The Best Path to a Career in Data Science

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In our blog, “The Best Path To A Career In Software Development,” we looked at how bootcamps provide a more direct path to a career than traditional undergraduate CS degree programs. Today we’re here to talk to you about how bootcamps provide a more direct path to a career in data science than a Master’s Degree. 

“But don’t I need a degree to get a job as a data scientist?” As a non-traditional educational model, we hear this concern a lot. The answer is yes and no. Yes, because most jobs in data science require some form of higher education. No, because that degree doesn’t have to be in something related to data science – data scientists have degrees in many different areas of study! So if the concern that lacking a piece of paper will prevent you from accelerating your career, fear no more.

While a Master’s Degree provides a lot of value, it isn’t the most direct path for a job. With the exponential growth in data generation and the race to keep up with storing and processing that data, data science no longer sits at the fringe of an ultra-specialized workforce. Companies now need much larger teams to analyze, model, and leverage the data they’ve collected. So while the field of data science might have once only been available to those skilled in highly academic algorithm development, it’s now a playground for those with some Python skills who know how to find valuable insights in a mess of data. 

 

Now let’s get a bit more specific. If modern roles in data science demand more practical skills, why is a bootcamp a better path?

 

#1: Responsive curriculum: Barely 10 years ago nobody had heard of data science. But in that short amount of time, the tools and technologies in the field have grown exponentially. Each year sees the introduction of new packages, visualization tools, and cutting edge technologies. With such a rapidly evolving landscape, it’s hard for traditional learning environments to keep pace. With our ears tuned directly to employers, we’re able to adapt quickly and ensure we’re teaching what hiring managers need.

 

#2 Hands-on Project-Based Learning: Have you ever watched Top Chef or The Great British Bake Off? You were probably pretty entertained, but how did that seared Ahi Tuna with orange mint avocado salsa and balsamic vinegar reduced amuse-bouche turn out? The sad reality is, watching experts do their thing doesn’t make you an expert. Nor does listening to lectures. Our program is built around the concept of praxis, which is essentially the practical application of theory, or the blending of theory and practice. Half of your 670 program hours are spent actually writing code, so you develop the muscle memory and experience of programming. A career in data science is like an old-time trade, like becoming a blacksmith: you have to learn from masters and practice, practice, practice. 

 

#3 Progressive Curriculum Structure: In a traditional degree, students study by taking several classes at a time. You may begin with data structures and algorithms, then move to SQL, then take Python, and so on. But real-world data science doesn’t work so neatly. You will never face a project where you’re only working with one of those tools, so this pedagogical method is misaligned with career demands. Our program focuses on real-world deliverables at every step of the journey, while exposing you to increasingly complex problems and projects. You start off applying basic tools to simple challenges. Then, we begin varying the data sets, the way you access that data, the type of methodology you use, and the deliverable you’re responsible for. To put it simply, the structure of a traditional degree teaches you how to use a hammer, a saw, and a chisel. Codeup teaches you how to build a stool, a birdbox, and a sculpture with those tools, and when to use which. 

 

#4 Job Placement Services: If education is your goal, stop reading now. If a career is your goal, then you’re in the right place. Most graduate institutions have career service offices where you can get advice on your resume and attend job fairs. But Codeup makes you a promise: get a job after graduation or get 100% of your money back. There are no two ways about that: our singular focus is your outcome. Unlike traditional institutions, we sell jobs, not education. 

 

#5 Messy Data: This is probably the most important difference between us and traditional degrees. We use real, messy, misleading, broken data so you learn how to draw insights from the real thing. Unfortunately, that is not the norm. Because of the segmented class structure, traditional degrees have to focus on using data that teach one specific skill. At Codeup, you’re always applying your tools to a real deliverable, so we’re able to use real data sets that intersect the challenges of multiple skills. 

 

Lastly, we encourage you to think about the return on your investment in your education.

Codeup*Private Master’s
  • $27,500
  • 5 months
  • 85% graduation rate
  • 88%  employment rate
  • $67,500 median starting salary
  • $62,280
  • 18-24 months
  • 61% graduation rate
  • 72.5% employment rate
  • $59,866 median starting salary

*read more on our outcomes

 

Most importantly, the opportunity cost of pursuing a master’s degree is equal to 13-19 months of employment. At a median salary of $67,500 from Codeup, that’s between $67,500-$101,250 in foregone earnings. 

So, you want a career in data science? A career accelerator like Codeup is the path for you. Still not convinced? We’re here to hear your concerns – contact us and let’s talk it through.

Setting Myself Up For Success at Codeup

Blog graphic picturing Codeup Web Development Alumni, next to the title "Setting myself up for success at Codeup"

 

Last year, I knew I needed to make a career change, but I had no idea where to begin. I had fallen into the trap of working mindless jobs only to make ends meet. I was hungry for success and ready to transition from a “job” to a “career,” but I did not know what would get me there. After conducting a lot of research, I came to the conclusion that the tech industry is where I wanted to get started, specifically as a web developer. Unfortunately, when I did a Google search for “coding bootcamp,” I came across about 6,000,000 results. Some programs offered courses online, in-person, or a combination of the two. As for the financial options, programs either offered financial assistance or none at all. I was having a difficult time choosing the best program for me because I was left with so many questions.

 

To find answers to my questions, I decided to schedule calls with the programs I was interested in. After talking to several bootcamps, I was able to narrow down my options. I needed a program located in San Antonio, TX that offered in-person learning and tuition assistance. This was when I knew Codeup was the best possible option for me. I wanted an in-person experience because I needed an environment that would help me find the success I was after. As I did my research on Codeup, it became clear that they were going to provide the best experience for me.

Now that I graduated and am looking back, I know I made the right decision. While I could mention all of the many ways that Codeup changed my life, I want to share some of the benefits for any individuals considering going here. Every day, I was taught by experienced instructors from all types of backgrounds and with various teaching styles. I had an amazing cohort that shared the journey with me and I can confidently say that I have made lifelong friends. I was also surrounded by an amazing network of alumni, staff, employer partners, and the tech community in San Antonio. Everything about Codeup is so much more effective because it is in-person. One of my favorite experiences at Codeup was the career simulation and preparation. I was able to work one-on-one with a professional that is going to help place me in my first web developer position. I feel like none of this success would have been possible if I decided to take an alternate route through an online program or part-time environment

 

Going to school full-time was not an easy task, but here is how I made it possible: 

  • Finances: I saved up enough money to cover my bills while I was in school. I also received a scholarship through Codeup and was awarded a grant through Project QUEST.
  • Time management: I surrounded myself with a team of family and friends that provided me with endless support. They understood that I was going to have late nights and go weeks without seeing them. I planned my days accordingly and always made sure to prioritize school first.
  • Rewards: Throughout my time at Codeup, I found it necessary to give myself little rewards. Whenever I would get through a challenging day or successfully complete a project, I would allow myself a special treat like a Starbucks coffee or a cheap lunch at a restaurant with my cohort. 

 

If you are considering Codeup’s web development program, my advice is that you ask yourself if you are ready to commit to changing your career and ultimately your life in five months. A full-time program is not easy, but the outcome is going to be worth it if you put in hard work. Remember that you are not sacrificing your time, but are instead investing in a better version of you.

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Beverly Jaimes-Puente is a Web Developer in the San Antonio area. Connect with her on Linkedin!

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If you’re ready to find a career you love, we’re happy to help you set yourself up for success too! Give us a call and let’s get started talking about your future, today!