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Student story

Nur Syaida Firzana Mohamad Isham

20 July 2023

"The entire programme carries out great projects and programmes to help employability..."


Master of Applied Data Science

Tourism Economic Analyst, ChristchurchNZ

Originally from Malaysia, Syaida decided to challenge herself and strengthen her skills in the popular field of Data Science after graduating from a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and Economics.  

Syaida chose to study Data Science at UC because it fulfilled her dream to study here, and she was fascinated by the versatility of the programme and the internship opportunities it provides.

"I chose to study Data Science after realising how data and technology play a vital role in not only improving our personal lives, but in industries and businesses as well.  Strengths of the MADS programme at UC include an amazing internship experience with a lot of networking opportunities to get a professional job – the entire programme carries out great projects and programmes to help employability. 

"There are also so many modules in the course such as medical data analytics, financial analytics, and business analytics; a diversity of courses so that people from different backgrounds get to do something that suits them. Overall, the course is not just theoretical, but also includes a lot of practical as well."

Syaida is an adventurous outdoor person who enjoys nature to help her relax and keep healthy. That was the main reason which brought her to live and study in New Zealand.

"New Zealand has always been a country I have dreamed to go to, having been well-known for its beautiful scenic places to explore with lots of outdoor activities to try out. I must admit that New Zealand offers a great learning environment with a beautiful surrounding that can help keep minds relaxed, and New Zealand also offers various adventurous outdoor activities to stay physically fit and healthy."

As for her study, she had her internship with the UC Chemistry Department carrying out a Perfume Component Analysis Project. The team built up a machine learning model that would be able to automatically classify the components and proportions of each component in the perfume. 

"The overall project involved data collection, data pre-processing, data wrangling, data analysis, data modelling, and data visualisation which was taught throughout the MADS programme. We were grateful that the model currently helps the department to work on future research and saves costs," she says.

She is currently working as a Tourism Economic Analyst at ChristchurchNZ where she applies Data visualisation to ensure data and information is being presented and communicated in the most effective way.  She is also able to utilise the knowledge and skills acquired from the programme to code in different coding languages such as Python, R, and Julia.

Her final advice is to motivate students who want to take the next step in their career.

"If you find yourself always curious on what's going on around you, enjoy challenges, have a critical mind in making decisions, dream big but the only thing stopping you to move forward is the lack of the right skills and knowledge, then data science would be a great option for you to consider learning."

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