Alumni profile: Trang Quynh Phan
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With a passion for technology and a drive to unravel the hidden insights within data, La Trobe University alumni Trang Quynh Phan’s career journey has taken her around the world and ultimately led her to become a senior data analyst at one of Australia’s leading telecommunications companies. Trang graduated in 2022 with a Master’s in Artificial Intelligence from La Trobe, where she honed her skills and acquired the knowledge necessary to thrive in the evolving data science field.
Why La Trobe University Online?
Trang’s path to data science was a natural progression, having spent eight years in the IT industry, six of which were dedicated to data-related projects such as data warehousing, visualisation and data mining. Her interest in the field stemmed from a desire to harness the latest technology to derive valuable insights.
When asked why she specifically chose La Trobe’s Master of Artificial Intelligence program, Trang said it was the subjects available that were the biggest deciding factor.
‘I had been looking at the curriculum in a few universities and the curriculum at La Trobe is different because it offers deep learning, natural language processing and computer vision subjects, which do not appear in many other curriculums. Additionally, the program is focused on the labs, and I hoped to get a lot of hands-on experience in both the programming and the technology,’ Trang said.
What do you learn with a degree in artificial intelligence?
Trang found the program’s emphasis on labs to be particularly rigorous and valuable, investing more time in the practical aspects of the coursework than the traditional lecture-based sessions.
Trang said the program equipped her with a strong foundation in natural language processing (NLP), deep learning and computer vision, along with essential programming skills. These skills not only played a significant role in her job interviews but seamlessly translated into her current role as a senior data analyst. Although she has only recently started her new job, Trang eagerly looked forward to applying her acquired knowledge and skills to make a significant impact within the company.
One of the strengths of La Trobe’s Master of Artificial Intelligence program lies in its ability to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities in the field of AI. Trang acknowledged the program’s relevance in what is a fast-moving field.
‘Because I just graduated last year, I was taught [using] the latest technology at the time. It gave me the foundation to pick up and to understand new technologies later,’ Trang said.
She highlighted machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing as the key areas that she found most applicable to her career. Moreover, the program instilled in Trang a broader perspective on the ethical and societal implications of AI in the context of data science and business analysis. Through a dedicated subject on the topic, she gained a better understanding of the need to exercise caution when implementing AI solutions. While acknowledging the value of learning from lectures, she expressed the importance of real-life examples and experiences to fully comprehend the ethical and social aspects that arise in a person’s professional journey, particularly when working with emerging technology like AI.
Why choose an artificial intelligence degree?
For those considering enrolling in a degree in artificial intelligence, Trang had some valuable advice. She emphasised the importance of having a genuine passion for AI and the willingness to invest considerable time and effort into understanding its concepts and honing programming skills. Continuous learning and staying updated with the latest advancements are paramount in the rapidly evolving field of AI, and Trang encouraged prospective students to embrace a mindset of lifelong learning.
‘But it is not for everyone – it requires a lot of effort to understand the concepts and a lot of time to practice,’ Trang said. ‘You [have to be] willing to spend a lot of time to prepare – not only at uni, but also in the future because you have to learn continuously throughout your life.’
Trang said that above and beyond technical skills, La Trobe’s Master of Artificial Intelligence also fosters a culture of continuous learning, giving students the foundational knowledge and inspiring students to learn more about the world of AI as it evolves, enabling them to stay abreast of the latest developments.
Using a Master of Artificial Intelligence
Looking ahead, Trang shared her excitement for the future of AI and data science. While acknowledging her status as a relative newcomer to the field, she expressed enthusiasm for generative AI technologies such as Chat GPT and Google Bard, and sees that natural language processing will be particularly useful for most data scientists, where there is a need to analyse a lot of text.
Trang’s career and education progression into her role as a senior data analyst at an Australian telco leader exemplifies the value and impact of the program on her career. The program’s comprehensive curriculum, particularly its focus on rigorous labs, equipped her with the necessary skills to thrive in the workplace. Moreover, it provided her with a broader perspective on the ethical and societal implications of AI, preparing her to tackle complex challenges with integrity and responsibility.
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