There are 4 kinds of approaches I’ve seen so far from new OMSCSers:
1. Taking just 1 course, that’s what the university recommends really (not the approach I took). I’ve heard of people taking only SDP. The brave ones may want to take GA or ML.
2. Taking 2 “easiest fundamental courses” according to GT Course Surveys. For Fall 2016 that was taking 2 of the next 3: SDP, DBS or CN (This is the approach I took). Those of us who took CN realized that you can not always trust GT Course Surveys, as things might change from one semester to the other. Change is the only constant in life. The course hasn’t been difficult, but neither has it been as easy as previous semesters either. The number of fundamental courses has increased considerably for spring 2017, that’s something on your favor if you want to take this route.
Just as a side note, you can find me through my Linkedin profile and ask me any question related to OMSCS, OMSA or online education in general. Just send me an invitation and I’ll be glad to share my network with you.
3. Taking 2 “easiest electives” from your own specialization. For ML that may be DVA, ML4T or RL perhaps, I haven’t taken any of them, but I’ve read they are not as difficult as ML, AI or DB4HA. You may want to take RL in Summer 2017 as it was the only ML specialization course offered in Summer 2016, but again, there is no rule about it, things might change. This approach wasn’t an option for new OMSCSers for Fall 2016 registration, as specialization electives were not considered fundamental back then. If I were a new student starting in Spring 2017, I would choose this path.
4. Taking one “easy course” and one difficult course, maybe ML+ML4T, ML+RL or ML+DBS. If you have a family and a fulltime job this option might end up being NOT the best fit for a new comer, take that into consideration.
PS 1: I’ve quoted “easy course” as I think no course is to be considered easy really, those that are not as difficult will mostly likely be assignment intensive.
PS 2: Every specialization includes 3-4 difficult courses, and they are not offered in summer, so if your goal is to finish in 2 years (fall 2018), you will want to take 2 courses per semester and 1 in summer, and you’ll have maximum only 1 regular semester to take two “easy courses”, it’s a really tight schedule if you want to finish in 2 years having a full time job
Well, I hope this long post made things clearer to you.