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Great interest on computer science - SOP: M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence

bonifacechacha 1 / -  
Feb 7, 2017   #1
Hi everyone,

I have been working on my SOP for the past few days and I was wondering if the experts out here could review it and offer suggestions to improve it.

Prompt: Please give a short statement that describes your academic interests, purpose, objectives and motivation in undertaking this postgraduate study. (max 3500 chars - approx. 500 words)

Artificial Intelligence study

I will always remember the first day I saw a personal computer at the school library. I was very fascinated by the things I could do with it. I spent a lot of time learning on the internet how computers work and also how computer technology has managed to improve human life. I developed a great interest on computer science such that by the time I was in Form 3 at Ilboru Secondary School I already knew that I wanted to become a computer scientist.

During my undergraduate education for BSc in Computer Engineering at the University of Dar es salaam I developed a greater passion for Computer programming. I learned various programming languages including C, Java and JavaScript and even started working on a part time basis for the University Computing Centre. Apart from programming languages I had great passion for computer science in general which made me perform very well in my studies and exams and be awarded the Best final year student award during 2011 graduation ceremony.

I have now practiced software engineering for more than six years. I currently work for Niafikra LTD which is a Tanzanian software engineering startup I co-founded with my colleague in 2012. Our primary focus is to provide software solutions for developing countries in Africa. One of our main product, inaya Health, aims at improving healthcare services by facilitating practitioner's activities and ensure that they work efficiently. Inaya Health is currently operating in various private and public hospitals in Tanzania including ORCI which is the National Cancer Institute.

My career objective is to become a competent professional with significant contribution in solving challenges and problems we face in the third world countries using technology. I want to study Artificial Intelligence because it presents a more advanced approach in solving challenges facing developing countries in various sectors including healthcare, governance, agriculture, education and many more. By using Artificial intelligence methods combined with my past experience in software development I will be having the right tools at my disposal for reaching my career objective.

I specifically want to become a machine learning focused software engineer who researches and apply machine learning methods into the software I develop for solving these challenges. Since I have already been involved in developing systems for healthcare sector, I plan to begin using the knowledge I will acquired to develop machine learning solutions for the similar sector using the company I cofounded and also integrated them into our product inaya Health whenever feasible. I also plan to continue with PhD studies in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

The renowned international track record in addressing real world problems that is being expressed by the Center of intelligence at Edinburgh University aligns very well with my career objective. I believe that by being trained by an institution with strong research background in major Artificial intelligence fields gives me a better chance of becoming a competent professional that I wish to be. These exceptional qualities and the program structure makes me crave for studying MSc Artificial Intelligence at Edinburgh University.

ichanpants89 [Contributor] 16 / 777 309  
Feb 7, 2017   #2
I have no idea whether there is a standard of a Statement of Purpose or not. Yet, comparing to mine, I didn't put any childhood memories that might be the beginning/starting point for me to learn English(in your case, to learn Computer Science). Thus, I personally think that it is not really necessary to put that in the introduction paragraph. This would also helpful in reducing the words limit (if there is any words limit available).

Another feedback from me is related to variations in starting a paragraph. It looks quite obvious that 3 out of 6 paragraphs of your essay started in a similar pattern (started by the word 'I'). Varying them would be beneficial towards your final output later on. You can possibly switch them into either Gerund or Passive voice. For instance, you can change from 'I specifically want to...' to 'Solving challenges can be much easier when I can become a machine learner.' Also, try to add some variations of cohesive devices to make your essay becomes coherent, such as 'Furthermore/However/Moreover/In addition/many more.

Hope this helps :)
Holt [Contributor] - / 8,608 2502  
Feb 8, 2017   #3
Boniface, while I understand that your interest in computers started in childhood, reviewers frown upon such references because a child is not expected to decide on his career or concentrate on an actual ambition in terms of profession until he reaches high school. Which is why childhood interactions with a specific field are not mentioned in college and masters degree applications. In fact, your whole approach to the opening statement is wrong because you refer to your childhood experience first.

The strongest opening statement that you can create will be the one that shows how you came to a realization that your current abilities in computers and A.I. can only take you so far in your line of work. What problems did you eventually begin to face and how did you deal with it while you lacked advanced training in this field? This will be the solid reasons that led to your decision to enroll in MS classes.

In a normal SOP, the college education is all but overlooked in favor of the more important work experience of the applicant. Therefore, your college background should only mention the university and year you graduated, along with any specific accomplishments you had a student. In addition to this, discuss any advanced training or seminars you attended in line with the work that you do. Explain how those seminars and training helped lay the foundation for your advanced studies and also, gave you the opportunity to better yourself as a member of this professor. If you made a thesis for college graduation, briefly discuss it in this essay. Mentioning if it was published and if you are planning to continue working on that research as a masters student. However, if you pursuing a non-thesis MS degree, there is no reason to mention that part.

The most impressive part of your statement will be the professional part that deals with your current career path and whether or note your clients have been impressed with your work. If you have done any exceptional work for them that led to your being recognized by the client, then relate that as well.

You basically have a very strong professional background. So that will bode well for your application. However, your earlier presentation in relation to your studies needs to be shortened to only the important points as I described above. Try to edit your essay for content based upon the suggested items because those are the essential parts that need to be developed properly in your work. By editing the content and revealing only the information required by the prompt requirements, you will be able to narrow down your word count to even less than 500. If done properly that is.

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