Sam Johnson

Former MSc Data Science student Sam Johnson gives his views on the course and life at Lancaster University.

What did you do before coming here?

I’m originally from Preston and have lived in this region all my life. I ran my own company specialising in IT sales and support for small to medium enterprises for several years.

Why did you decide to come on this course?

I saw a downturn in sales and repairs as more companies moved from having their own IT infrastructure to making use of remote services. I realised that the future value of IT systems was in data rather than hardware and saw this MSc as being a way of building my skills in this area. I also saw the course as providing me with the skills necessary to build a career in cloud-based computing.

Why did you choose this course rather than others?

Lancaster University has an excellent reputation for teaching and research and I believed that obtaining an MSc from the University would greatly enhance my CV. The Data Science MSc appealed to me as it gives access to a range of cutting-edge technical skills and also provides access to the mathematical skills necessary to draw reliable conclusions from data. I was also impressed by the inclusion of opportunities to develop soft skills and the inclusion of an industry Data Science placement.

What will you do after the MSc?

I am considering a PhD in the application of Data Science to Cybersecurity or perhaps an industry role in this area.

What are the best things about this course?

I’ve found the course to be very well managed and run and it covers very interesting material. I’ve enjoyed the practical aspects of the course, particularly the opportunity to perform data mining on real-world data sets and report conclusions back to sponsoring companies.

What placement will you be performing?

I will be spending 3 months with Fujitsu’s Security Computing Centre working on the analysis of cybersecurity data. The project aims at enhancing the early detection of cyberattacks through the rapid analysis and correlation of multiple data sources.

What do you hope to get from the placement?

I’m hoping for the opportunity to use the skills that I have developed on the course in a real-world environment and to developing a data science solution that provides real value. I’m looking forward to working in a commercial project team, learning from trained professionals and, hopefully, gaining the opportunity for further work with Fujitsu after the placement concludes.