My review of Georgia Tech’s OMSCS: year 1

rating GA Tech OMSCS

I just wrapped up my first 2 courses in OMSCS so I figured I’d share my review of Georgia Tech’s OMSCS program for prospective students. TL;DR: 5-stars; OMSCS absolutely kicks ass. Here’s why:

1. Recruiters & interviewers love it

recruiter calling

Since starting OMSCS, I’ve been getting way more emails from recruiters. Recruiters are eager to hear about my OMSCS experience & impressed with my super-cool-sounding dual-specialization in “Computational Perception/Robotics” & “Machine Learning”.

They love that I’m motivated enough to pursue a MS degree to become a better engineer, so the Georgia Tech MS on my resume has been a great-win from this standpoint.

2. 10x better lectures than undergrad

Professor Essa lecturing CP

I went to a great school in Northwestern, but really, these OMSCS lectures are 10x better:

1 – Each professor worked really hard for each lecture, and it shows. I can tell each professor has painstakingly thought out the contents, compacted it to contain only the most relevant and important details, likely did multiple takes to get the video just right, and refined the lectures over the years to keep them current.

The final product is a beautifully and professionally crafted set of lectures that blow the best lectures from my undergrad years at Northwestern out of the water.

2 – The visual nature of the lectures is a game-changer. The extremely relevant and cooperative video content within the lectures really helps visual learners like myself. It beats the crap out of writing on blackboards/projectors you might see from in-person classes when it comes to understanding and retention of the content.

3 – Lectures are on YouTube/Udacity which means you can speed them up/put on captions/rewatch them. Another game-changer that makes note-taking in physical classrooms seem primitive.

4 – The quizzes embedded within the lectures ensure students understand the concept before moving onto the next one. I can’t count the number of times in undergrad where I mindlessly sat through an hour-long lecture with the professor talking non-stop, oblivious as to whether the students retained a word.

5 – Each lecture is logically broken down into bite-size topics. This really helps students to break down key topics and see how different concepts work together.

6 – The professors are truly passionate about their classes and unlike a lot of my undergrad professors, they…care! With many of my undergrad professors, I got the feeling that they didn’t enjoy teaching. But these OMSCS professors’ passion for teaching really come through. Watch a couple videos, and you’ll see what I mean. As cheesy as it sounds, this really makes “going” to lectures very enjoyable.

3. My classmates are nerds & they love it

woz a nerd

In undergrad, you weren’t cool if you were nerding out about your classes. I don’t know anyone from undergrad who scored at a party by talking about regression modeling or the Traveling Salesman Problem. But in OMSCS, you’re a god if you’re that dude who went above & beyond in Computational Photography to cartoonize videos using flow tangent vectors for your final project.

OMSCS is a highly intellectually enriching and stimulating environment where your classmates are genuinely thrilled to constantly go above & beyond to apply the course materials. It makes classes more exciting and pushes me to get the most out of them.

4. My classmates are angels

classmates being angels

You know how questions on Stack Overflow are always eloquently answered by angel-geniuses who seemingly have all the free time in the world? Well, every OMSCS class has them too. There’s always someone who finished the project early and is nice enough to give pointers on some obscure case that otherwise would have cost hours to work around.

Everyone in OMSCS seems to understand that this journey isn’t a zero-sum game; it’s a great feeling to share knowledge with others while learning from them, and this collaborative culture within Piazza/Slack is a tremendous strength of OMSCS.

5. The courses are actually applicable

roomba robot

I know everyone’s situation is different, but the 2 courses I’ve taken (AI4R & CP) have already been hugely helpful for my job. AI4R was critical in understanding the backbone of our robots’ SLAM/Kalman filters/PID mechanisms while CP opened my eyes to the possibilities of our robots’ camera for object recognition.

CP also gave me a greater appreciation for Instagram filters and HDRs and similarly, there are many more novel applications of CS around me that I can now see and appreciate.

So yeah, OMSCS was one of the best decisions I’ve made to date.

My review: 5-stars. It kicks ass.

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