Our Transition into Data Science Panel event was full of passion. The audience met three of our current students: Jada Shipp, formerly a Newborn Hearing Specialist, Daniel Guerrero, who was a Vaccine Product Manager, and Ryan McCall, who was an overnight Surveillance Agent at Walmart. They discussed what led them to data science, how their experience has been so far, and what they plan to do after Codeup. Read on to learn about the Codeup data science student experience and their key takeaways and advice!
Why data science?
The students began by discussing their “whys” and “hows” of pursuing data science at Codeup.
Jada: I was going to apply to medical school but decided it wasn’t for me. A friend suggested Codeup, which is how I learned about data science. I realized it’s something I was already interested in. I was really big on solving all my problems in school on Excel and coming up with the best graphs and digging around in numbers. I just didn’t know there was a name for this, and certainly didn’t know it was a career path.
Daniel: At a new job as a Vaccine Product Manager, they started asking me to do research about where we’re selling our product and who’s buying. I quickly discovered this was a massive, billion dollar company and there was no one there that actually knew how to use Excel or how to look at sales. It was mind blowing to me because I thought this was standard and everyone was doing it. Then I realized my company is not the only one that has this gap.
Ryan: I went to college for chemistry, then started working security but wasn’t satisfied with it. I wanted to use my brain more to think and actively solve problems at my job. So, I started looking at programming as a job career. I found data science and absolutely fell in love with it and spent two years trying to teach it to myself on the side of my security job. It was very hard, I spent most of that time figuring out what resources to trust. It’s a lot easier being taught than searching in the dark.
What is the learning process like at Codeup?
Lots of us know how it feels to come out of a full semester of class feeling like we didn’t absorb anything and not knowing how it applies to real life. Not here.
Jada: I thought getting admitted was a mistake and they’d kick me out at any time. I had zero coding experience and I really didn’t think I could do it. But I went step by step. ‘Maybe I can’t do this but I can probably do this one tiny part of it.’ They’ll explain it in as many different ways as they need to until your lightbulb goes on.
Daniel: They’ll give you questions that force you to think. They won’t just give you an answer. You have to figure it out yourself but they give you the tools to be able to do that. And because of the collaborative environment, we’re learning from each other as a cohort and not just instructors. Now, I’m able to branch out into new territories and not be scared to do so because I’m well equipped.
Ryan: I’m honestly amazed by what we can do in such a short amount of time. I can do things that I thought it would take me years to do.
How are you liking Data Science at Codeup?
In such an immersive, fast-paced environment, it was a joy to hear how much our students have loved their experience so far.
Jada: Everything we do every week, I’m like “This is so cool! Last week was nothing!”
Daniel: Every week I have the same conversation with my parents about the program. “What are you doing this week?” “Oh it’s my favorite thing!” “You say that every week!” But other than everything, the projects are the coolest thing for me.
Ryan: We could talk about this for hours, we love this stuff! Aside from loving the material, you become like a little family. We’ve had all the same bad experiences, all the same good experiences. You’re speaking a similar language and you can figure it out together.
How are we helping you get the job you want?
In between lessons, students work closely with our placement team, where we help students land awesome jobs.
Jada: I want to use data in health care. I have a degree in Public Health and worked as an EMT, a scribe, and a hearing screener. Now, I want to merge my passion for public health with data science skills. I’m pretty confident I can get a job like this because the Codeup placement team helps you through every step– resume, Linkedin, interview skills. They are not gonna let you fall by the wayside. They remember you and who you are and what you’re looking for. It’s not a generic cookie cutter process where you get what you get. They know you and it’s customized for you.
Daniel: I told the placement team that I want to work with data that’s business to customer. Two days later they sent me applications and they’re actually what I asked for, in industries I actually told them about, with companies I actually mentioned. I was mind blown! The placement team will open as many doors as they possibly can to get you the right opportunity, I am more than impressed with the placement team.
Ryan: I want to be a data scientist and I don’t know what kind of data scientist, I just want to be one! And they can work with that, too!
Any tips for incoming students?
All three panelists said the same thing: DO THE PREWORK!
Here are some resources they used:
- To have something explained to you “like you’re 5 years old,” which Jada at times needed: https://www.khanacademy.org/
- To learn Python specifically in terms of data: https://www.dataquest.io/
- To start recognizing patterns in data science and build a repository for later: https://www.codewars.com/dashboard and https://www.hackerrank.com/dashboard
- To help with Python and Pandas: https://www.youtube.com/user/schafer5/playlists
- Our events, including a free Python workshop: https://codeup.com/events/
We want to thank Jada, Daniel, and Ryan for sharing their passion with us and acting as mentors for prospective and current students for the night. They are each blossoming into data scientists that couldn’t hide how much they love what they do even if they tried. Do you want a similar transition? Start today by learning more. Scared it’s too risky and you won’t get a job? That’s okay, we’ll refund your tuition if you don’t. Any more excuses? There won’t be once you give us a call.