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Sandra Micallef, UQ Master of Business Analytics student

What’s it like to study data, analytics and cyber security as a postgraduate?

Uni life
Published 3 Oct, 2023  ·  5-minute read

Data, analytics and cyber security are some of the fastest growing and evolving fields in the job market today. This industry is well suited to individuals with a thirst for knowledge and an enthusiasm for lifelong learning.

Whether you want to study business analytics, cyber security, data science or bioinformatics, you may have some questions about what you can get out of these types of degrees and how they’ll help you progress your career.

We’ve spoken to 2 UQ postgraduate students to help you find answers. Rae is studying a Master of Cyber Security, and Sandra Micallef is studying a Master of Business Analytics (delivered 100% online). Both are passionate about delving into the depths of data to gain insights that will both improve societies and protect people across the world.

Why study cyber security, data and analytics as a postgraduate at UQ? Read on to find out.

What inspired you to study cyber security and business analytics, respectively?

Rae: I aim to understand people’s motivations behind their actions so I can be involved in designing the best preventative and detective responses, as well as supporting victims.

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at the end of 2022 and wanted to continue my studies with more of a focus in the cyber space.

Sandra: I have over 25 years of experience in data management and wanted to advance my skills to more modern technologies.

“My children have now grown up and left home, so I wanted to re-invent myself and find something that I really enjoyed learning.”


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How did you prepare for your postgraduate studies and did you need to make any changes to your lifestyle to accommodate it?

Rae: I looked into scholarships that could support my postgraduate studies and was fortunate to receive the ATSE: Elevate Scholarship for women and non-binary people in STEM.

Sandra: To adapt to the new studying routine, I decided to reduce my hours at work. I had never done online studying before, so it was a new experience, but it fitted really well with my lifestyle and I enjoy having the flexibility of doing the modules online, at a time that suits me.

What to know before studying cyber security, data and analytics as a postgraduate

UQ is providing Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) for a number of postgraduate programs in data, analytics and cyber security in 2024. This means that your tuition fees could be significantly reduced. Read on to find out what data, analytics and cyber security postgrad programs have CSPs, or browse our full range of postgraduate CSP programs.

Rae, a UQ Master of Cyber Security study walks through St Lucia campus' Great Court

Rae’s advice to anyone thinking about starting postgraduate studies is to carefully consider finances and seek scholarship opportunities.

Which data, analytics and cyber security postgraduate courses and teachers have helped you the most?

Rae: All the teachers I have encountered in criminology have been incredibly supportive. The staff are dedicated to opening up opportunities for all the students – you just need to be brave enough to show your interest!

Sandra: I enjoy the technical courses the most, where I have learnt new programming languages such as Python and R, and the visualisation techniques in Power BI and Tableau.

All my teachers have been very helpful and supportive, and are always available to listen to the students' feedback.

What’s your study load like as a business analytics postgraduate student?

Sandra: During my first year, I used to stress a lot about completing assignments and modules. Now I find that I have become better at managing my time to handle both while still carrying out other duties.

What’s it like to study cyber security as a postgrad, in comparison to your experience of undergraduate study?

Rae: My first semester of postgrad was a lot of what I was used to – attending 4 courses and completing a range of assessment pieces.

“Now, a lot more of my time is allocated to my research project that I designed. I’m really enjoying that freedom to dictate where my research goes.”

What kinds of Master of Business Analytics job opportunities are out there?

Sandra: I work in the School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability at UQ (Science Faculty). I work with academics and researchers and help them build tools for data collection, management and analysis, for specific research projects.

I am currently working on a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which aims to reduce hunger and poverty in developing countries (SDG2) by helping their National Agriculture Centres improve their breeding programs of staple crops such as wheat, maize, cassava and rice.

A few of my daily duties include cleaning data received from our stakeholders, merging data in a repository, making changes to the data collection tool as suggested by the project leader, writing reports, updating Power BI dashboards, and coordinating data dissemination.

Discover other ways you could help businesses discover insights from their data with the knowledge you gain from a Master of Business Analytics.

So, is a master’s in business analytics worth it?

Sandra: The degree is helping me explore new ways to analyse and interpret the data I work with.

What I find most rewarding in my job is discovering new insights in the data we collect from our stakeholders and knowing that my work is helping improve the livelihoods of people in developing countries.

Sandra Micallef, UQ Master of Business Analytics student leans against a tree in The Great Court

Sandra’s pro tip for Master of Business Analytics students is to attend the live online sessions of lectures when possible (rather than watching the recordings), as this is the best place to ask questions.

Why did you choose UQ for your postgraduate studies?

Rae: The interdisciplinary focus that involves students from a range of different areas.

Does UQ offer the best postgraduate programs in data, analytics and cyber security?

Let’s take a look at the facts:

How can you study data, analytics and cyber security as a postgrad at UQ?

There are a variety of ways you can delve into the fascinating area of data, analytics and cyber security at UQ. Whether you want to find out how to use data to inform business decisions, protect people from cyber threats or get a broader perspective on data science, there’s a program at UQ to enhance your knowledge and build on your skills.

The great news is, most of our programs in this study area (including those listed below) offer Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) for study commencing in 2024, which dramatically reduces your tuition fees.

*Also available to study as a graduate certificate or graduate diploma.

**Also available as a graduate certificate.

Find out how to get postgrad ready in 12 months or discover what it’s like to study postgraduate programs in other fields of interest.

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