How did you hear about WeCloudData?
I saw a post (https://weclouddata.com/erics-career-switch-journey-from-civil-to-data/) by Eric Li where he talked about his personal experiences and getting work experience while being a bootcamp student at WeCloudData. This was something that stood out to me as building my practical experience was something I really wanted in order to have a better feel of what data science (DS) would be like, and to further develop my capabilities.
What was your background prior to enrolling in our Data Science program?
I did my bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering at UofT as well as a consulting internship for my PEY (Professional Experience Year). In this position, I focused on the process improvement aspect of the business and analyzed the data to determine why issues were happening. During this time, I used tools like Excel to conduct my analyses but thought that there must have been a better way to do it. This was when I got interested in DS. I wanted to build data skills upon the core ones I had already, so I could enhance my portfolio and be better prepared for future projects.
Coming from an engineering background, there were transferrable skills such as:
- Coding: This helped with doing debugging and building ML models
- Problem-solving: Needed to analyze data and used MATLAB often
However, since there was still an education gap, I took the DS program to upskill myself.
What did you find most enjoyable or interesting about the DS 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 found most helpful from the DS program were the group projects and presentations I had to do. Since I needed to document my work in Notion as well, I developed basic project management skills and had a clearer expectation of what I would be doing in a work setting.
In terms of teaching support, the instructors and teaching assistants (TA’s) definitely played a role in my growth. They gave holistic support from beginning to end. For example, one time I was talking with a TA about how to prioritize my time and they also gave advice on how to plan my approach. For assignments, they will guide you towards solving the problems rather than giving the answers directly.
Based on your previous education experience, how did online classes compare to learning in person? Any tips on how to be successful in online classes?
I had no issues with the online learning environment. Given the current circumstances (pandemic), there were things in place to help support students such as screen sharing and breakout rooms to emulate the in-person experience.
A tip to making your online learning experience smoother would be to have a dual monitor setup if possible; I found that it was very helpful for multitasking since I didn’t need to switch between tabs. Also try to be engaged, especially during the TA office hours (OH). Consistent learning, being engaged through the whole process, and attending all the lectures/as many OH will help you succeed.
How did the real client projects help you when it was time to find a job?
I think it helped my profile receive attention from hiring managers. One recruiter had reached out to me on LinkedIn. Additionally, I also obtained a referral from my TA for another position and obtained an interview. I believe I got noticed because of the client projects I did under BeamData.
How long did it take for you to find a job after graduating from WeCloudData?
My case is rather unique and I will explain it in a bit. Originally, my mentor recommended me to start actively applying for jobs when I finished my first client project with Beamdata. Thus, I was thinking of starting my job search around mid-April.
I was referred to companies by 3 different individuals and received interviews for two of them.
For the interview that was from Beamdata’s referral (digital water solutions), I was able to speak with a company representative and learn what the expectations were for a DS role, how the job market worked, and what skills were needed.
For my other interview, I actually had an interview with them while I was doing my undergraduate studies. During that time, they had wanted me to start immediately but unfortunately, I could not due to university. They reached out to me again after I completed the bootcamp and that was how I went through the interview process again.
How did your mentor support you during the career mentorship?
I started my career support in mid-January so it’s been around 3 months. My mentor was very knowledgeable about the market and provided a lot of support with my portfolio to make me stand out.
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 did not have any gaps on my resume since I was building my DS skills while doing the bootcamp and working on client projects. This gave me more confidence while doing my interviews as I was aware my newly developed skills will add value to the position I was interviewing for. Thus, I wasn’t as stressed since I had strong confidence in the value I could bring to companies.
What sort of impact do you feel your Data Science diploma from WeCloudData made on potential employers?
I believe it helped get the attention of the recruiter since I had relevant DS experience and the role they talked to me about was similar to what the bootcamp prepares students for. For example, skills in the standard DS position included knowing machine learning algorithms and working with big data. Moreover, being part of the WeCloudData community allowed me to connect with more people working and hiring in the industry.
Do you have any words of advice for current or future students planning on pursuing a career in Data Science?
- Prepare for the bootcamp: I strongly recommend doing the prebootcamp so you have some exposure to the material beforehand – this allows you to ask more well-informed questions and you won’t get stuck on the basics
- It will also make the transition smoother
- Doing this prep work will make a lot of difference since the bootcamp can be intense
- Be continuously engaged in your learning! Do an incremental approach, this helps with long term understanding (study and practice every day)
How has your life changed since you graduated from WeCloudData and got a job in the industry?
I have more confidence in my data analysis, programming, and problem-solving skills, which is important for many jobs.