How did you hear about WeCloudData?
I first heard about it from a friend of my friend. However, I did my research and talked to a few people before enrolling in the program.
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?
The success story of a friend of mine who had also enrolled in the previous year’s batch, and the fact that WeCloudData offers real client projects made me confident to make the final decision.
What was your career background before enrolling in our Data Science program?
Prior to enrolling in the WeCloudData Data Science program, I had a bachelor’s and as well a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. I had a short job experience as a mechanical engineer for a major power plant in Iran. After immigration, I found that there are other fast-growing industries like the data industry in Canada. I used my previous math and engineering background as a foundation for my career switch to data science.
What made you want to pursue a career in Data Science?
To be frank, higher salaries compared to engineering roles, and for sure the growth pattern. The fact that you can always be in the learning mode. And last but not least, you can apply your knowledge to different problems. This gives you the opportunity to work for a wide range of companies, even remotely, which gives you a higher level of freedom and quality of life.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your journey to where you are today?
My journey in data started 3 years ago when I was struggling with my master’s project. A problem that was quite hard to tackle using engineering methods got solved using machine learning techniques with the help of one of my friends in the department of computer science.
That made me think about learning new tools, and so I familiarized myself with Python and data science to some extent before joining the WeCloudData program. However, I learned many new tools like SQL and big data in the bootcamp.
I also did not have any idea about how problems got solved in the industry. So, I understood the big picture mainly through the bootcamp. Other programs like online Coursera and Udemy courses were also helpful in my journey to land a data job. I can name the deep learning course taught by Andrew Ng as one of the best online courses.
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 really enjoyed the real datasets given to students to work on for the midterm or assignments. I did not see any similar projects on Kaggle. The professional attitude of Shaohua and the team towards helping students and always being there for them was noticeable.
How did the Instructors and Teaching Assistants (TA’s) support you during the program? Did you find their knowledge and expertise helpful?
They were quick with answering questions on Slack and their ideas on projects were really helpful. I can name Ernesto and Sonia. Their python and SQL expertise is astonishing.
Based on your previous education experience, how did online classes compare to learning in-person?
They both have benefits and drawbacks. However, online mode is preferrable to most because of the long commute times in big cities like Toronto. On the other hand, in-person learning is faster sometimes in terms of reaching out to classmates, peers, and instructors. They are only a few steps away from you and you are not obliged to wait behind a Slack page or Zoom meeting.
Do you have any tips for current students on how to be successful in online classes?
I suggest everyone who is in an online class to not be shy, go to direct messages of your classmates, and start a conversation. You can learn a lot and even make friends. If you do not do that, it’s really easy to feel lonely and left out since you are not physically in the same classroom.
How do you feel the real client projects helped you when it came time to find a job?
I participated in one real client project. I found it very professional in terms of expectations, project progress tracking and etc.
How long did it take you to find a job after graduating from WeCloudData?
It actually took me 9 months after the bootcamp to find a job. However, I did not apply for jobs from the very beginning after graduation. I already had a job at the time when I graduated back in September 2021. I wanted to gain more job experience as a software developer before applying to Data Science jobs.
I started applying to data science jobs in March 2022 and I got an offer in late April 2022.
How many jobs did you apply for?
I applied for 7-8 positions.
How many interviews did you receive?
I got 2 interviews. (1 offer)
How did your mentor support you during the career mentorship? (e.g. Services provided, advice given)
I got help with resume preparation from my mentor at the WeCareer mentorship program.
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 think having job experience and experience with data science was very helpful. Some part of it came from my master’s, some of it from the WeCloudData program and Beamdata experience, and the rest from my previous role as a software developer.
Can you give us some insight into what the Data Science interview process is like?
You usually get a phone call from HR or the hiring manager. This step is more personality-based. You should be able to speak fluent English and get connected with them.
If you can present yourself well enough, you will go to the next round where an informal technical interview takes place. You may be asked general to domain-specific questions.
Passing this step, you will go to another formal technical round where you are given a dataset and you have to use SQL, Python to do all stages of a DS project (from data ingestion to data cleaning, modelling and finally applying a machine learning model).
Your attitude towards solving the problem is more important than solving the problem itself. You have to be able to discuss why you did each step. This round could be take-home or live.
What sort of impact do you feel your Data Science diploma from WeCloudData made on potential employers?
I feel it makes them confident about your decision in entering into the data industry. With the large volume of applicants with prestigious degrees from UofT or UBC, it is already hard to convince a company why they should hire you as a career switcher instead of a computer science graduate who is already very good at least coding-wise. When you have a diploma and a strong resume/portfolio, they will be able to tell that you are willing to put maximum effort to reach your goals.
Do you have any words of advice for current or future students planning on pursuing a career in Data Science?
I would suggest to be patient, it took me almost 2 years from the time I decided to enter the data job market to land a job. I do not claim that you cannot make it in 6 months; however, everyone has a different story.
What I can say it is important to take the time to solidify your coding skills and data knowledge. Many students might believe they have become a data scientist after finishing their first online course on Udemy or solving a pre-solved problem on Kaggle.
This is not a one-night story.
How has your life changed since you graduated from WeCloudData and gotten a job in the industry?
As an international student and temporary worker who has experience of doing minimum wage jobs, my life has changed by a lot after getting a data job. I became able to buy my first car, afford a better-quality life in downtown Montreal and am now thinking of buying my first property. These were not possible without landing a well-paid job in Canada, an expensive place to live around the world.