How did you hear about WeCloudData?
When I initially started thinking about giving a direction to my career here in Canada and getting into Data Science, I had no idea whatsoever how to go about it or where to start. I was thinking about pursuing a Master’s degree again or a Ph.D., hoping a Canadian degree would help me get a job. I was searching on google and different university websites to get as much information as I could. I remember I was generally browsing for courses offered by various universities when I came across ‘Course Compare’. They helped connect me with many admission offices and after realizing what I am trying to achieve, Bootcamp in Data science was pitched to me. I had no idea at that time how it worked or if it was of any worth to my time and money. But when I did further research, I came across many institutes that offered Bootcamps in Data Science, and WeCloudData was among the top names.
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?
Once I was sure (that pursuing a Ph.D. or another Master’s would cost me a few years and even then the job wasn’t a guarantee, and the reviews about Bootcamps, in general, were quite motivating too), I had to decide on which institute to go with. The reason that I went with WeCloudData was the reviews for sure. When I read the reviews, I could feel how genuine they were, the breakdown of the course on the website was also very informative, and when I first to spoke to Amir from WeCloudData, the whole conversation sounded quite promising. He answered all my questions and doubts to my satisfaction.
What was your career background before enrolling in our Data Science program?
Before enrolling, I had almost 5 years of experience in Telecom. I have a Master’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering. Although I had some experience with MATLAB, I knew nothing about SQL, Python, or Machine learning.
What made you want to pursue a career in Data Science?
Many factors led me to Data Science. When you think about your career, you try to picture your life in the next 15-20 years and want to have a skill that won’t lose its value or would still be in demand so that your job is secure and you’re an asset to your employer and it pays well. Being an engineer, I already had a logical and analytical mindset, but with every company relying more and more on data to conclude every major business decision, I was lacking the right skills, and Data Science was the answer to all these questions. Also, the sense of community in this field which I realize now is amazing.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your journey to where you are today?
Today, I can gladly say that I have been successful in achieving what I aspired. I am working as a Revenue Assurance Analyst at Rogers now, and if I had not taken this course; learned SQL, Python, Tableau, and machine learning (which was required for this role), I would have never been able to get it.
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?
One thing I loved about being a student is witnessing the passion and vision that Shaohua (the Co-Founder) has for WeCloudData and its students. It’s important to understand and interesting to know why he came up with the idea, and why he felt necessary to start such an institution focused not just on delivering education or upgrading skills but to design the whole process in a way that assures securing a job at the very end, which even the best of universities and colleges fail to do. I have not met a person as hard-working as him. He has tremendous experience and is one of the best teachers I’ve had in my life.
How did the Instructors and Teaching Assistants (TA’s) support you during the program? Did you find their knowledge and expertise helpful?
All the Instructors and TA’s- Shaohua, Vinny, Shan, Sonia, Ernesto, and Tianshu were amazing, extremely patient, and were always available. I remember working on one of the Big Data projects and some students were struggling; Ernesto and Tianshu helped us until midnight. It was amazing to see such dedication. Not everyone is willing to go beyond what is expected, and I believe this is what makes WeCloudData different.
Based on your previous education experience, how did online classes compare to learning in-person?
Online classes were an experience. Initially, I was worried that I might not learn as much because I would miss in-person discussions with my classmates. But despite that, there was an advantage to online classes, the lectures get recorded and are available to you the same day, I used to go through them again and again to have a better understanding, and it helped, especially when it’s something new that you’re learning.
Do you have any tips for current students on how to be successful in online classes?
To be successful in an online class environment, I’d say it’s better to have two screens, one where you can see the instructor, and another one where you’ll practice coding. Also, you need to be punctual and sincere in giving your best effort into learning, it’s your career at stake!
How do you feel the real client projects helped you when it came time to find a job?
I really believe the real client project helped me in getting the job and it’s a very important part of the process. There are two reasons for it, one- your resume has more character to it as you’re already working to resolve a real industry/world problem that helps you in getting shortlisted. Second, in your interview, most of the questions revolve around the client project only. It allows you to demonstrate your skills, experience, understanding, and professionalism to the interviewer.
How long did it take you to find a job after graduating from WeCloudData?
After graduating, I worked on one internal and one client project for almost 4 months. I had started applying for jobs halfway through the client project, and I got a job towards the end of the Client project.
How did your mentor support you during the career mentorship?
My mentor, Amin, deserves a special mention for sure! Once you graduate, you have all the knowledge, you have worked on so many projects, but you still have no idea what the real interview would look like, or what exactly someone in that role, that you’re aspiring for, does. And that is where your mentor plays such a critical role in making you job-ready. Amin helped me so much as my mentor especially with my resume, the mock interviews, and boosting my confidence. Everyone put in such a genuine effort towards my goal, words won’t do justice in expressing my gratitude to each and everyone at WeCloudData.
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 the Client Project, as most of the companies are relying on working from home, which limits the training aspect for the new hires, so definitely someone experienced is preferred over a fresher. Also, I think, during the pandemic, many among the working class felt a burnout, so to be able to rise in such a situation, not only overcome what we are going through but to put in way more effort into building yourself shows great character and strength, and I believe during the pandemic when employers witness such determination from a candidate, it works in his/her favor. Also, I knew I wanted to stay in Telecom, so my portfolio project was about Churn Prediction, which was relevant to the industry and eventually helped during the interview.
Can you give us some insight into what the Data Science interview process is like?
The interview process usually starts with an HR email requesting to schedule a phone interview, which is more of an introductory session where you get to know about the team and the company, and HR asks you about your past experiences and skills. Then, you move on to the next rounds, which usually start with a technical round, a coding assignment, and then an interview with the manager/senior manager or Director/VP depending on the role. Eventually, the last round is with the leadership, which can be behavioral oriented or the leadership trying to know-you-more kind of round. After that, you’re offered the job, and it’s usually the background process as the last step if you accept the offer.
What sort of impact do you feel your Data Science diploma from WeCloudData made on potential employers?
The Data Science Diploma from WeCloudData without a doubt made a huge impact on the employer. The way the course was designed, we did so many projects. It was for sure overwhelming at times, with back-to-back projects and so much to learn, but eventually, the interviewer asks you about all those projects in class. It also conveys how serious you are about your career in Data – you’re not just doing some personal projects, you went ahead and took a course. And because all these assignments/projects made me feel so confident about my new skills, I am sure it reflected in my answers during the interview too.
Do you have any words of advice for current or future students planning on pursuing a career in Data Science?
My only advice would be, and I know from my experience how overwhelming it can be to go through such an intense course, considering the money and the time, not to be afraid. Believe in yourself, believe in the process, and you will eventually succeed. I couldn’t have imagined getting this job last year, in fact, I had no idea where my career was headed. However today, not only do I have a well-paying job at one of the top employers in Canada, but I also know where I want to be in the coming years. The journey has just started for me, and I feel confident.
How has your life changed since you graduated from WeCloudData and got a job in the industry?
My life has completely changed to be honest, not only on the professional front but also on the personal level. Making a good living plays a very crucial role in your life. The sense of security, being able to live comfortably, and financial independence are all very important. But what is even more important is the feeling of fulfillment and contentment in what you do, and I feel it now.