then this is the recommended course for you !!!!
I hope this post will help you in deciding whether to enroll in the course or not.
Applicable discounts in the program
If you are planning to enroll in this course or any other degree courses at Upgrad, you can share my referral code for getting the maximum discount possible on the course. For getting the referral code you have to mail me your name, email address, contact number, and the course name which you want to enroll for with the subject upGrad referral on [email protected]
Happy Learning All the Best !!!