Student Profile of Douglas Reimel

I realized one of my work projects would benefit from deeper statistical analysis, including functions I had a good background in and knew at one time, but I needed to dust the cobwebs off and catch up to changes in the field.

Douglas D. Reimel, Jr.

I need to be ready to respond to a changing marketplace.

What is your career background? Where are you in your career (beginning, mid, experienced)?

My main project has a finite life. When it concludes, the job I am doing will go away, and I need to be ready to respond to a changing marketplace. I need to keep up my skills, pursue my recertifications, and stay current in knowledge in the field. For me, the effort, time, and expense have been worth it because I enjoy my work and the courses have helped me do it and do it better.

I have 20+ years of professional experience as an operations research analyst and cost/project management analyst. I work for a large consulting firm that is organized using the matrix management approach. We look at many different aspects of a variety of projects, including cost modeling and analysis. Over the last several years, I’ve been assigned some complex projects with heavy statistical and data analysis requirements. To gain that topic-specific knowledge quickly, I researched online courses. With a full-time job and a family, I didn’t have the option of a classroom program. I needed an online format that delivered the material now, without a longer commitment and repetition of background I already have. My background in statistics is good, but I needed to get back up to speed in methods that I had not used in years and update my skills on developments in the field.

At the same time, I also needed to fulfill the continuing education requirements for my professional certifications, such as the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional, the Society for Cost Estimating and Analysis’s Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst, and the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International’s Certified Cost Engineer. For me, the courses answered both objects—to gain knowledge quickly and maintain my certifications.

My first course, non-parametric statistics, helped me develop the specific skills I needed, and the online format proved to be workable. I continued taking courses to broaden my knowledge base, even after I got back up to speed, and now I’ve taken an entire Program in Advanced Statistical Studies certification in Engineering Statistics. These courses were also instrumental in helping me obtain the American Society for Quality certification as a Six Sigma Green Belt.

What was your experience with online, remote learning?

I was familiar with the online format. I knew it worked for me, even though all online courses are a little different. I knew it was doable as long as I didn’t let assignments go until the last minute. I knew I had to work at them consistently, starting as soon as an assignment was posted. I studied and did the assignments in the evenings and on weekends. I got through each course by thinking, “This is for one month,” and that way I worked my way through two to three courses a year. For the month during a course, it pretty much cramped evenings and weekends.

Do you have advice for other students considering taking courses through

Would I advise someone to take a course? I would say that’s a personal decision. If it is something you want to do, do it, but if you make that commitment, my advice is to keep up with the assignments and reading; don’t fall behind. Before I started taking the courses, I spent a lot of time with my old statistics books and reading online, trying this and that, but still I found it hard to get back up to speed and get structure to the learning. The course format offered a chance to learn from other students and the opportunity to ask questions. The course materials provide greater breadth on the subject, not just one chapter in a book that covers a broader subject. In the exercises, I can apply the knowledge and work out my questions.

What are your hobbies or special interests?

I’m interested in exercising, running, and physical fitness, but an injury several years ago slowed me down. I don’t have much opportunity for hobbies, but I like to read and continue my physical fitness program at a lower intensity. I have two children in elementary and middle school, and they occupy a good portion of my time.

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