After the graduation of our first Codeup Data Science cohort, one company was eagerly waiting in the wings to scoop up a lot of our new grads: Quickpath. In business since 2004, Quickpath has helped deliver amazing customer experiences and optimize business decisions in over a hundred implementations for Fortune 500 and Fortune 1,000 companies. But as the demand for their services increased—more than doubling each of the past three years—Quickpath found itself in a talent shortage.
“We found ourselves leaving business on the table where customers were asking us for additional resources,” Alex Fly, CEO of Quickpath and board member of the Codeup Data Science program, said, “and we weren’t able to fill that request.”
Fortunately, the Codeup Data Science curriculum was able to provide a much-needed pipeline of highly skilled individuals. Over the course of an intense 20-week, hands-on program, students learn a variety of data science tools and skills, including statistics, SQL, Python and regression analysis. This intense preparation, culminating in mastery with a capstone project, is what led Fly to hire not one, but three of our Codeup grads from the inaugural Data Science cohort.
Codeup Data Science Grads Making an Immediate Impact
Quickpath is a company that plays data science as a team sport—they really help their clients with all operations around data rather than simply creating a model. This means that Quickpath helps their clients in all the following areas:
- Building the data pipeline—they first assist clients in gathering and wrangling their corporate data from disparate sources.
- Cleaning the data—after the data sources are identified, it’s important to ensure the data is clean and provides the right information for the model.
- Creating the data model—after accumulating all that information, it’s time for the data scientist to put it to use, building a model that will help inform decisions.
- Monitoring and managing the model’s outputs—once the data model is integrated into production, it needs to be validated to ensure it’s performing correctly, and the insights must be clearly understood by those consuming them.
Quickpath hired the three Codeup grads as data and machine learning (ML) engineers to work on tasks that come both before and after data model creation. And while you may think of a data science professional as being tucked away in a room doing analysis, this role at Quickpath is very customer-facing, and within a week of being hired, the Codeup grads were already interacting with a number of Quickpath customers.
While such a short runway to customer interaction may evoke some nervousness in a new college graduate, the new Codeup hires were able to tap into their previous professional experience and jump right in.
Leveraging Previous Experiences for a Data Science Role
Fly credits the immediate success of the new Codeup grads to their previous professional experience. While they may not have been in a data science role, these Codeup hires had worked in a corporate environment for years, often using data and analytic skills.
One individual, in particular, had been on the receiving end of information from a data science model. In their previous position as an analyst in fraud detection, they would receive data model outputs in order to assess whether transactions were fraudulent.
After completing the Codeup Data Science program, this person now sits on the other side of the fence and has the ability to wrangle the data, develop a model and evaluate its success. His professional experience is what sets him apart: he keenly understands how front-line employees will interact with the data that he provides. Fly believes it’s this kind of professional experience that empowers Codeup graduates to hit the ground running.
But there’s something more than just previous professional experience. It’s also the sense that Codeup graduates are intrinsically motivated to make a major career change. As our first 2019 Data Science outcomes report noted, 77% of the class had a bachelor’s degree or higher. A person looking to change careers who invests in a 20-week program shows not only moxie but also curiosity.
“Data science is constantly moving and evolving at a very high pace. There’s a new library, modeling or deep learning framework coming out literally every week—you’ve got to constantly stay on top of your game,” Fly explained. “So being able to identify folks who are lifelong learners has been a critical success factor for our hiring profile. We found a pretty high concentration of those folks at Codeup.”
Looking Forward: Advice for Future Codeup Data Science Students
The demand for professionals with knowledge of data science is not going away anytime soon. Business is continuing to boom for Fly and Quickpath, and he is already looking forward to the next round of graduates. And for those looking to enroll in a future Codeup Data Science boot camp, he has two pieces of advice.
First, Fly emphasizes the importance of data, data, data, underscoring that it’s more important than all the algorithms of the world. He believes data preparation is the most fundamental skill to master.
“An average data scientist with really good data will always be able to build a better model than an expert data scientist with data,” Fly stressed.
Second, he advises that in order to be successful in this field, a person must have a love of learning and can never rest on their laurels.
“If you sit still for six months, your skills are out of date,” he advised. “You must have a thirst for knowledge and an ‘always-on’ learning mentality.”
Are you looking to reboot your career and become a data scientist or computer programmer? Then it’s time for you to look into Codeup. Our 20-week boot camps will immerse you in the latest technologies and provide you with the skills to make an immediate impact. We offer many financial aid options to help get you on your journey today.
Photo provided by Startups San Antonio