Franziska's experience with Q-Step (Class of 2023)
“When I first started taking quantitative and technical courses at University, it was mostly as a challenge to myself: The grades in first and second year don’t count, I thought, and thus I can take interesting courses even though I might be totally rubbish at them. What I didn’t realise is, that I had unknowingly taken the first step onto a very slippery slope:
It all started with me, to my great surprise, not being totally rubbish at technology after all. On the other hand, because of some excellent teachers and very engaging courses, coding soon became the best part of my entire degree, and I was keen to take as many courses about Python, R, and Computer Science as I could.
The slippery slope next drove me to search for opportunities outside of University courses that would allow me to do social science research using data and code. Using the technical skills I had acquired in Uni courses, such as the Q-step course “Measuring your Social World”, I was able to assist a PhD project by building a web scraper for Google Maps and analysing the scraped data in R. In another research project, I even became a published author in the field of bias in name ethnicity classification!
The article I helped write as part of a small team can be found here.
My quantitative fate was sealed when I was accepted to do an MSc in Social Data Science at the University of Oxford in 2023/24. There, I will further work on answering social science questions using the methods I learned as part of Q-step and Computer Science courses. During the application process for this program, I was supported greatly by Q-step staff, who were able to give me very valuable advice and knew me well enough to write a letter of recommendation for me.
If you are thinking about enrolling on the Q-step program, even just as a challenge to yourself, be-wear: It might be a slippery slope towards searching for more and more opportunities to use your newly acquired technical skills. Don’t worry, however, it’s an enjoyable ride!”
Julia's experience with Q-Step (Class of 2023)
“My experience with the Q-Step programme has been very positive overall.
Firstly, the courses themselves are well-taught and nicely structured, giving us students a solid foundation in statistical concepts, research processes and different regression models. Personally, I really liked the cohort being small and the same core lecturers teaching throughout the programme, as that created a sense of familiarity. The department is lovely and I truly appreciated the amount of feedback and help available. In comparison to the compulsory methods courses for Politics students, the Q-Step programme allows for a much more in-depth and personalised approach to gaining quantitative skills. Analysing data sets on different social issues taught me a new way of approaching and thinking about societal challenges and their interrelations. At the same time, the programme also leaves much room to develop one’s own ideas and research interests, particularly in fourth year.
Secondly, I have greatly benefitted from the programme both professionally and academically. On the one hand, it provided me with relevant statistical and analytical skills, which allowed me to work part-time for a renowned research institute throughout my degree. On the other hand, it prepared me to use quantitative methods in my dissertation, which I do not think I would have felt comfortable doing without the extensive prior experience gained through Q-Step. Overall, I am glad to have acquired these more practical skills alongside my International Relations degree, hoping to improve my employability. So, I can only recommend at least trying the programme and giving it a go in second year!”
Emma's experience with Q-Step (Class of 2022)
"Alongside my Social & Public Policy degree, I chose to do the Q-Step course to understand the importance of data and statistics. With no previous experience in coding, I found the course challenging. However, the course materials are very accessible, and the lecturers are very helpful and always on hand to share their expertise.
I was lucky enough to complete two summer internships that Q-step provided. These internships let me showcase the skills I had learned while completing the course and cemented my aspiration to pursue a career in data analytics."
Emma has just shared the great news that she has successfully become an Information Analyst for Public health Scotland.
Rachel's experience with Q-Step (Class of 2021)
"Upon starting my Social and Public Policy degree, I could never have predicted my involvement with Q-Step. During my school years, I had always shied away from numerical subjects. However, after studying at University, I have come to realise the importance of data and statistics in the Social Sciences. At first, studying Quantitative Methods felt like an overwhelming challenge. However, as I go into my final year, I can safely say that my experience has been rewarding and extremely stimulating. The Q-Step staff go above and beyond to help students and I have always been made to feel comfortable when seeking advice. The knowledge and understanding that I have obtained since studying with Q-Step have been of great use to me in all elements of my degree and I am extremely excited to see where these skills will take me in the future."
Corran's experience with Q-Step (Class of 2021)
"I chose to study quantitative methods alongside my politics course as I was looking to gain a better understanding of how to use data to support my research. The world is becoming increasingly data driven and having the skills to interpret data is very valuable.
The course was delivered in a structured and useful manner. I started off with no proper past experience working with data and through the 3 years was provided with all the resources needed to build my knowledge. For myself, one of the most useful aspects of the course was being taught how to fully assemble a well thought out research paper. Going forward, I can now support my research with statistical models and present everything in a concise and logical manner. The quants course at Glasgow is great because of its small class size and how much time you can actually get with your lecturers. Feedback is constantly provided throughout the classes, allowing you to learn from your mistakes and gain valuable insights from those working in the field."