Conversion courses for someone with no background with long term goal of NLP?

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julianakg
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Hi everyone,

I'm a journalist with no background in computer science/maths/STEM subjects. I studied journalism and literature in uni (and a bit of linguistics). Recently, I did a Computational Journalism course in Columbia (NY), where I was studying as a visiting scholar, and got really interested in coding. I learned python and a bit of NLP, which I adored. I'm considering applying for a conversion masters in computer science, but am worried about my lack of knowledge (not only because many universities require that for entry but also because of my survival during the course). I also think of working with NLP on the long run, but am not sure if this is the right path (I would like to work with news innovation rather than with reporting -- in other words, working more with texts created through Natural Language Generation, identification of hate speech etc and less with data journalism, which is now a big trend in the area).

I'm looking at computer science masters in UCL, Kent, Birmingham, and Bath.
In Birbeck, I liked the data science masters.
And Glasgow has a good software development conversion masters.

I'm also applying for a UK scholarship and have to pick 3 of these unis, so I have to balance what courses I think are best with which ones I'll actually be able to get an invitation, considering I have no computational/math backgrounds.

What do you think?
thank you!
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PrettymuchGod
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I don't mean to throw shades at CS bachelors but generally doing CS and being able to code are very different things.
The skillset needed to be good at Machine Learning and NLP can be quite different from those given in a lot of CS degrees (especially ones without decent AI modules).
So, if you are passionate and have some natural coding ability you'll be just as good as the next CS bachelors on average. Your main issue (which you will share with your standard CS bach) is that you will need to learn the math specific to ML in order to do research within it (not necessarily to use the algorithms though :lol:) . I'm less informed on the jobs in NLP that don't require some sort of publishing history/PhD/eqivilant_PhD - NLP specifically might be a difficult thing to do straight after a Masters but perhaps your linguistics background might help with that.
For Data Science, just keep on coding and using data to do analysis and discover stats and you'll be good to go eventually. If you want to do ML research there will likely be an initial multi-year struggle given you'll have to study both the code and math but it's definitely not out of reach and I would advise you to go ahead and do it if you really see yourself loving it.

When you say you have no Math background does that include A-Level Math?
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julianakg
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(Original post by XOR_)
I don't mean to throw shades at CS bachelors but generally doing CS and being able to code are very different things.
The skillset needed to be good at Machine Learning and NLP can be quite different from those given in a lot of CS degrees (especially ones without decent AI modules).
So, if you are passionate and have some natural coding ability you'll be just as good as the next CS bachelors on average. Your main issue (which you will share with your standard CS bach) is that you will need to learn the math specific to ML in order to do research within it (not necessarily to use the algorithms though :lol:) . I'm less informed on the jobs in NLP that don't require some sort of publishing history/PhD/eqivilant_PhD - NLP specifically might be a difficult thing to do straight after a Masters but perhaps your linguistics background might help with that.
For Data Science, just keep on coding and using data to do analysis and discover stats and you'll be good to go eventually. If you want to do ML research there will likely be an initial multi-year struggle given you'll have to study both the code and math but it's definitely not out of reach and I would advise you to go ahead and do it if you really see yourself loving it.

When you say you have no Math background does that include A-Level Math?
Hey! Thank you for you response.

This helps a lot. I mean, gives me hope!
I'm from Brazil, so not yet familiarized with the British education system - but just googled and yes, A-Level math I do have! I just didn't study math in Uni (had one Economics class, says a lot about journalism?).
I think NLP will have to be a project for the long run. For now, my plan is to learn basic computer science and at least enter the market and try to direction it on the future.

The Data Science course from Birbeck has modules that seem right, but I've read negative reviews about the uni, people left abandoned during the course etc. Glasgow Uni, on the other hand, has great reviews, but Software Development might be a completely different thing (although the modules seem great and cover a lot of what Computer Science masters offer).

So my question is: for someone who has no background in computer science/maths but wants to work with NLP in the future, what conversions masters should I chose that would teach me the right things and maybe lead me to the right position in the job market as a beginner to develop later and lead me to NLP?

Links as a reference:

https://www.gla.ac.uk/postgraduate/t...#tab=structure

http://www.bbk.ac.uk/study/2020/post...es/TMSDATSC_C/

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-st...er-science-msc
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StudentRep Medway
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(Original post by julianakg)
Hi everyone,

I'm a journalist with no background in computer science/maths/STEM subjects. I studied journalism and literature in uni (and a bit of linguistics). Recently, I did a Computational Journalism course in Columbia (NY), where I was studying as a visiting scholar, and got really interested in coding. I learned python and a bit of NLP, which I adored. I'm considering applying for a conversion masters in computer science, but am worried about my lack of knowledge (not only because many universities require that for entry but also because of my survival during the course). I also think of working with NLP on the long run, but am not sure if this is the right path (I would like to work with news innovation rather than with reporting -- in other words, working more with texts created through Natural Language Generation, identification of hate speech etc and less with data journalism, which is now a big trend in the area).

I'm looking at computer science masters in UCL, Kent, Birmingham, and Bath.
In Birbeck, I liked the data science masters.
And Glasgow has a good software development conversion masters.

I'm also applying for a UK scholarship and have to pick 3 of these unis, so I have to balance what courses I think are best with which ones I'll actually be able to get an invitation, considering I have no computational/math backgrounds.

What do you think?
thank you!
Hi there!
So pleased to hear you're considering applying to the University of Kent I'm in my final year at Kent, so if you have any questions about life at Kent in general then please feel free to ask! Also, if you'd like you can use Kent's Unibuddy programme to find and talk to a current Computer Science conversion student to find out what it's like to study and ask them any questions you may have about the course. Here is the link in case you're interested.
Good luck with your university applications
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