IT Consultant Discovers the Power of Big Data at UCSC Extension


- Khadar Alikhan

Term : June, 2015
Department : Engineering
Program : Information Technology

Khadar Alikhan’s career in IT and technology has taken him all over the world, from England to Dubai. After working as an IT manager at an investment bank for a few years, he visited his wife in Silicon Valley, where she was pursuing a graduate degree. That trip inspired his decision to study technology at UCSC Extension, where he enrolled in the Information Technology certificate program.

What attracted you to Silicon Valley?

I needed to go somewhere where the technology was happening. When I visited Silicon Valley, I was completely shocked to discover the opportunity it offers, the potential that people can use, and the number of tech companies here. It really got me thinking that I should be here, because this is where things get created, where you can launch a product and get financed to build world-class products. It was really exciting for me. What better way to be a part of this legacy?

It was the unique value of the courses, and the choice of interesting courses, especially around Big Data, analytics, mobile computing and security, that made me select UCSC Extension. I had been looking at master’s program, but the courses offered were not as unique. I am pleased to say that I made a good choice, because the courses have been really useful and the instructors are very knowledgeable.

What courses stood out to you?

The “Big Data: Overview, Tools, and Use Cases” course has been very useful; it’s a very good introduction. All of the Big Data analytics courses have been very good; a real eye-opener. I learned what is in demand in the industry at the moment, how companies are using Big Data, and how it could be useful to a lot of companies. The courses are relevant to the industry; it’s not easy to keep up-to-date, because things change every six months. What UCSC Extension has done is great. My background is in IT and security and networking, and now I’ve got another skill set of understanding Big Data, which I think could be very useful.

What has your internship experience been like?

I’m interning with a local start-up focused on networking and security. I bring a different skill set there, with the uniqueness of data analytics and security that I’ve learned at UCSC Extension. These are skills that I could potentially use with bigger clients.

What was it like applying as an international student?

 With UCSC Extension, it’s been remarkably easy, the whole process of starting an application. I was really surprised at how quickly they get back to you. It was fairly quick and straightforward.

 How are you applying new skills in the outside world?

Taking classes at Extension has given me a different perspective and another set of tools. I come from a finance industry, and now I see how I could potentially talk to old employers, or new banks, and bring new skills. I came here to start up something, and this is the place where it can be done, to really contribute to Silicon Valley. I want to help people out, and to use technology to solve their issues. I’m really looking forward to working in Silicon Valley; the opportunities are everywhere. You don’t see them when you live away; in the Middle East, it was different. Here we have entrepreneurship and innovation.   

Visit our Information Technology page to learn more UCSC Extension’s unique offerings. For information on services and programs for international students, please visit our International Programs page. Browse upcoming IT courses.
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