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Five Questionsfor a Data Science Instructor

Kevin Potcner

Kevin Potcner

Statistical Scientist at JMP/SAS

Kevin Potcner

Kevin Potcner, Statistical Scientist at JMP/SAS

Kevin Potcner is a lead instructor in the Data Science Certificate Program at California State University, Fullerton. We asked Kevin about career paths for Data Science certificate graduates and his thoughts on how to be successful in the online learning environment.


What are some of the benefits of online learning?

Online learning is ideal for those who need the ability to tailor when, where, and how they spend the time required learning and working on assignments. Many of us need to juggle many responsibilities such as career, family, and travel. Online learning provides the perfect flexibility to attend to all those responsibilities.

What is your favorite course in the Data Science program?

The Capstone Course is the students’ favorite, and thus my favorite. It’s where the students have the opportunity to work together as a team applying the various techniques and concepts learned through the program to a real open-ended problem. I’ve heard from students that it's in the Capstone Course where they generate the confidence in their ability that they can go out in the professional world and tackle a real business problem.

How does the Data Science program prepare students for successful careers?

Anywhere there is data, companies are in need of those that can gather, manage, analyze, and interpret that data ultimately to guide decision making. And DATA IS EVERYWHERE! Students in the program will get exposed to many of the concepts, skills and tools businesses are looking for. Students will learn specific statistical techniques used to explore and understand data using myriad computing and software tools. The program teaches students the full range of skills needed to manage and successfully execute a data science project including helping them develop a general understanding and competency in the role that data science plays in today’s business environment.

What are some common career paths for Data Science certificate graduates?

Since data is everywhere, the job opportunities are also everywhere. Almost every industry and company size has opportunities for those competent in the statistical and data sciences. As the tools and techniques are generally applicable to so many different disciplines, the program provides a great way to not only advance your career but to change it entirely. Some job titles explicitly state that data is an essential component of the role such as: Data Scientist, Statistician, Data Engineer, Data Analyst etc. Other jobs require a substantial amount of effort in working with data though their title is more geared toward a specific role in the business such as: Marketing Strategist, Customer Engagement Manager, Quality Engineer, etc. Senior and executive managers are now expected to have a foundation knowledge of data science since data is key to almost all strategy and decision making. Businesses are simply expecting their employees of all levels to have a base level of data literacy regardless of the primary job function. Our Data Science program is a great way for you to advance your career in a way unique for you.

Is there anything else that students should know in order to be successful in the online classroom?

Discipline is key. The flexibility in online learning is what makes it possible for many to engage in this program. It's the discipline that determines your success. Connecting with your classmates and instructor is a great way to stay engaged and current with the work. We have created opportunities for that connection in the program through class discussion-based assignments and instructor office hours. Just as important, however, is that you have fun! Learning is so much easier when you’re inspired and finding joy in the process.



Learn more about Data Science

Five Questions about the Data Science Certificate Program

You can learn more about the Data Science Certificate – including information on dates, cost and registration – on our program page.

Data Science