Saint Mary’s Univer­sity Science

He may be leav­ing school for the tech sec­tor, but Dinesh Kumar Govindaraj will al­ways be a proud SMU­dent

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In the same way that world economies once ran on gold and oil, Dinesh Kumar Govindaraj ex­plains that data has be­come the most valu­able re­source of the In­for­ma­tion Age.

“Data science, com­put­ing power and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence turn raw data into valu­able in­sights that mod­ern or­ga­ni­za­tions need,” says Govindaraj about the rea­son he de­cided to un­der­take a mas­ter’s de­gree in data science.

Ex­cel­lent stu­dent/fac­ulty ra­tios, achieve­ments in data con­tests, flex­i­ble sched­ules and in­struc­tors who are in­dus­try ex­perts are only some of the rea­sons why Govindaraj chose to pur­sue a Mas­ter of Science in Com­put­ing and Data An­a­lyt­ics at Saint Mary’s Univer­sity.

Govindaraj knew he wanted to move to Canada from In­dia for its wel­com­ing na­ture and safe and se­cure en­vi­ron­ment. The Saint Mary’s pro­gram was a top con­tender when he searched for pro­grams in the field, and he says it has been the best de­ci­sion he has ever made in his life.

“The op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence in­clu­sive learn­ing and to study with highly ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als is a dream for any techie,” he says. “The MSc CDA pro­gram el­e­vates your data science knowl­edge and pro­vides op­por­tu­nity for pro­fes­sional ac­com­plish­ment. Our ex­po­sure to tech­nol­ogy is in­valu­able.”

Govindaraj’s grad­u­ate pro­gram is a 16-month pro­fes­sional pro­gram de­signed to meet the com­plex chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with Big Data. It com­bines es­sen­tial as­pects of com­put­ing and data an­a­lyt­ics: soft­ware de­sign, de­vel­op­ment, cus­tomiza­tion and man­age­ment; along with an­a­lyt­ics and busi­ness in­tel­li­gence. The pro­gram pre­pares stu­dents for re­ward­ing ca­reers in the data science in­dus­try through ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and in­dus­try in­ter­ac­tion.

The pro­gram didn’t come with­out its chal­lenges for Govindaraj.

“Win­ter in Hal­i­fax!” he laughs, hav­ing started the pro­gram in Jan­uary. “Jokes aside, the big­gest chal­lenge was to keep my­self fo­cused on learn­ing cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies day in and out, while man­ag­ing in­tern­ship and course works,” he says.

Highly pro­fes­sional in­struc­tors and tu­tors and the flex­i­ble learn­ing sched­ule helped Govindaraj meet his chal­lenges head on, and he’s cur­rently giv­ing back as an aca­demic men­tor to MSc CDA stu­dents. Govindaraj is grate­ful to his men­tor, Dr. Pawan Lin­gras, Saint Mary’s MSc CDA pro­gram di­rec­tor.

“The way he mo­ti­vates stu­dents, his re­mark­able ca­reer, and his com­mit­ment, pro­fes­sion­al­ism and care he shows for ev­ery stu­dent has greatly in­flu­enced me, and I am still learn­ing from him,” Govindaraj says.

Govindaraj is pleased with the way the ex­pe­ri­ence he gained has opened doors in his ca­reer.

“It checked off all the boxes both aca­dem­i­cally and pro­fes­sion­ally, and helped me land a data science in­tern­ship—and ul­ti­mately a full-time po­si­tion—with HomeEXCEPT.

“The ca­reer guid­ance, lead­er­ship con­nec­tions and in­dus­try part­ner meet-ups in the pro­gram brought out the best in me,” he says.

Govindaraj’s pas­sion for data science and the wel­com­ing com­mu­nity at Saint Mary’s Univer­sity made him a “SMU­dent” first, and a data sci­en­tist sec­ond.

“The pro­gram pro­vides op­por­tu­nity for pro­fes­sional ac­com­plish­ment. Our ex­po­sure to tech­nol­ogy is in­valu­able. —Dinesh Kumar Govindaraj

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