10 Questions to Ask Yourself when Considering a Continuing Education Program

Tips for Deciding between Project, Graduate school, Bootcamp or Fellowship to help you Land your Next Role

Originally published in April 2020 and has been updated in June, 2020, September 2020, April 2021, May 2023 and January 2024 for relevancy.

After graduation, I wanted to continue working with NASA JPL; I got my PhD in Statistics from UCLA. In the process, I learned: 

which are great skills to for working in industry, especially in tech. But is it the right path for you? 

I'm often asked for recommendations for the best programs for continuing education, such as graduate programs (Masters or Ph.D.), bootcamps or fellowships. My answer* is always: "it depends"... it depends on many, many factors and opportunity costs. 

TL;DR: To help you decide, start with the end goal in mind of what you want to do after you get your degree/certification and work backwards from there.

To help you better decide if you should work on a side project, or go to graduate school/bootcamp/fellowship and if a given program is the right fit, if/when you're considering going back to school, I recommend that you ask yourself the following questions:

Hope this helps! If at the end of this thought exercise you decide that graduate school is not (yet) for you, no worries! Here's more advice on what to try instead to become more marketable in the space:

Good luck!

Keywords: Graduate school, Data Science careers

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* Irina is an advisory board member at UCLA's Masters of Applied Statistics (MAS) Program and developed and taught a graduate course for UCLA Statistics for business and software development best practices for real-time analytics/ML/AI in production