What was your background before taking our data engineering course?
I started my career as an ETL developer, worked for several Fortune 500 companies over the past 9 years. I started exploring different Big Data technologies 3 years ago and gained work experience on projects using tools like Hadoop, Hive, HBase, and many more. Since a year ago, I have been experimenting with Spark and trying to build and engineer an end-to-end pipeline. I wanted to get more education on that. To achieve that, the best thing to do is to gain work experience, which is very difficult to do in Canada because a lot of Canadian companies require you to have previous relevant experience.
As a new immigrant in Canada, I was fortunate enough to get a Hadoop developer role with BMO within a month. My assignment with BMO that lasted over a year, helped me gain more knowledge in BigData and related technologies. I continued upgrading myself using online courses in Udemy, Simplilearn, Linux Academy, etc. Although these programs were helpful, I wanted to attend a bootcamp or an in-person program for Spark and Data Engineering. I ended up choosing WeCloudData for the data engineering course. The main objective was to learn more about Scala and data engineering basics and I am glad I did.
Thank you very much for choosing us. I have heard you have been shopping around for data engineering courses. What other courses did you look at? And were they online courses? What did you think WCD’s data engineering course offers that makes it different from the others?
I couldn’t find too many data engineering courses. I found some that were online, but those were focusing on Cloud solutions for Data Engineering and not specifically on programming in data engineering. That was something that made WeCloudData stand out. I knew WeCloudData was the only center that was providing that.
How about the instructor’s teaching style? Did you like it?
Of course! Edwin is extremely knowledgeable. He explained things clearly and was really good at clarifying our doubts. I think everyone can understand his explanation easily and would benefit from this course, irrespective of their previous background.
He knows stuff, and he is up-to-date with the recent technologies and I was quite impressed with that.
How about the TAs? Are they helpful?
My TA was indeed very helpful. Initially, we faced a lot of issues with the technical setup and configuration, because the remote sessions did cause trouble. I was hoping to get in-person classes earlier but due to the pandemic, that was not possible. Despite all the difficulties, Bhargavi helped to figure out the tech config and was able to answer our questions.
You were looking for a job during the pandemic? What was it like looking for a job during the Covid-19 situation?
Yes, one of our partners from another company, they posted a data science job, and they received 800 applications!
I could see a lot of openings for data engineering, but hardly got any response for my applications. Too many applicants and too much competition! It was really hard during the pandemic to apply for a job. I was more focused on data engineering jobs than ETL or Hadoop developer jobs. It was tough! Really tough!
I can imagine. All of our students are facing the same situation. And you must have very great standing to be able to beat so many competitors.
I was lucky enough to have had the right experience. Also, in the past few months, I’ve been upgrading my skillset studying day and night. I learned a lot of new technologies and completed two certifications apart from the data engineering program with WeCloudData.
Which certificates were helpful to your job search?
DataStax Cassandra Developer and Admin certifications. I am also working on an AWS-SAA course, currently. I had to put in a lot of effort to get into this position.
What was your data engineering interview process like?
So, Shaohua referred me for this role. I had an initial discussion with the CEO and their Tech Lead. They needed someone who had a background on Cassandra. In fact, they suggested me to get the certification done for DataStax (it was one of their requirements). I completed the certification within the next 3 weeks. I had another technical interview with one of their senior data architects and voila, I got the role!
Can you talk from a high level, what are you working on in your new role?
We are trying to build a customized recommendation engine. It’s in the initial stage right now. Migrating from Oracle to Cassandra, using Spark for the ETL processing. Once the pipeline is set up, we plan to utilize a graph database to implement the recommendation engine.
Do you have suggestions for someone who wants to switch from IT to data engineering?
My suggestion would be to start building your portfolio. Find some use cases for any industry and start building ETL solutions on your own. This is the best way you can build your knowledge and skills. I built 2 projects for an interview and published on Github. This was overall, a good experience.
That’s a great demonstration of your capability and skillsets.
What would you say, is the data engineering course helpful to your job switch?
Of course! It was helpful for me. For someone who has no background in Hadoop or ETL development, it could be a little difficult, because data engineering is a senior role and you need a good understanding of different ETL and CICD tech stack. You also need programming expertise in at least one programming language like Python, Scala, or Java. If you have some level of experience in these technologies, you can definitely land into a Data Engineer role. Just keep working for it.
Thank you very much, Roshni. We are planning on a new diploma program in data engineering and we will launch it this fall. Thank you again for all your suggestions and it’s very lovely to hear your story. It is not an easy process but I am very happy for you that you were able to get a job during this difficult time.
Thank you! All the best for your diploma program!