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‘The atmosphere at Aalto is comfortable and you can do things at your own pace’

Thong Tran, the first graduate with a major in Data Science, shares his experiences on studying at Aalto University
Vietnamista kotoisin oleva opiskelija on pukeutunut mustiin vaatteisiin ja nojaa kaiteeseen Tietotekniikan talolla. Taustalla näkyy valoa ja Aalto-yliopiston logo.
Thong Tran completed his bachelor's degree in autumn 2020 and continued his studies in a master's programme right away. Photo: Matti Ahlgren / Aalto University

Thong Tran is the first student who has graduated from Aalto Bachelor's Programme in Science and Technology - Data Science. Thong, who originally comes from Vietnam, became interested in data science during his engineering studies in Singapore, but during his first studies, he did not have a chance to invest much time on learning more about data science.

Data science is a multidisciplinary field that focuses on the study of scientific methods used to extract knowledge from data and build models that cope with complex problems. It employs techniques and theories drawn from the broad areas of mathematics, statistics, information sciences, and computer science.

Thong says, ‘It was an easy choice for me to move to Finland to study data science because my girlfriend lived here. I had also heard that Finland has a high quality of life and it is a peaceful country, which fits me well.’

Thong has been happy with his choice ever since. He appreciates especially the fact that, at Aalto University, students get a great amount of freedom to choose courses they like, also from other study programmes, and that there is not much comparing and competition.

I had heard that Finland has a high quality of life and it is a peaceful country

Thong Tran

When Thong went to secondary school, his favourite subject was physics, but he was a bit intimidated by mathematics. ‘There were so many good students in Vietnam, and we were also very competitive. Here, I think the atmosphere is more comfortable and you can do things at your own pace.’

Dreaming of combining data science and finance

In addition to studying, Thong has found some time to do tutoring on programming courses, for example, during which he got to meet several new people. To balance work and leisure, he likes to play videogames and take walks.

For his bachelor’s thesis, Thong completed a study on approximate Bayesian computation. This work also helped him get an internship position in an Aalto University research group in which he continues working.

During their bachelor’s studies, the Aalto data science students obtain important skills that help them solve real-world problems using algorithm design, machine learning, artificial intelligence, statistical inference, operations research, and optimization. After completing the bachelor’s degree, many students continue their studies in the Master's Programme in CCIS - Machine Learning, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. That was Thong’s choice as well, and he started his master’s studies this autumn.

‘I guess the next one and half years will be quite important because I will need choose whether I want to be more involved academically and do a PhD or whether I want to work in the industry right after completing my Master’s.’

Right now, his dream job would be working at some interesting tech company or at a bank. In fact, in addition to being interested in data science, Thong is keen on learning more about finance. ‘I did a minor in financial engineering here at Aalto. That minor opened just last year, so I was very lucky.’

Miesopiskelija muotokuvassa. Opiskelijalla on musta paita ja silmälasit ja hän seisoo harmaan taustan edessä.
Photo: Matti Ahlgren / Aalto University

Thong Tran

Education: Bachelor of Science in Data Science from Aalto University, Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering from Nanyang Technological University

Lives in Espoo

Comes from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Greatest study-related accomplishment: ‘The most recent accomplishment was getting an internship in a research group at Aalto, after completing my bachelor’s thesis.’

 

Is also

A cat owner. ‘My cat is fluffy and pretty big, but it always wants to eat more.’

Someone who loves Japanese food. ‘I always want to travel to Japan, mostly for the food.’

A fan of Finnish recycling stores. ‘You can find pretty much anything there with a great price. It’s also good for the environment, so everyone wins.’

Read more about studying Data Science

Aalto University / students in a class room / photography Aino Huovio

Aalto Bachelor's Programme in Science and Technology - Data Science

Data science gives you the foundations to become a top-level expert in the modern knowledge society. You will obtain the required skills to solve real-world problems using methods of algorithm design, machine learning, artificial intelligence, statistical inference, operations research, and optimization.

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