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Meet Jovad Uribe of UIC’s new data science program

Jovad Uribe

Junior Jovad Uribe just transferred into the computer science department, and is taking classes in the new data science program. He was a finance major.

Q: What prompted you to switch majors?

A: I heard about the major through a friend who is a computer science major. I am part of the Quantitative Trading Club at UIC, and we focus on building trading strategies and teaching others how to do the same thing. As a finance major I didn’t have too strong a background in programming, but I found myself on the computer all the time, building trading algorithms. I really enjoyed it. This summer I held an internship at an algorithmic trading software company, where I learned a lot about data science, building algorithms, and software development. It made me realize I wanted to pursue a career at the intersection of finance and technology. I applied the data analysis and data mining I’d learned. I had taken a computer science class in high school, but not before my internship this summer and I had to pick up some skills on the spot. I enjoy a challenge and thought why not pursue a new major?

Q: Have you chosen a concentration?

A: I’ve chosen computer science as my concentration, mainly because I want to build certain applications alongside techniques I want to employ with data. I’ve unofficially declared my minor as business administration. I really like how the program is set up. It provides a lot of concentrations to build domain knowledge of what you want to learn.

Q: Do you know what career path you want to pursue?

A: As I was entering college I knew I wanted to enter the finance industry. I didn’t know exactly where, so I majored in finance. A major in finance is great if you’re going for a finance career in commercial banking, financial advising, or other qualitative forms of finance—but the other 50 percent of finance is very quantitative. A lot of the hedge fund industry is moving toward data science, and I want to enter the quantitative hedge fund space.

This interview was edited for clarity.

UIC’s data science degree program officially launches this fall, but students can begin to take courses in the new major, which is housed in the computer science department. In addition to core courses in areas including foundational mathematics, statistics, computer science, and ethics, nine areas of concentration allow students to focus on a variety of industries that are increasingly dependent on data analysis. Learn more here.