student story

Max Zhao

BI Analyst @ Air Canada
Data Science Bootcamp, 2020
Diploma Program

Data Science Bootcamp

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How did you hear about WeCloudData (WCD)?

I heard about WCD from one of my friends who was a part-time employee before and I also did some research about the Data Science Bootcamp in Toronto; WeCloudData has great reviews.

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 heard that WCD’s Data Science program has great real client projects, which would help me gain many related experiences. After talking with the Program Advisor, I felt that WeCloudData’s curriculum also impressed me.

What was your career background before enrolling in our Data Science program?

I have 1-year of experience working as a Sales Engineer in the Chemical industry and 4 years of experience as a regional manager of a restaurant franchise. Those are completely different fields and environments compared to data science.

What made you want to pursue a career in Data Science?

After working as the regional manager of a restaurant franchise for almost 4 years, I decided to change my career to another field – Data Science, which became such a big deal in recent times. I have seen the data evolution and how data is being used in different aspects of our daily life. The power of data cannot be ignored, and data science has been getting all the spotlight. That’s why I made my decision to switch my career to Data Science.

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

After getting my master’s degree from the University of Waterloo, I worked as a Sales Engineer and Regional Manager (which were in different fields).

During the pandemic (2020), I heard about WeCloudData’s Data Science Program. I was very interested in it and wanted to give it a try. It turns out, I really liked data science and I was pretty good at it!

I really like that is centered around digging into things, learning about them, and improving them. It’s like working with puzzles, but when you finish the puzzles, you’re helping companies make smarter business decisions.

After graduation, I have worked on two real-client projects to continually improve my skills. It took me about 4 months to find a job. I just accepted an offer for the Business Insight Analyst position at Air Canada.

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?

What I really like about the Data Science program is that it makes every day being busy but fulfilling. I learned different technical skills during the lectures and had a lot of exercises to do to have a better understanding of the material. Whenever we finished a section, there would be a test or a project presentation. It was challenging and forced me to study seriously.

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

The Instructors and TAs speak in a simple, effective manner so that I can grasp the overall concepts. I can always ask questions at any time, and they help me in a timely manner.

During the project presentations, TAs asked many meaningful questions based on my work. Those presentations were a good chance for me to practice how to thoughtfully present my findings to the audience. 

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

Before I joined the online classes, I thought learning in-person may have better communication between the instructors and myself, or that online study may have distractions.

However, during the online classes, I found that there was no need to worry about it.

The instructors kept everyone on the same page and we can ask questions anytime. I can review the lecture recordings repeatedly to find the details that I may have missed during the lecture too.

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

Try your best to follow the instructor. If there was any question that you couldn’t solve during the class, do not hesitate to ask the TA, and try not to make the questions accumulate for too long.  The afternoon’s lab section is necessary to help you practice what you learned.

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

The real client projects are great. Based on different job responsibilities, the most common questions I have been asked during the interviews include SQL, Python, ETL, data cleansing, machine learning, and data visualization, as well as the process of solving problems.

I also have all real work experiences and stories from the program that I can now share with the interviewers, which helped a lot.

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

After graduation, I have worked on two real-client projects to continually improve my skills.

There is a 1-on-1 career mentoring after graduation to assist my job search and interview preparation.

I met with my mentor once a week to show my progress, and he helped me to prepare by doing mock interviews.

It took me about 4 months to find a job.

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?

The client project experiences in my resume helped a lot. I got the experience of working with different teams to provide data science and data analytics solutions for our clients, and helped them solve business problems.

Among the clients I worked with, there are well-known enterprises as well as start-ups. Those experiences made my resume diverse and competitive.

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

There usually will be 3 to 4 rounds of interviews.

First round: Short talk with HR, they will talk about the company, position, and skills. And the most common question is “please introduce yourself”.

Second round: Visual meeting with the Hiring Manager, more emphasis on your resume and experience.

Third round: Technical interview in different ways such as take-home assignments and on-site coding.

Final round: Interview with VP or the team, to see whether the candidate will be a good team player to fit in this position.

What sort of impact do you feel your Data Science diploma from WeCloudData made on potential employers?

The interviewers would notice that I graduated from a different background, and I have made a career change.  I told them because I am very interested in Data Science, I furthered my education to complete this Data Science diploma.

In addition to talking about how I wanted to work in this field, I also showed through my actions/experiences that I bring the passion and skills learned to help companies make smarter business decisions.

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

Firstly, do some research to have a basic concept of Data Science and ask yourself if you are truly interested in this field.

Be prepared to fully dedicate yourself for the duration of your study. It will be overwhelming but never give up. You will be rewarded for your efforts!

Continue improving yourself by keeping your skills and knowledge up-to-date.

How has your life changed since you graduated from WeCloudData and got a job in the industry?

After graduating from WeClouldData, I worked on two client projects.  I had the opportunity to work with specialists from different fields of expertise. I kept working on some personal projects and practicing my technical and personal skills. Although it is a competitive job market and I have been rejected several times, I didn’t lose hope while applying for new ones. I felt much more confident by using my past experiences to improve my upcoming interviews.

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