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student story

Charles Zheng

Data Scientist @ Achievers
Data Science Diploma, 2021
Diploma Program

Data Science Bootcamp (Full-Time)

What was your career background before enrolling in our Data Science program? What made you want to pursue a career in Data Science?

Prior to joining WeCloudData’s Data Science Program, I was doing Materials Science research as a postdoc. During this time, I found that a lot of research was becoming more involved with Data Science and that there was a greater shift towards implementing Machine Learning algorithms. It became clear that I also needed to make this movement as well.

Furthermore, Data Science is experiencing lots of growth and has high compensation as well.

How did you hear about WeCloudData?

The first time I heard of WeCloudData was through a blogpost on WeChat. The post caught my eye since it included information on student success experience, salaries, and the courses (Python, ML, etc.) offered.

What made you decide to choose WeCloudData’s Data Science program over other companies? Was there something that stood out to you about our program that solidified your decision?

I researched WeCloudData’s metrics and reviews (e.g. from Google, other websites) and had a good impression.

There were two main things that stood out to me about WeCloudData when I was choosing between programs: (1) the client projects, and (2) stories of students’ success experience.

  1. When I decided to switch careers, I took some Coursera courses online which had learning projects. However, I was interested in getting more hands-on experience. I chose WeCloudData since we can work on real client projects and interact with the clients, which would be regarded as working experience – this sort of learning experience could not have been obtained elsewhere.
  2. I found a student alumni experience online who had a similar background to me; they did projects with WeCloudData and landed positions I was interested in, which helped solidify my decision.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your journey to where you are today?

Timeline:

  • Joined WeCloudData’s Data Science program in Jan 2021
  • Spent 3 months for intensive studying – coding, case studies, algorithms, presentations
  • Spent 5 months working on two real client projects
  • Started job hunting around end of Sept (spent two months refining my resume and doing interviews) and then got my current job as a Data Scientist at Achievers

What did you find most enjoyable or interesting about the Data Science program at WeCloudData while being a student? Was there any aspect of our course curriculum or teaching style that stood out to you?

I enjoyed learning in an intensive environment – this allowed me to push myself to my limits to learn as much as I could. While it is not possible to know everything, it is important to identify what you’re interested in and dive into it to gain more in-depth knowledge. The curriculum was very comprehensive in data science and the workload helped me be fully immersed.


How did the Instructors and Teaching Assistants (TA’s) support you during the program? Did you find their knowledge and expertise helpful?

The TA’s are knowledgeable – I was able to ask them any question I was curious about.

I also want to give special thanks to:

My instructor, Vinny:

  • For my web scraping project, I got an idea from a research journal for my topic. Vinny showed interest and encouraged me to explore it in more depth – thanks to his support, I was able to do the project very well. After the program ended, I used my newfound knowledge (from the program and real client projects) to extend this project. During my job interviews, I presented this project to the interviewers and they were very impressed by it. I believe this helped me land my current position.

My team leader, Rhys:

  • His expertise and guidanced helped a lot for client projects!

Based on your previous education experience, how did online classes compare to learning in-person?

I believe there’s pros and cons to learning online in general but based on my personal experience, it was positive overall. The biggest advantage I had was that we weren’t limited by physical location (my cohort even had students from outside Canada). This meant I could save lots of time from not having to commute.


Do you have any tips for current students on how to be successful in classes?

It’s similar to what I mentioned before – first step, choose WeCloudData! WCD offers comprehensive courses in all aspects. Be smart and choose the field you’re most interested in – do the corresponding courses and projects (understand the tools used, the cutting edge technologies, etc).

For example, make sure to express what aspects you’re interested in when choosing your real client projects. For me, I wanted to contribute to society and improve it. When I chose my second real client project, I did image matting and used image segmentation techniques. So I thought more about how this tech would help others – there’s a variety of applications for these methods, such as for diagnosing medical conditions, understanding ultrasound images, and detecting tumours. Your projects and practice will extend to new experiences and fresh ideas, which will be very important in your learning journey.

How do you feel the real client projects helped you when was time to find a job?

First client project: Used NLP

  • I had two companies I interviewed for that used NLP. During my discussion with them, I found that they used older methods to do so (e.g. in topic modelling for sentiment analysis). The manager later mentioned they were going to be switching technologies to keep up with current advancements.
  • In my first client project, I used cutting edge technology that was introduced last year in my proposal and presented it to the client. I think at WCD, the greatest thing for me was the freedom to be able to explore new algorithms and deploying it in the real client projects.
  • I talked about this project experience with the hiring manager and they were quite surprised that we used such up-to-date methods.

Second client project: Computer vision

  • I spent lots of time on this project; after discussing with my team lead, I used a cutting edge algorithm that was published at end of last year.
  • This project helped me land interviews – one of the interviewers had noted it was because of this experience that I was chosen to be interviewed.

How long did it take you to find a job after graduating from WeCloudData?

2 months.

For further context, I applied to 120 companies within that timeframe and 4 companies interviewed me.

In my first two interviews, I didn’t do well but wasn’t sure why. I talked with mentor (from the student alumni mentorship program) and he pinpointed that my problem was with the self intro. I rewrote my intro and practiced multiple times with the mentor.

Thanks to my mentor, I did much better in my following interviews.

Finding a job during the pandemic has been a challenge for most, what aspects of your resume and portfolio do you believe helped you secure a job so quickly?

I believe it was a combination of my science background, strong curiosity to learn more, daily discussion with TA’s, involvement in projects/presentations in groups, and real client projects that helped me find a job so quickly. My mentor was also a great support throughout the process.


Can you give us some insight into what the Data Science interview process is like?

After submitting my resume, HR emailed me within 1 week to arrange a phone screening interview. In the following week, I had an interview with the hiring manager and team members. In the third round, I chose one of my favourite projects and presented it to the company (I was asked many questions + potential usage of it in their company).

Do you have any words of advice for current or future students planning on pursuing a career in Data Science? 

  • Doing a bootcamp is not easy – however, for future and current students, you can be assured that your hard work will definitely be seen by someone.
  • With all the new developments, there’s many new directions in this field. I would encourage you to find and pursue your interests (e.g. 2-3 subjects that you’re most interested in).
  • Expand your network and form strong relations with your instructors, peers, mentors, etc.

I hope my experience will help someone in the future!

Related Courses

Diploma Program

Data Science Bootcamp (Full-Time)

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